Netiquette is an abbreviation for "internet etiquette" – more simply put, guidelines for communicating online to ensure meaningful and polite exchanges. The common standards listed below work well for both the online classroom and beyond in professional online communication:

  • Behavior. Maintain the same standard of behavior and ethics that you would follow in a face-to-face context.
  • Tone. Treat others with respect. Be mindful of your tone and how that is conveyed in your writing style. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS. It is considered shouting and not appropriate in a classroom. Avoid sarcasm and irony, as they are easily misinterpreted in an online environment.
  • Clarity and Content. Be succinct. Write, reread, and then post. Carefully consider what you have written. Does it make sense? Is it free from errors? Does is add to the conversation? Is it unnecessarily confrontational or offensive?
  • Contribute. Online learning is not passive. It is expected that you will share your knowledge and insight. Be an active contributor to the learning community.
  • Be forgiving. If someone makes a mistake or does something inappropriate, address it privately and politely. You can always let the instructor know and ask her/him to address it as well.

Guidelines are based on The Core Rules of Netiquette, excerpted from the book, Netiquette, by Virginia Shea.