Course Netiquette & Civility for Online Discussions

Person working on a laptopStudents may come from different cultural backgrounds and have varied ways of interpretation. Some language skills may not be properly perceived by students, such as sarcasm and humor, due to a difference of definition within a culture.

Define civility for your students. For example, you may be comfortable with the use of internet memes and text messaging abbreviated language among your students. If so, let your students know if this is acceptable behavior. If not, let them know as well.

In general, it is best to follow the rules of netiquette, a simple set of rules customary in general use of the internet and helpful in online course environments.  The following list is adapted from DePaul Univeristy, but other similar lists can also be found online.

  • Be polite.
  • Respect other participants’ views or opinions.
  • Think before you write, and ask yourself if you would say the same thing in person.
  • Use positive phrases (i.e., “Good idea!” or “Thanks for the suggestions,” etc.).
  • Be sensitive to cultural differences.
  • Avoid hostile, curt or sarcastic comments.
  • No objectionable, sexist, racist, or politically intolerant language will be accepted.
  • Create a positive online community by offering assistance and support to other participants.
  • Use correct grammar and syntax.

Questions? We can help!

Have questions about online discussions, online teaching (both asynchronous and synchronous), or much more? Please contact the Center for Teaching & Learning through our contact form or by phone at (708) 974-5347.