Communicating and Learning Online: Netiquette

It is important to recognize that the online aspect of courses still constitutes a classroom setting, and certain behaviors are expected when you communicate with both your peers and your instructors. These guidelines for online behavior and interaction are known as netiquette.

Security

Remember that your password is the only thing protecting you from pranks or more serious harm.

  • Don’t share your password with anyone.
  • Change your password if you think someone else might know it.
  • Always log out and close the browser when you are finished using the system.

Privacy

Remember to safeguard private or sensitive information.

  • Be careful with personal information (both yours and other people’s).
  • Do not send confidential patient information via e-mail.  (Review HIPAA training for detailed information on appropriate storage and communication of protected health information.)

General Communication Guidelines

When communicating with your instructors online, you should:

  • Treat instructor with respect in all forms of online communication
  • Always use your professors’ proper title: Dr. or Prof., or if in doubt use Mr. or Ms.
  • Unless specifically invited, don’t refer to your instructor by first name.
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Remember that all college level communication should have correct spelling and grammar.
  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you”.
  • Use standard fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman and use a size 12 or 14 font.
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature, AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETTED AS YELLING.
  • Limit and possibly avoid the use of emoticons like 🙂
  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or considered offensive.

When communicating with fellow students for formal class purposes, you should:

  • Treat your colleagues with respect in all forms of online communication
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Remember that all college level communication should have correct spelling and grammar.
  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you”.
  • Use standard fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman and use a size 12 or 14 font.
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature, AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETTED AS YELLING.
  • Limit and possibly avoid the use of emoticons like 🙂
  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or considered offensive.

E-mail Guidelines

When you send an e-mail to your instructor, teaching assistant, or classmates, you should:

  • Use the Canvas “Inbox” tool for your course unless you have specific directions otherwise.
  • Send to the minimum number of necessary recipients.  In other words, do not send e-mail to “all participants.”
  • Use a descriptive subject line.
  • Be concise and clear.
  • Use standard file formats for attachments (e.g. PDF, DOCX, XLSX), or confirm that the recipient can open the format you intend to send.
  • Sign your message with your name and return e-mail address.

When you reply to an e-mail, you should:

  • Use the Canvas “Inbox” tool for your course unless you have specific directions otherwise.
  • Reply to the minimum number of necessary recipients.  In other words, do you really want everyone to receive your response when you click “reply all”?
  • Be judicious in forwarding information.  Be sure that the original message author intended for the information to be passed along before you click the “forward” button.  (See Privacy above.)
  • Be concise and clear.
  • Use standard file formats for attachments (e.g. PDF, DOCX, XLSX), or confirm that the recipient can open the format you intend to send.
  • Sign your message with your name and return e-mail address.

Discussion Guidelines

When posting in the Canvas “Discussions” tool in e-learning, you should:

  • Make posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material.
  • Review and edit your posts before submitting them in Canvas.  (It is recommended that you write drafts of posts in a word processing program and then copy and paste them into the “Discussions.”)
  • Be as brief as possible while still making a thorough comment.
  • Avoid plagiarism.  Use your own words to analyze and synthesize ideas.  Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting sources.
  • Read the messages in a thread before replying.  Don’t make redundant posts.  Add to the conversation with a original ideas.
  • Avoid short, generic replies such as, “I agree.” You should include why you agree and add to the previous point.
  • Be open to differing points of view.
  • Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own.  When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way.
  • Do not make personal or insulting remarks.

Live Session Guidelines

When attending a live session in Canvas “Conferences” tool or via Adobe Connect, you should:

  • Enter the room a little early to have time to set up your audio and/or video.
  • Be prepared in advance based on the type of session.
  • Use a headset with earphones and microphone to mitigate feedback in the session.
  • Be prepared to adjust from video to audio-only or from multiple-speaker to single-speaker modes, if there are participants with lower bandwidth attending the session.
  • Be prepared to monitor “chat” as well as the main content of the session.
  • Be prepared to take turns and “share” the microphone.

Additional Resources