Student: What is "Netiquette"?

You will learn about "netiquette" and how the basic rules of appropriate online behavior are an essential requirement for building a community of online learners within a given course.

The term Netiquette basically covers which behaviors are considered socially polite in an online/internet/social network situation. Politeness when interacting with an instructor and fellow students is essential to avoiding miscommunications, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Below are 10 rules adapted to the online course situation from the website for the book Netiquette by Virginia Shea and other sources referenced at the bottom of this guide.

word group about netiquette

graphic source: emaze.com

1. Remember the human.

Before writing a rash response to someone, put yourself in the other person's shoes. Would you be offended if you were to receive such a post, email, or message?

The receiver of your message only has the text (in a text message) or text (and maybe images/video) in a discussion forum post. They do not see your body language or facial expressions to help them interpret your meaning (unless you are communicating via Skype, Facetime, or other video medium). In everyday communications, non-verbal language (body, facial) may account for a significant portion of our communication of meaning.

Remember, any message you send can be saved or forwarded by the recipient. Once, you send an email or submit a forum post, you have no control over where it goes from there.

Remember the human.

2. Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life.

Although at times, the internet can seem anonymous, it truly is not. If you encounter an ethical dilemma online, follow the same code you would if the interaction were face to face. Breaking the law is bad netiquette.

Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life.

3. Know where you are in cyberspace.

Spreading rumors and gossip may be perfectly fine amongst your Facebook or social media friends; however, it is not an acceptable behavior within a course's discussion forum or blog.

Know where you are in cyberspace.

4. Respect other people's time.

Being considerate of your instructor's and other students' time by being concise and to the point with any forum posts or email messages.

Respect other people's time.

5. Make yourself look good online.

Within discussion forums and in online courses, you are judged not by how you look but by what you write. So, take the time to proof read your comments before you post them. Know what you are talking about and make sense.

Using language appropriate to the classroom is also appropriate for an online course. Discussions should remain academic in nature.

Make yourself look good online.

6. Share expert knowledge.

Part of the beauty of the internet is that users can readily share their knowledge and experience with each other. So in an online course, you can work together with your classmates and teacher to build a community of learning to the benefit of all. If a classmate has a question which you can answer, please join in and share.

Share expert knowledge.

7. Help keep flame wars under control.

The online classroom is a space for discussion and learning, not for angry words and uncontrolled rhetoric.

Argue the issue, not the person.

Help keep flame wars under control.

8. Respect other people's privacy.

The names and email addresses of your classmates is information that should not be shared with individuals outside of the class unless permission is given.

Respect other people's privacy.

9. Don't abuse your power.

If you have more knowledge, skill, or experience than a fellow student at using TITANium, creating PowerPoints, video, PDFs, etc. do not take advantage of that person. Everyone has differing levels of skill with computers, the Internet, and social networks.

Don't abuse your power.

10. Be forgiving of other people's mistakes.

We all started out as newbies on the Internet and in online courses. Be patient of other student's (and teacher's) mistakes in participating in an online course.

Be forgiving of other people's mistakes.

Article Summary

You have now learned some basics about Netiquette - proper social behavior in your online course.

To learn more about Etiquette in technology, such as Cell phone etiquette and SMS language see wikipedia.org.  

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