Communicating online is an essential part of the online learning experience. Online students must be comfortable communicating in writing to participate in discussions, complete assignments and work with instructors. Communicating in writing can be tricky. Written messages lack the tone of voice and facial expressions that help us to express ourselves in person. To ensure that we communicate clearly it is important to follow some simple rules of internet etiquette or "Netiquette."
Netiquette, or net etiquette, refers to etiquette on the Internet. Based on the Golden Rule, good netiquette is basically not doing anything online that will annoy or frustrate other people. Three areas where good netiquette is highly stressed are email, online chat, and newsgroups.
Some Netiquette Rules
- Follow the same rules online as you would in person. Be polite and ethical.
- Be aware of your "surroundings" and consider your audience. Use your "school" netiquette for online classes.
- Be a clear and concise writer.
- Do not WRITE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. It comes across as shouting. Use written annotations in your text to express mood. For example, one can use a variety of emoticon smiley faces :-) or surround words in asterisks, such as *smile*. Before posting a comment, read through your message to see how it will sound to the reader.
- Be careful with humor and sarcasm. Without the voice inflections and body language of personal communications, it is easy for a remark meant to be funny to be misinterpreted.
- Don't assume negative intent. Give others the benefit of the doubt and ask questions to clarify their meaning before you respond and assume their comment is offensive.
- Note that your email is not guaranteed to be private.
- Do not reveal your own personal address, phone numbers, or student ID in an open discussion forum. Respect the privacy of your classmates personal information as well.
- Give back to the class. If you have good and valuable information to share, please do so. The course is strengthened when each person shares from his/her own experience and knowledge.
- Cite appropriate references. If you are using facts to support a cause, state where they came from.