5.1.4 Communications Media

Revision Points:
Candidates are expected to be able to identify a variety of communication media such as fax, email, bulletin boards, and tele/video conferencing.

Email - for writing, sending and receiving email.
Examples: Internet Mail or Outlook Express.
Email is usually text but can contain any other type of file, sent as an attachment to the email message.  An email message is stored and can be read at any time. Web-based email can be accessed simply by going to the appropriate website and entering a username and password.

Video conferencing - this allows people in different locations to see and hear each other as if they were in the same room. It therefore requires hardware such as microphones, speakers and a video camera. The software controls the exchange of images and sound and the computers normally need a good communication links such as an ISDN line. Some software systems also allow the users to work on files as if they were all working at one computer.

Fax - this is short for facsimile transmission. A fax machine scans in a document, digitises it and then uses a telephone line to transmit a copy to another fax machine. It is then decoded and the copy printed out.  The document is sent as an image rather than text which makes it slower then email. The receiving fax machine has to be switched on or the fax cannot be sent.

Bulletin boards - these are text discussion groups. Individuals post a message to the bulletin board and then others can read it and reply if they want to.