What does Netiquette mean?

Netiquette is the use of good manners in online communication.

During your college career, you will likely communicate online with your classmates and your instructor.  They can also communicate with you. This communication is just as important, or maybe more so, as your face-to-face communication since the other person cannot read your body language and the tone of your message.  It is important to think about the message you are sending.

Let's talk about online etiquette. Etiquette just means proper behavior. It's something we should practice in real life and online. To help you help yourself, here are five tips to consider when working online:

Tip 1: Keep your tone appropriate.

We all know what it's like to receive a text message from someone that sounds mean. Maybe they didn't mean it that way, but it's nearly impossible to detect emotions through writing. When messaging classmates or instructors or participating in discussions for your online course(s), keep that weakness in mind. Make sure you re-read what you write to ensure that it conveys the tone you meant to share. You might even have someone else read it too. When in doubt, leave it out.

Tip 2: Act like you would in real life.

Kindness matters. So do capital letters and proper grammar:) If you know there's a way you shouldn't behave in real life, make sure not to act that way online, either. If your behavior is questionable, be aware that your teacher and administrators can pull your activity online with the click of a button. Make yourself and your school proud by maintaining your online reputation.  

Tip 3: Ensure yourself some privacy.

What should be posted online? The good news about being enrolled in this course is that only your classmates and teachers have access to your discussion posts. We don't have to worry about sneaky people seeing what we post. However, if you're in a discussion forum, for example, and you want to share a real-life story about something that happened to you, be aware of giving too many details or embarrassing another person who might have been involved.

Tip 4: Respect yourself and others.

Be aware that the Student Code of Conduct (Links to an external site.) (page 315) of the Student Handbook and Catalog applies to all students, whether online or face-to-face. Lewd, indecent, pornographic, obscene behavior or expression is not tolerated. (This offense includes the use of verbal or symbolic expressions, which could be interpreted as insulting to one’s race, gender, religion, national origin, or disability.)

Tip 5: Be Respectful.

Every day may feel like a casual Friday in an online classroom where you don’t see anyone in person, but a certain level of formality is still expected in your communication with instructors.  In addition to proper punctuation and spelling, it’s good netiquette to use respectful greetings and signatures, full sentences, and even the same old “please” and “thank you” you use in real life.

This is by no means a complete list of etiquette guidelines.  For additional information, visit Netiquette 101, Your guide to online etiquette.