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Netiquette is the term used to describe rules of courtesy when using electronic communication. These rules are intended to help us use the medium effectively and considerately. Users might not realize the ways in which they are offending or inconveniencing others because this form of communication is fairly new. The ideas below are intended to help in carrying on an electronic class discussion.

  1. Avoid sending unkind messages. Besides angering others it will reflect poorly on you. Such comments may have the effect of shutting down discussion. When critical comments are called for, try to frame them constructively and tactfully.
  2. Remember that you are addressing a group. Even though you cannot see the group, they will be reading. In order to keep online discussion civil and productive consider these points:
    • Don't say things that you wouldn't say face to face publicly.
    • Don't address comments to an individual unless you want everyone to know what you are telling that person.
    • Don't share personal or confidential information. If you are quoting from something another person has sent you personally, ask their permission first.
    • Read your message before you send it. Once it is out there, you can't change it.
  3. Time is important to electronic communication users. To keep messages short:
    • Include in your reply only that part of a previous message that is relevant. If you are using an automatic reply function, you should cut out portions that are not needed or, when needed for clarity, delete the text and substitute a summary.
    • Use the subject line to identify what your message is about so that readers will know whether it concerns them or not.
    • Keep the length of your message reasonable. If you are citing or quoting long pieces of text it is better to appended them as an attachment.
    • Try to keep to the topic. Introducing side issues or irrelevant postings takes the discussion off message.
    • Use individual e-mail for messages to individuals. Private chats tie up the group list.
  4. Access your electronic discussions regularly. Be sure to read through all the messages that have been posted before you reply. Doing so will avoid your responding to discussions that have become stale or taken another direction and will prevent repeating comments that others have already made.
  5. Humor and sarcasm might be misunderstood because electronic communication does not employ intonation nor show smiles or frowns, (other than the graphic kind).Use these carefully and employ good word choices so that your meaning comes through clearly.
  6. Aim for clarity and readability in your text. Paragraph often, avoid using only capital letters, and stay away from character symbols and conventions that get in the way of visual comfort.
  7. Although electronic communication can be very informal, try for good language usage so that your message comes through rather than your mistakes. Avoid correcting other people's language, however. Try to fully and clearly indicate which message you are responding to instead of presuming that others know what book you are referring to, and the like.

Content on this page has been adapted from Handbook for Instructors on the Use of the Electronic Class Discussion, Ohio State University, by Nancy Chism.

[edit] Other Netiquette frameworks

[edit] Other valuable resources

Other articles about Isaak/Sakai's tools and how instructors can use them:

Core Tools:   Image:Flag blue.png Announcements | Image:Page edit.png Assignments | Image:Lessons-icon.png Lessons | Image:Comments.png Forums | Image:Report.png Gradebook | Image:Folder.png Resources | Image:Calendar.png Schedule | Image:Pencil.png Tests and Quizzes

More Tools:   Image:User comment.png Chat Room | Image:Folder page.png Drop Box | Image:House.png Home | Image:Comment.png Messages | Image:Chart bar.png Statistics | Image:Page world.png Web Content

Related articles:   How to add tools to your course | Using the Text Editor | Manage Groups | Permissions and roles | Contact the CPI for help

This article or section is comprised of content from the WebCT Wiki.
This content was "forked" at one point from the article located at: (or similar title/location) This article has been tagged since Thursday September 16, 2010.
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