Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-22, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 20 January, 2022 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2022.


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Online programmes

core definition

Online programmes are those available as distance education accessed via the Internet.

explanatory context

Although online programmes are aimed at distance or distributed learners, the content is often the same as, or accessible by, on-campus students using blended learning materials.

'Online' is sometimes hyphenated as 'on-line'. Rather than 'programme', US English uses 'program', which in UK English is used soley to refer to computer programs.


On-line programmes are also sometimes referred to as e-learning programmes.

analytical review

The US engineering accrediting agency ABET (2011) states:

What is an Online Program? Many academic programs in higher education have at least some content offered online, including individual courses, homework assignments, and class research projects. What constitutes an "online" program is not always well-defined. In addition, the percentage of online content for any academic program changes frequently.

The vast majority of ABET-accredited programs are offered mostly on-site.

The following ABET-accredited programs are offered in a 100-percent online format....

The E-Center for Professional Development (ETESOL) (2011) states:

What is an online program? An online program uses a Learning Management System to deliver course content and enable asynchronous communication between teachers and students. The asynchronous format allows students to log in at a time that is convenient to them to complete their weekly assignments and participate in class discussions. Live virtual classroom meetings are sometimes schedules. Online courses can be accessed anywhere a student has a computer with Internet access.

Amity University (2010) states:

What is an online programme? How does it differ from normal Distance Learning Programme? An online programme is a type of distance learning programme in which the student is not required to come physically to a classroom at a fixed time. He is required to study the interactive online study material through Internet at his own pace. Examinations are conducted at the end of semester..

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s (2011) Online Learning Definitions Project, provides an array of definitions of related on-line programme terms:

Online learning program – An online learning program is an organized offering of courses delivered primarily over the Internet.

Online learning resources – Any digital material used for supporting student learning that is delivered in multiple delivery models.

Online professional development – Professional development delivered over the Internet.

Online school – A formally constituted organization (public, private, state, charter, etc.) that offers full-time education delivered primarily over the Internet.

Online teacher (or instructor) – The person who holds the appropriate teaching certification and is responsible for instruction in an online course.

Online teaching endorsement – Supplemental state licensing that approves a teacher to teach online.

Online teaching reciprocity – The ability of a teacher who is considered qualified to teach online in one state also to teach in another state without additional requirements or assessments.

Online tutor – Someone who supports student learning in specific content areas over the Internet.

Online facilitator – This term is used in two ways. 1) for part-time online programs is the person working face-to-face with the online student to monitor student progress and attendance, providing training, assist in motivating the student, etc. The person may or may not be a certified teacher but works in conjunction with the certified online teacher. 2) Used interchangeably with online teacher or online educator.


The University of South Australia (2011) states:

Online course: A course delivered externally where all communication and access to /distribution of learning resources occur electronically, usually via the internet.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (undated) refers to e-learning:

E-learning: The delivery of content via electronic media, such as the internet, video, interactive TV and CD-ROM. E-learning encompasses all learning undertaken, whether formal or informal, through electronic delivery.

The Illinois based Committee on Institutional Cooperation (undated) defined e-learning thus:

E-learning refers to any type of learning that involves the use of computers in an asynchronous or synchronous environment. Typically, there are two types of e-learning: that which is independent computer-mediated self-study, and that which involves computer-mediated study with an instructor:


associated issues

The availability of on-line provision is not always evident to potential students, which is why, for example, a directory of on-line courses has been established in Missouri (see


When looking at on-line provision it is important to check that the provider and the programme are accredited or approved by a national agency. For example, in the United States, that the provider is accredited by one of the six U.S. Department of Education recognised regional accrediting bodies.


Linfield College has some useful advice for prospective on-line students in the US, see the post about on-line accredited colleges (21 January 2010) at (accessed 4 January 2017)


Unfortunately, there are on-line providers, worldwide, who take money and provide certificates or diplomas that are relatively worthless, these are known as diploma mills.

related areas

See also

blended learning

diploma mill

distance education

distributed education


ABET, 2011, Online Programs, available at, accessed 1 September 2012, still available 4 January 2017, not found 27 June 2019..

Amity University, 2010, FAQs, available at, accessed 1 September 2012, page not available 4 January 2017.

Committee on Institutional Cooperation, undated, Strategic Opportunities in Collaborative Distributed Education: A discussion document a working draft, prepared by Partlow, K. and Lavagnino, M.B., available at

E-Center for Professional Development (ETESOL) (2011) Student Frequently Asked Questions, available at, accessed 1 September 2012, page not available 4 January 2017.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), undated, Glossary, available at, accessed 10 October 2012, still available 31 December 2016, not available 20 June 2019.

International Association for K-12 Online Learning, 2011, The Online Learning Definitions Project, October, available at, accessed 1 September 2012, page not available 4 January 2017.

University of South Australia, 2011, General Definitions available at, accessed 23 July 2012, not avai;able 20 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2022

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