Etiquette is about good manners, honesty, and integrity, and since these courses are on the Internet it is commonly referred to as Netiquette. The information below will provide you with the rules of Netiquette that will be insisted upon for your online classes.
You should also click here to view the Student Guidebook. This page contains information on student behavior, student conduct, and plagiarism.
Everyone needs to understand proper and improper communications with others using the Internet. In her book Netiquette, Virginia Shea’s first rule of Netiquette is “Remember the Human,” and that’s an important point. When communicating electronically, it’s easy to forget that you are still communicating with other human beings, with real human feelings, and that’s something that we all need to remember. Remember that written words may be taken quite differently than the spoken word. There is no tone of voice in typed text, so if you think someone might misunderstand what point your are making, take a little time and be careful with the wording and maybe even use the little smiley face to show you are not being sarcastic or mean. 🙂 The little smiling or frowning faces 🙁 formed from symbols on the keyboard are the only non-verbal elements we have in the virtual classroom, and icons are a poor substitute for the complexities of verbal communication. 🙁
Studies have shown that people tend to be less inhibited when communicating electronically than when communicating in person, and sometimes the lack of inhibition can lead to rudeness and a disregard for the feelings of others. Therefore, a good general rule of netiquette is never to say anything to anyone via electronic communication that you would not say in person. We can express our views with care and do it politely, even when we disagree with the ideas of others.
There is another important reason to be polite when communicating on the Internet. We all have probably said something to others that we later regretted. Perhaps we were angry and blurted out how we felt at the time, only to realize later that we may have over-reacted, misunderstood or behaved inappropriately. It’s usually easy to learn from such incidents and then to put them behind us. Unlike words spoken in anger, though, angry words sent electronically have a way of hanging around. Even if you delete a nasty message you sent to someone else, maybe as a way to make yourself feel a little better, whomever received your angry message will still have a copy of it, and it’s hard to forget the angry words of others when we can reread them anytime. Another general rule of electronic communication is never to send a message to someone else if you are angry at the recipient of the message. Give yourself some time to cool down, and you’ll probably end up finding that you don’t need to send the nasty message after all.
Keep in mind the kind of communication you want to receive from others and compose your message with this in mind.
In order to maintain a positive virtual classroom, we all need to follow the netiquette guidelines summarized below. All students are expected to:
- show respect for the instructor and for other students in the class
- respect the privacy of other students
- express differences of opinion in a polite and rational way
- maintain an environment of constructive criticism when commenting on textual information, image postings, and critiques
- complete all assignments on time
- work cooperatively with other students on assignments that require collaboration, even when differences of opinion arise
- avoid bringing up irrelevant topics when involved in group discussions or other collaborative activities
The following list summarizes the kind of behavior that will not be tolerated. Each item listed below may be grounds for removal from the class.
Students should not
- Show disrespect for the instructor or for other students in the class
- Send messages or comments that are threatening, harassing, or offensive
- Use inappropriate or offensive language
- Convey a hostile or confrontational tone when communicating or working with other students
If you feel that a student is violating any of the above guidelines or behaving inappropriately in any way, contact your instructor to discuss the situation as soon as possible.
Always give an E-Mail message a title and place it on the “SUBJECT” line and give a little information about what the message is concerning. Be sure and put your name in your E-Mail.
When you send e-mail, please type the name of the class and the subject. This helps to organize and manage e-mail messages, which in turn helps the instructor respond to your messages more promptly.
Another reason to give your e-mail messages the title + class number + subject is that a virus can infect your computer and automatically send e- mail messages to everyone in your address book, giving the appearance that you have sent the messages. Using the same title for each e-mail message could help reduce the possibility of an e-mail virus spreading from your computer to someone else’s computer.
When you send an e-mail message to anyone in the class–to anyone at all, for that matter–you should always include a brief summary of the content of your message in the subject line of the message.
Respond to E-Mail Messages Promptly
Responding promptly to e-mail messages is important. Instructors try to respond to e-mail messages within 24 hours, but situations may arise that cause it to take more than 24 hours to respond.
You should also try to respond promptly to all e-mail messages you receive from other students in the class. If someone sends you an e-mail message, he or she is most likely anxiously awaiting your response.
Use, Don’t Abuse, E-Mail
Unlike class discussions in Blackboard, which can be read by all students, e-mail in the class is “private,” between only the individuals listed. As the course progresses, you may find that there are certain individuals in the class whom you enjoy communicating with in this way, without the entire class able to eavesdrop on your conversations.
However, we need to make sure that no one receives unwanted e- mail messages from other students. If you receive unwanted messages, perhaps messages that you consider harassing, threatening, or offensive, please e-mail the instructor immediately.
There is a certain amount of anonymity associated with electronic communication, and this anonymity may cause people to reveal more information about themselves than they would in person. However, I would suggest that all students be careful about how much private information they divulge to others.
You are responsible for determining how much and what kind of information about yourself you wish to reveal to other members of the class, and neither John A. Logan College nor the instructor can assume responsibility for any consequences resulting from students divulging private information to other students. I don’t mean to scare anyone with these comments. I assume that all students will behave appropriately and that no problems will arise. Just be careful about opening up your private life too much…
Students should not expect their classmates to reveal private information about themselves. If you feel that someone else in the class is trying to get this kind of information by pressure or deceit, make sure to contact your instructor immediately.