2023-2024 Olympic College Catalog 
    May 26, 2024  
2023-2024 Olympic College Catalog

Academic Terminology Glossary


ACCREDITATION: The process by which a private, non-governmental body evaluates an educational institution or program of study and formally recognizes it as having met certain predetermined criteria or standards. The process involves initial and periodic self-study and evaluation by peers. Accreditation implies simulation toward quality improvement beyond the minimum standards specified by the accrediting body. The essential purpose of the accreditation process is to provide a professional judgment as to the quality of the educational institution or program offered and to encourage continual improvement thereof.

ACCUPLACER: An assessment of student skills in reading, writing, and math for placement into skill-level appropriate classes.

ADD/DROP COURSE: Upon completion of the registration process, a student may add or drop a course to or from their schedule. A faculty member may request an “administrative drop” of a course for lack of a prerequisite or for non-attendance.

ADVISOR: A member of the faculty or staff who assists students with scheduling and educational planning to include communicating general information, establishing educational goals, and determining which courses an advisee needs to take in order to meet their goals.

AUDIT: Registering for a course and attending classes, with no obligation to complete homework or tests. No credit is earned.

BACCALAUREATE: Coursework associated with, or the degree customarily granted upon completion of a course of study normally requiring four academic years of college work.

CANVAS: Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) used by Olympic College that allows teachers to create courses and post learning resources and assignments online. Courses can be created for use fully online or to complement existing face-to-face courses.

CATALOG: The publication, issued annually or biannually that presents information about the institution. The catalog may be published as one publication (as at Olympic College) or as separate bulletins of information. It is considered the basic publication, the official reference for college policies, degree requirements, course descriptions, and other services.

CERTIFICATION: The authorization given by a professional or governmental agency or both to practice a particular vocation after completion of required training, and/or testing.

CLASS (COURSE) MODALITY: The method by which instruction is offered for a course.

  • FACE-TO-FACE: A course where instruction is conducted in person.
  • FULLY ONLINE: A course that uses web-based tools and where 100% of the instruction and interaction between instructor and student is done online. (Proctored exams still allow for this classification).
  • ASYNCHRONOUS REMOTE: All instruction conducted asynchronously online. Learning without specified meeting times and days. Instructors provide content, set deadlines, facilitate online discussions, answer questions, grade, give feedback, and facilitate individual and group learning. Students work independently to complete assignments, group projects, quizzes, discussions, and other activities.
  • SYNCHRONOUS REMOTE: All instruction conducted synchronously online. Learning that happens in real-time with instructors and students. Students are expected to gather at a specified day and time in a virtual space with the instructor based on a predictable and scheduled basis.
  • BLENDED REMOTE: A mix of synchronous and asynchronous online instruction.
  • HYBRID: A course that displaces some, but not all face-to-face class time with web-based tools.
  • ON CAMPUS LAB + ONLINE: A course where required lab activities occur on-campus at a scheduled time, and all other instruction occurs online asynchronously (without a set time to attend). There are no other required real-time (synchronous) activities other than the labs.
  • ON CAMPUS LAB + SYNCHRONOUS REMOTE: A course where required lab activities occur on-campus at a scheduled time, and all other instruction takes place online synchronously (at specific days and times noted in the class schedule, using internet/web-based tools). 100% of non-lab instruction is held online synchronously (virtually at specific days and times noted in the class schedule, using internet/web-based tools).
  • WASHINGTON ONLINE (WAOL): A course that uses the SBCTC shared course tools so that multiple institutions in our system can aggregate enrollments into a single roster or pool of students. The course instructor can be hired at any of the institutions and is supported and paid by that institution. The students are supported by the college where they enroll.
  • WEB-ENHANCED: A face-to-face course that does not replace any face-to-face seat time, and access to web-based tools is required.

CLASS SCHEDULE: A publication containing information on the courses and sections offered for a given term. At Olympic College, the printed quarterly class schedule is available online via the ctcLink Class Schedule.

COLLEGE-LEVEL EXAMINATION PROGRAM (CLEP): A nationwide program of examinations designed to measure college-level educational achievement gained through “life experience” (e.g. military, employment, or private study). Up to two years of college credit may be granted on the basis of CLEP examinations, depending on the institution.

COMMUNITIES OF COLOR: The term “of color” embraces Black, Asian, Latino, and indigenous peoples both within the U.S. and transnationally, whose collective marginalization as “colored” peoples and colonial subjects informs coalition politics that cut across many issues. “Communities of color” is sometimes used interchangeably with people of color but can also refer to the geographic areas in which they are concentrated.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION: Opportunities for extending education beyond high school to young persons and adults following completion or withdrawal from full-time school or college programs. The service is usually provided by special schools, centers, colleges, and institutions, or by separate administrative divisions such as university extensions.

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS: Community organizations, or community-based organizations, refers to nonprofit or grassroots organizations that operate in and for the benefit of a specific community. 

COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE: An educational institution in Washington state that provides workforce education and college transfer academic programs.

CONTINUING STUDENT: Registered/attended any Olympic College course the previous quarter.

CONTINUOUS ENROLLMENT: A class that can be added to a student’s schedule after the tenth day of the quarter.

CORE ABILITIES: At Olympic College, core abilities are five areas of emphases, or abilities taught across all programs and disciplines. The five core abilities are: communication, thinking, information literacy and technology, lifelong learning, and global perspective.

COUNSELOR: A faculty member who has professional training in counseling and who assists students in student success, activities, and personal matters.

COURSE: A single subject of study taken for one term, quarter, or semester.

CREDIT(S): A unit of measure for college work. Often, one credit hour represents one hour of classroom attendance each week for a quarter.

CTCLINK: An online service that allows students to access their educational records (unofficial), find their student ID or time to register, plan their schedule, register online, pay tuition and fees, look up grades, print an unofficial transcript, or update their address.

CULTURAL COMPETENCE: The National Center for Cultural Competence references the seminal definition provided by Cross et al, 1989: “Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

The word culture is used because it implies the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group. The word competence is used because it implies having the capacity to function effectively.

Five essential elements contribute to a system’s institution’s, or agency’s ability to become more culturally competent which include:

  1. Valuing diversity
  2. Having the capacity for cultural self-assessment
  3. Being conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact
  4. Having institutionalized culture knowledge
  5. Having developed adaptations to service delivery reflecting an understanding of cultural diversity

These five elements should be manifested at every level of an organization including policy making, administrative, and practice. Further these elements should be reflected in the attitudes, structures, policies and services of the organization.”

(National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (n.d.). Definitions of Cultural Competence)

CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE: Not to be confused with cultural appropriation, in the educational context, culturally appropriate describes school practices that foster congruence between the home cultures of historically marginalized students and the dominant culture of the schools they attend. In a broad sense, such practices, also described as culturally congruent, relevant, or responsive, are designed to ensure that teachers and other school staff understand the cultures of the students they serve and draw upon students’ cultural strengths to enhance their learning and empowerment.

CURRICULA: A set of courses organized to achieve a specific educational objective.

DEGREES: A rank conferred by a college or university and earned by a student who has successfully completed specified courses and requirements.

  • ASSOCIATE DEGREE: The designation granted upon completion of an educational program of generally two, but less than four years of college work. Olympic College offers the Associate in Arts, Associate of Science, Associate in Applied Science- Transfer, Associate in Technical Arts, and Associate of General Studies.
  • BACHELOR’S DEGREE: The degree customarily granted upon completion of a course of study normally requiring four academic years of college work.
  • MASTER’S DEGREE: An academic degree, earned or honorary, carrying the title of “Master.” Higher than a bachelor’s degree, the earned Master’s degree requires extended course work and research.
  • DOCTORATE DEGREE: An academic degree, earned or honorary, carrying the title of “Doctor.” Higher than a Master’s degree, the earned Doctor degree requires extended course work and research.
  • PROFESSIONAL DEGREE: The degree signifying completion of the minimum academic requirements for practice of a profession. The specific programs included in this category are: dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.); law, general (L.L.B. or J.D.); medicine (M.D.); optometry (O.D.); osteopathic medicine (D.O.); podiatry (Pod D., D.P., or P.M.); theological professionals, generally (B.D., M.Div., Rabbi); and veterinary medicine (D.V.M.).
  • DIRECT TRANSFER (DTA): The associate degree that a two-year college has created to meet the 1996 Washington Intercollegiate Relations Commission Guidelines, which enables a student to transfer to a college or a university with all or most of the basic requirements (general education or “core” courses) completed.

DISTANCE LEARNING: Any of a number of alternative courses to typical classroom instruction that use communication technology exclusively, or in part, to provide course information, research, and other resources.

DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS: Courses numbered 100 or above that meet specific requirements for associate degrees, and may be transferred and applied to programs that culminate in a Bachelor Degree.

DIVERSITY: Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).”

ELECTIVE COURSE: A subject or course which is not required for a major or general requirement.

ENGLISH TO SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES (ESOL): Courses offered for students who do not speak English or who do not use English as their native language.

EQUITY: Equity in education is realized when we…

  • Prevent and remove barriers for groups of students with histories of exclusion, discrimination, and marginalization
  • Achieve equal educational outcomes for historically underrepresented groups relative to their peers
  • Lead with racial equity to maximize student potential across all populations, including racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, sexual identity, gender identity, and differing ability
  • Maintain a culture of belonging that advances racial, social and economic justice in service to our diverse communities

FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA): Federal laws designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings (also known as The Buckley Amendment).

FEES: The designation usually given by an institution to the educational services fee assessed each time students register, or (at other institutions) the charge assessed all students for the specific function of registration. Money may be charged at registration to cover incidental materials in a course or allow access to services on campus (e.g. computer, parking).

FEES, RESIDENT: One year of residency in Washington state is the basic minimum requirement. Active duty military personnel, their spouses, and dependents are eligible to have nonresident fees waived.

FINANCIAL AID: Money available from various sources to help students pay for college expenses. This comes in the form of loans, grants, scholarships from state or federal government, or other organizations.

FORMER STUDENT: Did not register/attend any Olympic College course the previous quarter/session.

FULL-TIME STUDENT: Students who enroll in 12 or more credits in one quarter are considered to be full-time students.

GENERAL EQUIVALENCY DEVELOPMENT (GED): A test for students 19 and older who have not completed high school to demonstrate learning equivalent to a high school diploma.

GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT(S) (GER): Generally, 50 credits of 100-level courses or above that require the student to take courses in a variety of disciplines or subjects which apply to programs that culminate in an Associate or Bachelor degree. At Olympic College, G.E.R.’s are termed “Distribution Areas.”

GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA): A numerical measure of scholastic performance over a set of courses obtained by dividing the sum of the grade points earned by the total number of hours of course work (credits) attempted.

GRIEVANCE: A wrong considered as grounds for complaint, or something believed to cause distress. Olympic College has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for the equitable resolution, within a reasonable time, of complaints by students with disabilities alleging violations of their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

HISTORICALLY MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES: Historically marginalized communities or populations are: “Individuals, groups, and communities that have historically and systematically been denied access to services, resources and power relationships across economic, political, and cultural dimensions as a result of systemic, durable, and persistent racism, discrimination and other forms of oppression. Long standing and well documented structural marginalization has resulted in poor outcomes - health, social, political, economic and overall increased vulnerability to harm. Historically Marginalized Populations are often identified based on their race, ethnicity, social-economic status, geography, religion, language, sexual identity and disability status.” (Historically Marginalized Populations Engagement Toolkit, 2021).

HUMANITIES: An area of academic study that examines and celebrates the human experience. Courses in the humanities include language, literature, art, music, and philosophy.

INCLUSION: Inclusion has roots in the disability movement, as a strategy for including students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms. Over time, it has come to describe the process by which all students who have historically been excluded and marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, citizenship status, and gender identity and other social identity markers, can experience belonging, be respected and valued, and fully participate in all aspects of the educational environment. In this sense, inclusion goes beyond mere integration to require the removal of barriers to educational participation. However, it falls short of requiring equitable outcomes or the transformation of institutional power arrangements.

INDEPENDENT STUDY: A course of study with topics or problems chosen by the student with the approval of the college and the supervision of an instructor.

LABORATORY COURSE: A course which provides a student an opportunity to perform experiments and determine results. Typically, laboratory courses are used for exposure to materials that illustrate principles taught in a lecture course.

LECTURE COURSE: A course which familiarizes a student with the principles of a subject area. Lecture courses typically involve note-taking by the student and allow for limited discussion.

LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (LMS): A software application that allows instructors to deliver material to the students, administer tests and other assignments, track student progress, and manage record-keeping electronically. LMS provides functionality such as course administration and delivery, documentation, and tracking.

LIBERAL ARTS: A course of study intended to expose a student to a broad sampling of academic studies. Liberal arts courses stress the development of reasoning, writing, and speaking skills.

LOWER DIVISION: Generally freshman and sophomore courses (100-200 level), as distinct from upper division (300-400 level).

LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES: According to the federal government,  a “‘low-income individual’ means an individual whose family’s taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of the poverty level amount,” as established by the Census Bureau. (Federal TRIO Programs Current-Year Low-Income Levels, 2021). Low-income communities, then, refers to a collective of individuals so defined.

MAJOR: Specialization in one academic discipline or field of study.

MATRICULATED: The term applies to a student who has successfully applied for and registered at a college or university.

MINOR: A secondary area of specialization.

NEW STUDENT: First time to register/attend Olympic College.

ORIENTATION: A program through which entering students have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the college or university, its programs and policies.

PART TIME: Students who enroll in 11 or fewer credits in one quarter are considered to be part time students.

PLACEMENT RECIPROCITY: Placement reciprocity allows students to request placement into pre-college and college-level courses at Olympic College based on their placement at another Washington Community or Technical College.

PREREQUISITE: A requirement or necessary condition for enrollment in a course, including previous successful completion of another course or courses, assessment score or course grade, audition, admission status, concurrent enrollment or co-enrollment in a course or courses, or permission of the instructor.

PROFESSIONAL/TECHNICAL PROGRAMS: At Olympic College, programs designed to provide entry into technical or semi-professional occupations, or provide additional training for those already working in a field who seek advancement.

QUARTER: A time period of 10 or 11 weeks constitutes a complete academic term under the quarter calendar (see semester). Olympic College offers three quarters per year plus a summer session. A school year may consist of four quarters at some colleges or universities.

RECOMMENDED COURSE: A course that is not required but strongly advised to better prepare a student for a particular program.

REGISTRATION: The procedure by which students are enrolled in courses.

REQUIRED COURSE: A course that is needed to fulfill a college major, degree requirement, or certification.

RESIDENCY STATUS: In public institutions, the classification by the institution of a student as a resident or nonresident of the state in which the institution is located in order to determine how much tuition the student will be charged. Currently, one year residency is the basic requirement for Washington state resident tuition status.

REVERSE TRANSFER: A process for awarding associate degrees to students who have transferred in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree before completing the requirements for an associate degree at a two-year institution. Students may transfer completed courses from their transfer college or university back to Olympic College, to be applied to an Olympic College associate degree.

SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TEST (SAT): A widely used test colleges use to determine a student’s ability to succeed in college-level courses. The Scholastic Aptitude Test of The College Board may be required for students entering some four-year schools.

SEMESTER: A time period of 14 to 16 weeks for each semester which constitute a complete academic term under the semester calendar (see quarter).

TRANSCRIPT: A copy of the permanent course record at an institution of higher education. The document becomes an official transcript when the seal of the institution is affixed (and unbroken) and the signature of the Registrar is appended.

TRANSFER STUDENT: A student who transfers credits earned at one college or university to another college or university.

TUITION: The amount of money charged by an institution of higher education for its instructional services.

TUITION, NON-RESIDENT: The tuition that a tax-supported institution assesses students whose domicile is outside the state from which it draws tax support.

UNIVERSITY: An institution of higher education with graduate and professional schools as well as undergraduate (bachelor’s level) schools or colleges.

UPPER DIVISION: Generally, junior and senior courses (300-400 level).

UPSIDE-DOWN DEGREE: When specific courses designed to complete a major are taken before (or concurrently with) lower division courses.

WITHDRAWAL: The dropping of a course from the student’s registration, either voluntary or required, which may be initiated only by a student.