Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! The fall semester is right around the corner and that finds a lot of us opening our computers and wiping the dust off of our syllabi. As I dust mine, I find myself wanting to update what I’ve decided is a rather weak netiquette section.
Netiquette rules are the ground rules for online communications. A blurb on your netiquette expectations is important to add to your syllabus for several reasons, but most importantly it helps create a safe environment for students to share, opine, make mistakes, and learn in the discussion forums.
Mintu-Wimsatt et al.(2010) make a stronger point in their Journal of Online Learning and Teaching article. The authors state that when netiquette standards are not maintained it…
“…may lead to the general ‘failure’ of the discussion component of the entire course and/or for the remainder of the course. Herein lies the importance of having an established classroom etiquette and/or protocol as well as clearly defined consequences” (para 9).
To help us in creating a suitable and effective netiquette clause in our syllabi, Mintu-Wimsatt et al. go on to offer this list for us to reference and adapt for our own usage (JOLT, 2010).
- Do not dominate any discussion. Give other students the opportunity to join in the discussion.
- Do not use offensive language. Present ideas appropriately.
- Be cautious in using Internet language. For example, do not capitalize all letters since this
- suggests shouting.
- Popular emoticons such as ☺ or / can be helpful to convey your tone but do not overdo or
- overuse them.
- Avoid using vernacular and/or slang language. This could possibly lead to misinterpretation.
- Never make fun of someone’s ability to read or write.
- Share tips with other students.
- Keep an “open-mind” and be willing to express even your minority opinion. Minority opinions have
- to be respected.
- Think and edit before you push the “Send” button.
- Do not hesitate to ask for feedback.
- Using humor is acceptable but be careful that it is not misinterpreted. For example, are you being humorous or sarcastic?