Your guide to online “netiquette”

In class, you may raise your hand before speaking, but what are some of those invisible rules in the digital classroom space? Here are some quick tips to keep in mind next time you are composing an email to a classmate or professor, writing an essay (or writing anything for that matter), and learning online.

No. 1: Show respect online in the same way you would in class! Before you hit “enter” make sure you re-read what you’ve written—would you say the same thing in person? If not, consider rewording.

No. 2: Get in the habit of practicing proper email structure. Your emails should contain an introduction or greeting, a clear communication in the body, the type of response you are requesting, and a conclusion. For more guidance, check out this great Grammarly blog post.

No. 3: Look before you ask! Faculty members are working quickly to convert information online. Before you send questions, check the syllabus or recent emails to see if that information is already available.  

No. 4: Mind your grammar. It's easy to post to discussion boards or respond to emails like text messages, but that isn't necessarily putting your best foot forward. Online classrooms are still classrooms. Need some help with writing? Reach out to Sharon Breitenstein, director of the Burton Center for Student Success and the Ratchford Writing Center.

No. 5: It’s not only what you say, but how you say it. The proper word for this is “tone.” We've all found ourselves in a situation where a joke or sarcasm didn't read well in writing—consider that as you submit written responses.  

No. 6: AVOID ALL CAPS. Pretty jarring, huh? Nobody wants to be yelled at and it never helps get your point across. Avoid writing in caps pretty much 100 percent of the time.

No. 7: Do your best to be patient and understanding. Keep in mind that none of us signed up for the semester that we are finding ourselves in, but everyone is doing the best they can. If programs or technologies aren’t working, please be patient.  

At the end of the day, don’t worry about being perfect on the first try. Keep these tips in mind and spend some time honing your digital communications skills­­­­­. We know you’ve got this!

By Hannah FinkelsteinMarch 26, 2020
Campus LifeAcademics