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Chapter 9. Glossaries

Chapter 9. Glossaries

Part of becoming an expert in any field is learning the vocabulary used by practitioners. Experts in an area of study develop new language and word usage to communicate new ideas or subtle variations of old ones. As communities develop within a field and experts communicate with each other over time, a new language emerges. Many experts find it increasingly difficult to communicate with novices as they become more immersed in the language of their field. For example, computer experts have developed an entirely new vocabulary of acronyms, names, and shorthand to help them rapidly communicate complex ideas to each other. As someone with a degree of expertise in computer technology, I know I need to be careful not to confuse others when I explain technical concepts. If you've ever been privy to a discussion among geeks, you know it can be nearly impossible for an outsider to follow the three- and four-letter alphabet soup that passes for geek-speak.

Fortunately, Moodle has a tool to help you and your students develop glossaries and embed them in your course. On the surface, the glossary tool doesn't seem to be more than a fancy word list. In practice, however, it's a powerful tool for learning. The glossary tool has a number of features that make it easy for you and your class to develop shared vocabulary lists add comments to definitions, and even link every appearance of a word in a course to its' glossary entry.


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