Netiquette

What it means to be Online.

Guidelines for Sending Emails

When communicating online via email for professional or academic purposes (this includes emails to your instructor, teaching assistant, or classmates) you should always:

  • Make sure you have a professional email address. Using your college email is your best option.

  • Use professional font such as Times New Roman, not decorative font, and use a size 12 or 14 pt. size. Anything larger could be misconstrued as yelling.

  • Use a clear and descriptive subject line with your name, student ID, class period or course dates (if applicable). The subject “Rhetorical Analysis Essay” is more effective than “heeeeelp!”

  • Use a salutation. Instead of jumping right into your message or saying “hey,” begin with a greeting like “Hello” or “Good afternoon,” and then address your professor by appropriate title and last name, such as “Instructor Xavier” or “Dr. Octavius" and unless specifically invited, don’t refer to them by first name.

  • Treat all instructors with respect, even in email or in any other online communication.

  • Use clear and concise language.

  • Remember that all college level communication should have correct spelling and grammar.

  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you.”

  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS YELLING

  • Limit and in some cases avoid the use of emoticons like :) This is professional communication.

  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or be perceived as offensive.

  • Do your part in solving what you need to solve. If you email to ask something you could look up yourself, you risk presenting yourself as less resourceful than you ought to be. However, if you mention that you’ve already checked the syllabus, asked classmates and looked through old emails from the professor, then you present yourself as responsible and taking initiative. So, instead of asking, “What’s our homework for tonight?” you might write, “I looked through the syllabus and course website for this weekend’s assigned homework, but unfortunately I am unable to locate it.”

  • Be aware of concerns about entitlement. If you appear to demand help, shrug off absences or assume late work will be accepted without penalty because you have a good reason, your instructors may see you as irresponsible or presumptuous. Even if it is true that “the printer wasn’t printing” and you “really need an A in this class,” your email will be more effective if you to take responsibility. Try “I didn’t plan ahead well enough, and I accept whatever policies you have for late work.”

  • Add a touch of humanity. For example, you might comment on something said in class, share information regarding an event the professor might want to know about or pass on an article from your news feed that is relevant to the course. This helps to make the email more friendly and demonstrate your interest in the course.

  • Think before you send the e-mail to more than one person. Does everyone really need to see your message?

  • Be sure you REALLY want everyone to receive your response when you click, “reply all”

  • Be sure that the message author intended for the information to be passed along before you click the “forward” button. Remember that virtual correspondence can be read by anyone so make sure the contents are appropriate.

  • If you include attachments, make sure your recipients can open them.

  • Be careful with personal information (both yours and other’s).

  • End your email with a closing and signature. So instead of concluding with “Sent from my iPhone” or nothing at all, include a signature, such as “Best” or “Sincerely,” followed by your name and return e-mail address which must be professional.

Message Board Netiquette and Guidelines

When posting on the Discussion Board in your online class, you should:

  • Make posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material

  • Take your posts seriously and review and edit your posts before sending

  • Be as brief as possible while still making a thorough comment

  • Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source

  • Be sure to read all messages in a thread before replying

  • Don’t repeat someone else’s post without adding something of your own to it

  • Avoid short, generic replies such as, “I agree.” You should include why you agree or add to the previous point

  • Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own

  • When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way

  • Do not make personal or insulting remarks

  • Be open-minded

Online Course Checklist

When starting a new course here are a few things you should always do first:

  • Review the course syllabus.

  • Make a note of the instructors email and office hours as well as any other contact information provided (Zoom ID).

  • Become familiar with the Instructor's late policy. Every instructor is different!

  • Become familiar with the weight of each assignment so that you can prioritize your time toward heavily weighted assignments. If discussion posts are worth 10% of your grade and papers are worth 30%, you should probably spend more time on writing good papers!

  • Make a note of the deadline for the drop grace period.

  • Make a note of the deadline for withdrawal.

  • Look at the course catalog and see what a passing grade for this course is. In Gordon Rule courses, you must get a C or higher in order to earn credit!