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Netiquette Guidelines

With freedom to voice your opinion and personal thoughts on the web comes responsibility. Keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Identify yourself by your real name. Be mindful of your personal safety, and avoid including personal information, such as phone numbers or addresses, in discussion forums. All online communications should be transmitted with the intent to inform, inspire, etc. - not to offend or breach personal privacy. Never use private information about other individuals and be sensitive to the information you share about yourself.
  • Write in the first person (this is your opinion).
  • Use humor, joking, or sarcasm with caution. We often rely on non-verbal cues such as facial expressions to communicate joking or sarcasm; but these cues are not always clear in an online environment. These cues can be simulated with emoticons to reduce misunderstandings.
  • What you write is public—respect your audience and be mindful of proper netiquette. Netiquette, also known as 'net etiquette,' includes using language free of profanity, proper tone and mechanics (including full sentences), as well as courtesy and respect for others' opinions. Instructors may interpret breaches of netiquette as "disruptive behavior."
  • Be Professional, Clear and Respectful. Clear and effective writing translates to clear and effective communication. Writing the way you would speak is a good rule of thumb, use a positive tone and adhere to the same rules you would follow in face-to-face communications. As well, use proper grammar, spelling and formatting - checking all communications before sending. Check messages and respond in a prompt manner. Your professional image is an important part of credibility and all of your communications will factor into the big picture.
  • Read and Formulate Communications Carefully. Take the time to think about the information contained in all of your online communications. This will allow you to thoughtfully consider all points, reduces confusion and prepares you for a valid response. You can in return, research your facts and provide citations for information stated within your communications. This promotes a robust academic environment and adds credibility to any course. Re-read all communications before sending to avoid emotional and or "all capital letter" statements and keep communications meaningful and to the point.
  • Be Tolerant and Cooperative. Keep in mind that every student is participating to learn and anyone can make a simple mistake in research, knowledge or communication. Address the idea/concept, not the person. Keep an open mind and focus on the task at hand - learning. When adverse conditions arise and communications get strained - try to help rather than hinder. True cooperation means working together to the same end - everyone wants to be successful in any given course.
  • Remember, This Course is Online. Your instructor and fellow students may be located around the world or have very different schedules than you do. You may not always receive an immediate response. Make sure you plan for this and don’t put things off until the last moment.
  • Use Proper Headings and Subject Lines. Emails and Discussion Forum topics should have subject lines that reflect the content of your message. “My Week 1 Reflections” is better than “submission” and “Week 3 Reading is Missing” is better than “Help!” Provide Context For Your Responses. If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting be sure you summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just enough text of the original to give a context. This will make sure readers understand when they start to read your response. Giving context helps everyone.
  • Provide Enough Detail in Your Messages. When asking for help, either from your instructor or from technical support, be sure to provide as much information as possible in order to help resolve the issue. Make sure to include the course name and activity name, what you were attempting to do, the full text of error messages and your browser/version information (if a technical issue), a screenshot displaying the problem, and any other relevant information. It may take a little more time up-front to compose your question, but it can help to eliminate some of the back and forth communication.


Courtesy of Humboldt State University



2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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