Online Etiquette

Communicating as an online student is a bit different than in a face-to-face setting. Because you are usually missing body language cues and immediate feedback from others, it is very important to understand some common rules for good online etiquette, often called "netiquette."

Common Netiquette Rules

  • DON'T SHOUT. In an online environment, typing in all caps is often perceived as shouting.
  • Keep a respectful tone. Make a point to be kind and respectful in your comments, even when you disagree with someone.
  • Use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Don't frustrate others by making them have to decipher a poorly written statement.
  • Be careful with humor and sarcasm. What may seem like an obvious joke to you could come across as rude to someone else. As a general rule, it’s usually best to avoid sarcasm altogether in an online course.
  • Don't post inappropriate material, even in private. What gets posted online, generally stays online.
  • Be forgiving. If you are offended by something someone says online, remember that you may have misunderstood their intentions. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Email Etiquette

  • Follow the same rules as above.
  • Include course information when talking about something that pertains to a specific course. This includes the subject and section number.
  • Be descriptive. Make sure you use enough detail so your instructor knows exactly what you are asking or requesting.
  • Include your name and student ID number.