You are here: Home » Help » Glossary

Glossary

Affiliation
An affiliation is a special type of lens that allows organizations to gather together content created by members of their organization. Unlike an endorsement lens, the content may not have been reviewed and officially approved by the lens creator. When a module or collection has been added to an affiliation lens, a message will display in the Lenses box indicating the affiliation for that content.
CNXML
CNXML is an XML specification for writing modules. The goal of creating CNXML was to have a language that deals with the content of the material rather than the details of presentation.
Collection/Course
A collection (often referred to as a course) is a group of modules arranged in a specific order and labeled by the author, editor or instructor building the collection. A collection can be a course, textbook, report, survey, journal, etc. In each module, the collection builder can add links to supplemental, prerequisite, or example material, in addition to any links added by the original module creator, to help learners understand the material.
Collection Composer
The Collection Composer is the tool used by authors, editors, or instructors to assemble a collection of modules into a course, textbook, report, survey or other collection. It allows instructors and textbook editors to search for relevant modules, add them to a collection, label them, and arrange them in the order in which they will appear to learners. The collection author can also add links to related material in each module.
Content Repository
The Content Repository is where modules and collections/courses are stored. The Repository is free and open to anyone to view.
Context
When you click on the name of a collection or a lens, you land on the collection start page or the lens page. When you land on this page, your browser saves a cookie that lets it know you are viewing that specific collection or lens. After that, whenever you view content contained in that collection or lens, some information pertaining to the collection or lens will be displayed along with the content itself. This is called viewing the content "in the context of" a collection or lens.
Edit-in-Place
Edit-in-Place is a graphical online CNXML editor to help authors create or edit modules. It is the default editor when editing a module, though you can also switch to the Full Source Editor. You can insert new text and media objects into a module or modify the existing contents of a module with this editor. You do not have to be familiar with the CMXML tags to use Edit-In-Place. It inserts the appropriate CNXML tags for you when you insert a new item in the file. In addition, it has a help feature that describes the CNXML tags for the items you insert or edit with it.
Endorsement
An endorsement is a special type of lens that provides a window into the Content Commons of material that has been reviewed and approved by the lens creator. When a module or collection has been added to an endorsement lens, a message will display in the Lenses box indicating the endorsement for that content.
Featured Links are author-specified prerequisite, example, or supplemental materials related to a module or collection. They are displayed in the Featured Links box when viewing the content online.
Full Source Editor
The Full Source Editor allows you to edit the CNXML of a module directly through the online editing interface.
Lens

A lens is a selection of content in the Content Repository to help readers find content that is related to a particular topic or focus. Four types of specialized lenses are currently supported: endorsement lenses for reviewed materials, affiliation lenses for material created by members of the lens creator's organization, a My Favorites list for members to keep track of their favorite content, and member list lenses for all other purposes.

Lens creators can add their own tags and comments to content selected in the lens. Private lenses are visible only to the lens maker while logged in to their account, whereas public lenses can be viewed by anyone. A list of all public lenses can be found at lenses, and subsets of each type of lens can be found at endorsements, affiliations, and memberlists.

MathML
MathML is an XML application for representing the content and presentation of mathematical equations and formulas. MathML allows authors to encode the meaning of an equation or formula without worrying about the presentation. This allows you to create a collection or course from modules written by different authors and maintain notational consistency. For example, vectors may be notated by a bold letter, an over bar, an over arrow, or a hat. Instead of storing that information, MathML stores the fact that it is a vector. You can specify how you want all the vectors notated in your collection, regardless of the source of each module.
Member List

A member list is a type of lens that any account holder can create to keep a selection of content in the repository that they are interested in.

Metadata
Metadata are non-content information included within a module or a collection. Module metadata include the module ID, license type, version number, creation date, revision date, authors, maintainers, copyright holders, module name, keywords, and abstract. Collection metadata include the collection title, the author's institution, an associated course code if applicable, an instructor if applicable, a home page URI, keywords, and abstract.
Metadata is saved as MDML, an XML specification. MDML is placed in the CNXML document but currently must be edited by members through the graphical user interface.
Module
A module is the basic building block of a course, textbook, or other type of collection. You can think of it as a small knowledge chunk that contains text and images that address a single topic or a specific aspect of a topic. The author determines the size of a module. To a learner or reader viewing a course or collection, a module is simply a web page in the collection. Modules allow readers to follow the information path arranged by the author or instructor or to branch off and discover their own path. To an instructor putting a course together, having topics in different modules allows easy selection and arrangement of the information. An instructor can include existing modules from other courses or other academic disciplines that are important to the presentation of the course subject.
My Favorites List

A My Favorites list is a type of lens that any account holder can create to keep track of their favorite content in the Content Commons.

Namespace (XML)
Different XML applications or languages may use the same tags to mean different things. If you use multiple XML-based languages within the same document this may cause confusion. To prevent this, each XML-based language defines a namespace that distinguishes its tags from the tags of other languages.
QML
QML (Questions Markup Language) is an XML-based language for describing learning assessment items (questions). It was originally developed so that collections could present interactive questions to students.
Parameters
Parameters are collection-level settings which control the presentation of some math elements, such as vectors and imaginary numbers, as well as printing features, such as typeface selection. They are specified through the Parameters tab of the Collection Composer.
Role
A role is one of three types of contributors to content in the Content Repository. The roles are author, maintainer, copyright holder, editor, and translator. At least one author, maintainer, and copyright holder must be specified for each content; the editor and translator roles are optional. When a member first creates a new module or collection, he or she is automatically assigned to the author, maintainer, and copyright holder laws, though these may be changed later.
Stylesheet
A stylesheet is a separate document from the CNXML file. The stylesheet defines how the document is displayed. There are two stylesheet languages: CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language). CSS defines how a tag is displayed. XSL is a transformation and formatting language that allows you to convert an XML document into another type of document, for example, convert a CNXML document into HTML or LaTeX. Connexions uses XSL to generate various downloadable formats for each content.
Tags
Tags are member-created descriptors to help label content flexibly so that the tag maker and other readers can find and remember content. They can be used by groups and communities to attach a vocabulary to content that is meaningful in the group's context. Tags are created and attached to content through lenses.
Some tags are attached to content in two parts: a prefix that specifies a particular vocabulary that the tag comes from (e.g., "Grade") and then the tag itself (e.g., "5th").
Work Areas

Members create, edit, manage, checkout, or adapt content in one of several designated work areas in the editing interface. There are two types of work areas: your Personal Workspace and Shared Workgroups. These work areas allow you to develop draft content prior to publishing, giving you an opportunity to explore and experiment with your content before sharing it with the world.

Every member account has a private work area called “Personal Workspace”. As an author, you are the only person who can access this work area, making it an ideal place to develop personal projects or create a "sandbox" for experimenting with CNXML. If you decide to share your work with others, you can simply move your current draft into a shared workgroup (where only other workgroup members can view it) or publish it to the repository (where it can be viewed by anybody).

You can also choose to create one or more shared workgroups for collaborating with other authors. Unlike your personal workspace, shared workgroups allow you to invite others to view and edit your content, making it an ideal place to work on group projects or get feedback on draft content. Note that in a shared workgroup, each invited member has the same rights to create, edit, and discard a draft - there is no hierarchy within a workgroup.

XML
XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a set of rules for defining markup languages that define, validate, and share document formats. A markup language is any language (such as HTML) that uses tags surrounding text to convey information such as content or format.
My Account