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SyberWorks Learning and Performance Glossary


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Packet: a bundle of data, which may or may not have a set size, that is transmitted over a network. Packets can range from one character to hundreds of characters.

Page Turner: a derogatory term for e-Learning sites that offer little or no graphics or interaction, and consist mostly of simple text pages.

Pair Problem Solving: a problem-solving technique in which one member of a pair is the "thinker" (who thinks aloud as they try to solve the problem) and the other is the "listener" (who analyzes, and provides feedback about, the "thinker's" approach).

Panel: a small group acting as experts, who answer questions from people in a larger group. In a classroom setting, students are selected to become experts on a topic and are given at least a day to prepare for their panel discussion.

Panic Attack: the sudden onset of feelings of anxiety with no medical cause, often accompanied by dizziness, palpitations, and nausea.

Paradoxes: statements that appear to be contradictory. Using paradoxes in the classroom can encourage logical thinking, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

Paralysis: complete or partial loss of the ability to move a body part, usually as a result to damage of the nerve supply.

Paranoia: a psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of harassment and often persistently defended with apparent logic and reason.

Paraphrasing: carefully reading, and then rewriting, an author's ideas in one's own words. Learning to paraphrase is critical to understanding how to do research from texts, and to properly cite those texts without plagiarizing.

Paraplegia: the paralysis of the lower half of the body, usually caused by damage to the spinal cord.

Participative Design: a way to move from a bureaucratic model of management to a model in which individuals within an organization restructure the workplace themselves.

Partner Discussion: a strategy, involving pairs of people, that allows the maximum number of students to verbally express their ideas at the same time.

PBL (Problem-Based Learning): an inductive teaching method where no direct instruction takes place. The teacher poses authentic (real-world) problems and students learn content and skills as they work together to solve the problems.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant): a handheld computer device used to organize personal information, such as contacts, schedules and other personal data.

PDF (Portable Document Format): a file format developed by Adobe Systems to allow users of any hardware or software platform to publish and view documents electronically, with a standard formatting for printing and document security (documents are generally read-only).

Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS): a reading approach in which pairs of learners carry out "Paragraph Shrinking," "Partner Reading," and "Prediction Relays."

Peer Editing: students read and evaluate each others' work. Peer editing gives students an alternative audience for their writing and improves their analytical skills.

Peer Evaluation: students evaluate each others' presentations or work.

Peer Tutoring: a form of instruction delivered by a person close in age or achievement to the person being coached.

Peer-to-Peer Network (P2P): a network that allows users to connect their computers and share files directly with other users, without having to go through a centralized server.

Performance Analysis: investigating the operational inconsistencies in a work organization, prior to designing or developing activities to address the weaknesses seen.

Performance Improvement: planning or designing interventions toward a change in behavior, typically on the job.

Personalization: the act of tailoring web content to individual users, either by asking them to enter personal preferences or by programming the computer to guess their preferences.

Phenomena Map: a graphic structure designed to help students understand events and their interactions.

Pixel (Picture Element): the smallest unit in a digital image file or on a display screen. The more pixels a computer monitor can display, the better the image resolution and quality. On a color monitor, each pixel includes red, green, and blue dots that are small enough to appear as a single entity.

PLAN: a writing strategy, proposed by Edwin S. Ellis, consisting of Previewing the audience, goals, and words; Listing main ideas and details; Assigning numbers to indicate order; and Noting ideas in complete sentences.

Plug-and-Play: the ability of a personal computer's operating system to identify, install, and use new peripheral devices that are added with little or no intervention from users.

Plug-In: a software program that enhances another program (such as a web browser) so that it can perform new tasks, such as playing audio and displaying Flash video.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics): a patent-free Macromedia graphic format that is expected to replace GIF. PNG supports lossless image compression and offers advanced graphic features (such as 48-bit color).

Poetry Writing: poetry is a form of written expression. Since poetry encourages students to express ideas in imaginative, highly connected ways, many kinds of classrooms use poetry writing as a creative learning technique.

Point-Counterpoint: an approach (often used to explore controversial topics) that presents arguments for and against a proposal.

Point-to-Multipoint: transmission between multiple locations using a bridge.

Point-to-Point: transmission directly between two locations.

POP (Post Office Protocol): the collection of rules and standards that manage the retrieval of messages from an email server.

Portal: a website that is a gateway to additional information on the Internet. Portals can be general, like Yahoo!, or specific, like vertical industry directories.

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