Online “Netiquette” Guidelines All Students Should Know

               -the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
              -the correct or acceptable way of communicating on the Internet


There’s a time and a place for everything—BUT IN MOST SITUATIONS TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS INAPPROPRIATE. Most readers tend to perceive it as shouting and will have a hard time taking what you say seriously, no matter how intelligent your response may be. If you have vision issues—there are ways to adjust how text displays so you can still see without coming across as “yelling.”

2. Sarcasm can (and will) backfire

Sarcasm has been the source of plenty of misguided arguments online, as it can be incredibly difficult to understand the commenter’s intent. What may seem like an obvious joke to you could come across as off-putting or rude to those who don’t know you personally.  As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid sarcasm all together in an online classroom.

3. Attempt to find your own answer

For questions related to class structure such as due dates or policies, refer to your syllabus or take a closer look at the top of your course home page.  Relatively simple questions can usually be answered within seconds—which saves everyone time. If your questions remain unanswered after a bit of effort, feel free to bring them up with your instructor. Always keep in mind that asking a question that is clearly within the instructions will only tell your teacher that you are not fully reading the instructions.

4. Stop … grammar-time!

Always make an effort to use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Trying to decipher a string of misspelled words frustrates the reader and distracts from the point of your message. Take the time to spell check any message you send and save everyone the headache. Also, always write properly, discussion forums are not text messages and should never be written out like one.
On the other hand, it’s important to be reasonable about others’ grammar mistakes. Nobody likes the grammar police scolding a classmate because he or she used “your” instead of “you’re”. If a classmate makes a simple mistake in a message that is otherwise coherent, give them a break.

5. Don’t get cute with text colors

While it may be tempting to write all messages in neon green, whoever is reading it may not appreciate it as much as you. Stick to the basic black text color—if you need to emphasize something in your sentence use bold or italicized words. This will help ensure everyone can easily read your message without acquiring a headache. (See how hard this was to read compared to the others!)

6. Brevity rules

Keep email messages short and to the point.  You don’t need to share your life story to ask for help with a problem—just focus on the essential information. This will ensure your question doesn’t get lost in the noise and saves time for everyone involved.

7. Don’t over share

Personal information is valuable to identity thieves, so try not to share more than is necessary. We’re not suggesting your classmates are criminals, but it’s good practice in general to be guarded when it comes to personal information.  If you feel your teacher is asking you to give information that you are not comfortable sharing with the teacher or the class please talk to that teacher or talk to the online coordinator, Gina Pavlovich (

8. Be kind

Communicating online is unique in that there tends to be a level of anonymity between the people who are interacting. This sometimes results in individuals being more impolite than they might be in person. In an online class, you might not have the complete anonymity that comes with using a screen name, but you likely won’t see your classmates face-to-face. Make a point to be respectful in your comments—even if you disagree or dislike someone’s stance on a topic.

Special Thanks to Will Erstad from Rasmussen College
For his full article please visit:


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