Essentials of Proper Online Etiquette

LOL!OMG, w/ the evolution of higher ed. it is necessary that we modify r communication 2 fit the online delivery of courses. There r many considerations & modifications that we must make when communic8ing w/ r profs and peeps b/c of the various electronic mediums available. Whether it be sending a txt, a pic, an e-mail, a FB message, or posting to a discussion board, it is r responsibility to make sure that we r being as respectful & effective in our online communication as we r in F2F contact. 🙂

In online education, the majority of interaction is through electronic communication. Paragraphs like the one above are not only an English major’s worst nightmare, but distracting and disrespectful to your professors, instructors, and peers. Electronic communication is still “new” compared to its alternatives, and this simple guide to online etiquette provides some guidance to interacting in this new frontier.

Absence of Body Language

Remember, without body language, statements made in everyday conversation can come off as harsh and offensive when read only on a computer screen. For example, “That’s ridiculous” said with a smile to a peer can be taken as light hearted and carefree, but “That’s ridiculous” in a discussion board posting can be interpreted as rude and disrespectful.

The opening paragraph speaks to the popularity of abbreviations and emoticons (or smileys that represent emotion); however, even with growing popularity, these “tools” should be used sparingly and in informal situations only, not papers, PowerPoints, or direct correspondence with instructors.

Smiley Face!An Online Classroom

Even though your courses are not resident instruction courses, they are still upper-level undergraduate or graduate level courses and should be treated with the same respect. The discussion board you are posting to is no different than a classroom with respect to decorum. For example, “YOU WOULDN’T YELL AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS IN A CLASSROOM, WOULD YOU?”

Furthermore, offensive language (or offensive acronyms) and crude or vulgar remarks aren’t any more acceptable online than they are in the seat of a classroom. Remember, online communication is tracked, kept on discussion boards, or saved in sent folders, so if your post or e-mail is something you are uncomfortable with resurfacing at a later date, it is probably better left unsaid.

Clear and Concise

When composing electronic communication, be clear, concise, and deliberate in your messages. Try reading your post aloud as if you were saying it to a peer instead of typing it. Did it make sense? If not, revisions might be necessary. Well thought-out composition can alleviate multiple questions, additions, and revisions to posts.

A New Frontier

Electronic communication is ever evolving and advancing with new devices and technologies. It is our responsibility as users to aid the evolution with proper, polite, and carefully considered communication. I urge readers to respond with ideas and best-practices they have seen in their courses or work settings.

For more information visit the Core Rules of Netiquette website.

2 thoughts on “Essentials of Proper Online Etiquette”

  1. Today many educational establishments make talking at the discussion boards on the Internet a compulsory part of educational process. Online activity itself is not graded, but it strongly affect the final grade after the course. It’s hard sometimes for students to keep their Internet language clean from slang and vulgar expressions. As for me, I’ve already got used to speak freely on the Internet, so I’d have to filter my words and double check replies before posting. At the same time, written language sometimes is preferable to better explain your point of view.
    Sarah, from iPhone application development

    1. Sarah,
      Thank you for your post! I think you bring up some excellent points. It seems that as time goes on spoken (or typed) word is evolving with technology. I think that all of us must become cognizant of our word choice and the audience it is directed to.

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