Educational Technology has existed since the first writing tools were used for learning, but in recent years the term has come to mean computer and web-based materials and processes used for learning.
Since most online class are web-based (rather than conducted via email or private networks), it is important that online instructors have some level of skill with the basic technologies used.
Take the quick Internet Skills quiz
As you may recall from The Web section in 5 Learning Resources, most students view your materials on web pages created with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Even in an LMS like Blackboard or Moodle, the pages are constructed using a toolbar, but toggling the <html> on the toolbar can show you the HTML. A browser (Chrome, Firefox, Explorer) simply renders the HTML, and other kinds of code, to make the page look a certain way. Knowing how to fix this HTML can go a long way to getting a page look how you want it to look.
But educational technology goes beyond using web pages. View this video by Jim Julius:
The professionalization of instructional technology means that colleges can now hire Instructional Designers and Educational Technologists. Although job descriptions differ, in general Instructional Designers can assist in designing classes or even design them completely in such a way that instructors can “plug in” their “content”. They can also work alongside faculty to apply principles of design. Since this class emphasizes beginning with ones own pedagogy rather than professionalized practices, we hope that Instructional Designers’ role will be in assisting faculty rather than creating course designs for them. Assisting faculty is often the role of Educational Technologists, who tend to have knowledge of applications and programs that can solve design problems encountered by faculty.