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Glossary : Starting from P


A bundle of data transmitted over a network. Packets have no set size; they can range from one character to hundreds of characters.

Page turner

A derogatory term for e-learning that offers little to no graphics or interaction, instead comprising mainly pages of text.


Word, code or set of characters used to identify a user and permit access to a computer system.


A grant of property right by the government to an inventor to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention for a set period of time. The Georgia Tech Library is a U.S. patent depository and has a complete collection of U.S. Patents issued since 1790.

PDA (personal digital assistant)

Handheld computer device used to organize personal information such as contacts, schedules, and so forth. Data can usually be transferred to a desktop computer by cable or wireless transmission.


Stands for "Portable Document File. This file format is the most common way full-text articles are provided. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view PDFs.

PDF (portable document format)

File format developed by Adobe Systems to enable users of any hardware or software platform to view documents exactly as they were created--with fonts, images, links, and layouts as they were originally designed.

Peer Review

A formal process whereby articles submitted to a journal or conference are sent to several established scholars in that field of study. These reviewers may suggest improvements before deciding if the article should be published or included in the conference.

Peer-to-peer network (P2P)

A communications network that enables users to connect their computers and share files directly with other users, without having to go through a centralized server. Groove is an example of an application that runs on a peer-to-peer network.


Tailoring Web content to an individual user. Can be accomplished by a user entering preferences or by a computer guessing about the user's preferences.


A publication that is issued regularly, normally at least twice a year. Other schedules are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or biannually. Primary material published at regular or irregular intervals. A type of serial. (Keenan, p.12). The terms journal, magazine, periodical and serial are often used synonymously.

Periodical Index

A subject, author, or title Index to a group of periodicals.

Pixel (Picture Element)

Tiny dots that make up a computer image. The more pixels a computer monitor can display, the better the image resolution and quality. On a color monitor, every pixel is composed of a red, a green, and a blue dot that are small enough to appear as a single entity.


A machine that reproduces the markings from a piece of paper or a page onto a different piece of paper using a photographic process.

Phrase Searching

A search process that allows you to combine words so that you only get records where the words are next to each other in the order specified.


Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another. This is the case even when you cite the source in the body of your text or in your references, or both.


The ability of a personal computer's operating system to recognize and install-- with little to no intervention by the user--new peripheral devices that are added to the computer. Also spelled plug-n-play or plug 'n' play.


A biannual event sponsored by the Advanced Distributed Learning Network that brings together early adopters of the SCORM specifications to validate and document their process in meeting requirements for reuse, adaptability, interoperability, cost-effectiveness, and global access.


An accessory program that adds capabilities to the main program. Used on Webpages to display multimedia content.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics):

The patent-free graphics compression format developed by Macromedia expected to replace GIF. PNG offers advanced graphics features such as 48-bit color.


Transmission between multiple locations using a bridge.


Transmission between two locations.


A web site or service that provides access to online resources, such as digital objects.

POP (Post Office Protocol):

The set of rules and standards that govern the retrieval of email messages from a mail server.


To place a message in a public message forum. Also, to place an HTML page on the World Wide Web.

Power users

Advanced, sophisticated users of technology (usually a computer application or an operating system) who know more than just the basics needed to operate it.


A software package that enables a user to connect directly to the Internet over a telephone line.

Practice item

1) A question or learning activity that serves as an informal validation and reinforcement of instruction. 2) A sample question that precedes a test, designed to ensure that the learner understands the mechanics of the testing system.


A set of methods or procedures to be followed, as in best practices or standard practices. In e-learning, the methods used to communicate the content to the learner.


A portion of a work printed and issued before the publication of the complete work. A paper submitted at a conference which is published prior to the holding of the conference.

Prescriptive learning

A process in which only coursework that matches a learner's identified skill and knowledge gaps is offered to him or her, with the goal of making the learning experience more meaningful, efficient, and cost-effective.


Fundamental, authoritative documents related to a subject; also called source material and/or original sources. Examples include: novels and other creative works, research reports, technical studies, and computer data.


This term has two meanings: 1) A machine that prints the output from a computer to paper, or 2) A person or company that produces the printed copy of a book or other item.


The published record of a meeting of a society, association, institution, or other organization, often accompanied by abstracts or reports of papers presented.


See application.

Projection system

A device for showing video, television, or computer images on a large screen.


A formal set of standards, rules, or formats for exchanging data that assures uniformity between computers and applications.


One whose business is the publishing of reading material.

Pull technology

In reference to the Internet or other online services, the technology whereby people use software such as a Web browser to locate and "pull down" information for themselves. See also push technology.(Below this topic)

Push technology

In reference to the Internet or other online services, the technology whereby information is sent directly to a user's computer. See also pull technology.(above this topic)

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