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.

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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 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 discussion post, you have no control over where it goes from there.

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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.

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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 or blog.

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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.

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5. Make yourself look good online.

Within discussions 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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9. Don't abuse your power.

If you have more knowledge, skill, or experience than a fellow student at using Canvas, 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.

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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 students' (and teachers') mistakes in participating in online courses.

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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.