Netiquette Rules

Learner Description: These Netiquette Rules are for ESL Adult Learners in a "Cross-Cultural Communication" course at the English Language Institute. These Rules may also serve as guidelines to high school and undergraduate on-line learners.


What is Netiquette?

Netiquette refers to a Set of Rules shared by an on-line community. It is also known as "Etiquette for the Internet." The Rules outline proper behavior and communication in a non face-to-face environment, i.e. online course, e-mail, discussion board, skype, and other electronic means. As the social interactions shift more and more on-line, acquiring "Netiquette Rules" is becoming a very common and valuable skill.

Be Mindful. Be mindful that in on-line communication we no longer have the luxury of non-verbal communication, i.e. tone of voice, facial expressions, proximity, body language, etc., which, in turn, play a very important role in the messages we receive during face-to-face interactions. Be aware that the written language can be interpreted differently.

Be Professional. Use appropriate language and wording, as well as remember to check grammar and spelling. When interacting with classmates, treat them with respect as you would treat your business colleagues. Observe proper greetings, content of your messages, and signatures. Use academic language, i.e., avoid using the sms or any text message style language. Smiling icons are acceptable.

Be Clear and Concise. Keep your discussion threads clear and concise. Give each new forum an appropriate title. Remember to stay focused on the topic. Remember, since non-verbal feedback is not available, the message should be as clear as possible.

Be Aware of "Count to 10 Rule". Avoid posting or responding when angry! Remeber, once you hit the "enter" button, it's gone! When composing an e-mail in frustration, double check those adjectives and adverbs! Save that e-mail but do not send. Come back to it later - you might find yourself re-writing it or deleting it altogether. If pressed for time - at least count to ten!

Be Present. Participation in discussions is a must. Just reading other people's postings is not enough for an effective communication and learning. Being present in an online environment means responding to messages, posting your own questions, and offering your own reflections on the topics.

N-E-T-I-Q-U-E-T-T-E: Main Points

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