Archive of Learning Design Instructional Guides

Web 2.0 Terms

  • Other Learning Guides
  • Thanks to the TLT Symposium Team for letting us repurpose this glossary.

    Blog - Short for "Web Log", this is a site where people post their reflections on whatever they like (not necessarily technology or education). Two key features are the ability for other people to post comments to another person's blog and the ability to subscribe to new posts in a blog using RSS. Blogroll - a term for external links posted on a blog's main page, typically in the sidebar.

    Cloud Computing - The use of a Web services such as Flickr, Google Docs, Jing (video screencapture service) to perform the functions that were traditionally done with software installed on an individual computer. - A social bookmarking site where web sites can be tagged with keywords. The social component comes into play with the ability to see what other people have used as tags or to watch new sites that are tagged by users who are interested in similar topics.

    Flickr - A social photo sharing site where users can upload their photos and share them as well as receive comments from other users. Photos can be tagged to locations on sites like Google Maps or accessed by other web serviced and combined in new ways called "mash-ups".

    iTunesU - Apple's platform that enables universities to post programs to their own authenticated iTunes Store. These could be things like university-wide podcasts, course lectures, or student projects.

    News Feed - a Web file which allows sites to send updated information, announcements and news stories to other Web services. Many blogs and wikis generate newsfeeds automatically. Other newsfeeds are often marked by colored icon links referring to the common file types: RSS or ATOM, both of which are XML files.

    Newsreader - An application such as Google Reader (Web), Bloglines (Web), Feed Reader (Windows), Feed Demon (Windows), NetNewsWire (Mac) and Thunderbird (Win/Mac) which lets you subscribe read and organize different newsfeeds.

    Permalink - In a blog, this is the link that goes to a specific individual entry. Some permalinks include an entry date ( and others an entry of node number (

    Podcast - A series of audio recordings organized into a program. Listeners can subscribe to a podcast (using RSS) and hear the latest recordings whenever they are made available.

    RSS - a format of newsfeed which can be viewed in news readers. RSS is a type of XML file. Many blogs automatically generate an RSS newsfeed.

    Social Computing - Forms of web services where the value is created by the collective contributions of a user population.

    Tag - A keyword that can be attached to audio files, video files, web pages, photos, blog posts, or practically anything else on the web. Tags help other users to find and organize information. See the Blogs at Penn State Directory, or Flickr for examples of tags.

    Tag cloud - A tag cloud is a list of all the tags used within a single blog or page. Many tag clouds make tags larger the more entries they have. This site has a tag cloud in the right sidebar.

    Trackback - A trackback is a mechanism which allows a blog to automatically notify another Web site whenever a new entry is added. Although this is a useful notification mechanism, there are also spam trackback servers. See Blogs at Penn State Trackbacks for more information.

    Twitter - a Web service in which you can enter messages of up to 140 characters and view messages from other readers.

    Unconference - A term used to describe events with little structure, where the attendees drive the agenda and freely form new discussions and sub-groups as ideas emerge.

    Web 2.0 - A term to generally describe web sites and services where the content is shaped partially or entirely by the users (instead of being read-only and published by a sponsoring company).

    Wiki - Web pages (or sites) where anyone can edit the content and add additional pages (this page is a limited type of wiki).

    YouTube - A social computing site where users upload, share, and comment upon videos. Some other glossaries that might be of interest include: