Your Comprehensive Guide to eLearning "Netiquette"
written by Rya de Guzman
As much as there are etiquette rules when communicating with teachers and classmates in face-to-face classroom settings, there are also “netiquette codes” for online discussions. While you may be able to see certain cues such as body language and tone when communicating in person, these may not translate well in written emails and chats. This netiquette guide will make sure your message is conveyed and received correctly.
Be On Time
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Punctuality is even more important for online meetings because we are working in the absence of normal checks to ensure everybody’s attendance. Be responsible and schedule your day effectively.
Integrate the calendar app or a scheduler like Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar on your mobile device that will remind you 15 minutes ahead of time or some other increment of time that works best for you.
Sometimes we can’t control the noise no matter how quiet your space was initially. You can easily mute your audio to prevent interrupting your class. You can even do it for the whole duration of being in an environment where it is impossible to find a quiet place. You can inform your instructor in a private chat about your situation.
Like in a classroom setting, it is important to take down notes, especially if your teacher is imparting important details and information. It may be time-consuming to check the recording of the video later. It helps to be on the look-out during a class for what you need to know to complete the next assignment well.
Pay Attention and Focus
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There are a lot of distractions and temptations that can take your focus away from the lessons you are taking. Opening social media apps or talking to someone around you are great examples of this. However, you should show respect to the learning process, your teachers, and your classmates by staying engaged with your class. Focusing your attention on the screen is a good way to show your instructor that you are participating.
Do Ask Questions
Your teachers are also adjusting to the new medium of communication just like you are. Asking them questions that have occurred to you along the way will help ease this process. Just make sure not to do it when your teacher is in the middle of an explanation or a thought. You can jot down the question to remind yourself to ask it later on. Asking questions also benefits the whole class since there are those who may have the same questions as you do.
Remember that your classmates and teachers are real people who are affected by the words you say and write. Keep in mind the feelings and opinions of other people even if they differ from your own. If you do not say it personally, do not do it online either.
Watch Out For Strong Language
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As written language lacks the support of facial or voice communication clues, it can be easily misinterpreted. Avoid the use of strong words and make it a habit to read aloud everything you want to post before you send it.
Use Humor and Sarcasm Carefully
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Although you shouldn’t avoid being funny and showing your personality, you have to make sure that you are not being rude. Sarcasm and humor can cause misunderstandings and tension. Emoticons and smileys can be helpful when conveying humor or sarcasm for it to be received appropriately. After all, some teachers can be exceptionally funny. Just remember not to include emojis in your academic papers.
Take Your Posts Seriously
Posting for the sake of it wastes other people’s time. Always remember to add something new to the conversation and not to repeat something that has already been said. Try to stay on topic to prevent irrelevant topics from confusing your peers. If you are looking for social interaction, see if there is an off-topic discussion area in your online forum.
Proper Grammar And Spelling Matter
Texting is great in casual conversations with friends, but you should remember to keep your language formal in an educational setting. Your written communication reflects on you after all. Take note of typos, spelling errors, and mixed-up sentences. Try to avoid slang words as much as possible. Avoid the usage of all capital letters as this is regarded as shouting and can be annoying.
Proofread Before Hitting Submit
Once you send your comment, there is no taking it back. Make sure to check the content of your message before sending it out. Before replying to a question, make sure you carefully read all the comments your peers have already posted, no matter how many they are. Double-check to make sure you have explained yourself as clearly as you can and that it does not cause a misunderstanding.
Explain and Justify Yourself
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When making a thorough comment, be as brief as possible. If you have several points you want to develop, post them individually in more than one focused message rather than contain them in a long wordy paragraph.
Control Your Temper
You may be respectful, but others may not. Not everyone knows these rules like you do. It may be easy to get angry when being personally attacked on the internet. However, you will not win any argument if you lose your temper. Remember to take a deep breath and count to ten. Take a break away from your computer if needed. Clear your head before replying. This way you can make more rational and coherent responses.
Protect Your Credibility
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Try not to mislead people when replying to a question. If you are not 100% sure of your answer, make sure to indicate it in your response. If you are sharing from a website, book, blog, journal, etc., make sure to cite your source. Giving credit where credit is due when referencing other sources is a sign of being respectful, responsible, and trustworthy online discussion participation.
Keep Up With Assignments
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In a way, you have increased levels of responsibility when you are learning on your own. It may be tempting to put off assignments multiple days before the due date. However, this can create backlogs, giving you less time to work on the incoming assignments. Avoid stress by being constantly productive. Set up a routine for yourself that will ensure you finish your assignments on time. Give yourself breaks and micro-goals to keep you motivated.
Check Your Inbox Regularly
Your teachers may send your assignments, instructions, and links to online meetings through email. Although they try to keep you updated with their schedule, it may be possible for them to experience disruptions that require them to reschedule. Checking your email regularly makes sure you are able to receive these notices in a timely manner.
Your teacher may also clarify something that was misunderstood or said incorrectly in the online session through an email. If you don’t check your email before doing your assignment, you may encounter difficulties that could have been easily avoided.
Netiquette, Extended Etiquette
Netiquette with online learning goes beyond the usual etiquette expected from us in a traditional classroom set up. While communication is definitely made easier and more accessible with online learning, it is also more prone to misinterpretation without social cues such as tone and body language to go by.
You should always remember to practice proper online etiquette and respect the persons you are communicating with. It helps to be mindful of your online presence and language. Also make sure to stay on top of schedules and deadlines. Don’t forget these tips when you’re starting out your first online class!
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