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Virtual worlds: A virtual world is a computer-based environment which simulates a real environment of some kind. Users immerse themselves in this environment through the use of avatars. (See also 'avatars' and 'immersive environments').

Web ('the Web' or World Wide Web): A system of interlinked Web pages, accessed via the Internet. Web pages contain documents and a range of multimedia items, such as music, photographs and videos.

Web 2.0: A view of the World Wide Web as ‘a collaborative network characterized by the participatory and cumulative experience of users’. (Definition from Tim O’Reilly, who popularised the term: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html)

Webcam: A camera connected to your computer, or built into your computer, that enables you to stream video footage of yourself during a web-conferencing call.

Web-conferencing: A technology that enables two or more people to have a live conversation via the Internet. Many web-conferencing tools allow for video as well as audio communication.

Web-dependent programmes: In these programmes, online participation is required for one or both of the following:

  • Accessing course content

  • Communicating with staff and or other learners

  • Other methods are also used, such as face-to-face instruction. (Contrast with web-supplemented and fully online programmes)

Web-supplemented programmes: In these programmes, online participation is optional for learners. Enrolled learners have the option to access information about the course and other online learning resources. This information supplements face-to-face instruction, and also print-based distance education. (Contrast with web-dependent and fully online programmes)

Wikis: A wiki is a collection of web pages which can be edited by members of a community. Some wikis are open to the public (such as Wikipedia); others are private and can only be accessed with a password. The aim of most wikis is to enable collaborative thinking, planning or knowledge construction.