Netiquette for students – Considerations when starting

  • Be prepared to participate!
  • Be polite and be professional. Act at the level appropriate for your status as a (beginning) professional and academic.
  • Treat every person with courtesy, and respect regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, social background, disability, sexual preference, or religious beliefs and customs.
  • Be respectful of others’ views and opinions, and sensitive to differences.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate the breadth of experience and intellectual resources that people from diverse backgrounds bring to the University. Promote awareness, understanding and acceptance regarding the differences that exist between cultural groups.
  • Share knowledge. Ask and answer questions. Encourage and support your peers. Challenge ideas, without resorting to personal attacks, and allow your own ideas to be challenged.
  • Be aware of the impact your posts can have on others.

Purpose and content of posts

  • Discussion boards can be used for a variety of different purposes as part of your course. Refer to your course outline for expectations on the specific content of posts.
  • Should your posts directly respond to weekly course tasks? Do your posts form part of an assessment task? If so, refer to the course outline or assessment task rubric for guidelines on standards and criteria.
  • A discussion board is public, visible to course staff and fellow students. Unrelated topics, personal communication, or extended 1-1 conversations don’t belong on the discussion board.
  • Stay on topic, or start (or request) another thread. If appropriate, send a private message or email instead. If there is something you want to say that you’re not sure is suitable for public display, then don’t post it.
  • Be concise. Encourage others to read your posts by making them brief and to the point. Posts are usually longer than a single line of text – but shouldn’t be longer than necessary to communicate the essentials. Refer to your course outline for direction on expectations regarding the word length of posts and other communication guidelines.
  • Think about the reader. Change the subject line when replying to reflect the content of your post. (Why should others want to read this post, what new information have you contributed?) In your posts, try summarizing or quoting the specific content or idea to which you are responding.
  • Do your homework. Read other contributions before you post, so you’re not repeating the same ideas when the conversation has already moved on.
  • Add value to the conversation. Don’t just agree or disagree, but consider what will your post add to the discussion? Edit out irrelevant information.
  • Don’t necessarily respond immediately to other posts (especially if you are in a hurry, frustrated or annoyed). Take some time to reflect on the conversation, research, prepare and review your posts.
  • Where next? Will your comments discourage further conversation or help it to move forward? Don’t be judgmental or simply dismiss other people’s ideas. Do offer criticisms and challenges. Refrain from inappropriate language and derogatory or personal attacks. Never insult, demean, harass or embarrass others.