What is it?

The word netiquette (short for ‘net etiquette’) refers to the dos and don’ts of online communication. Although the rules of online communication are similar to those for face-to-face conversation, there are important differences too. Noncompliance of netiquette rule use can be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. Watch the video below to learn about several writing and behavioural practices that foster a positive online environment (Watchtime: 5.30 mins).

By MDC Virtual College

Guidelines for practising course netiquette

The rules of etiquette that apply when communicating online are different from those that apply when communicating in person. It cannot be assumed that students automatically know how to communicate in an online environment. Many students have developed very informal digital communication habits through their use of text messaging and social media such as Viber and Facebook. Thus, it is crucial that teachers model proper netiquette and academic standards in ODFL courses. (Please go through CS4ODFL netiquette if you have not already done so.)

Virginia Shea (1994) in her book entitled ‘Netiquette’ has described ten core rules for guiding appropriate academic student behaviour in online contexts.

Fundamental Netiquette Rule Adopted from Virginia Shea (1994)

The above rules are general guidelines of how you could moderate academic netiquette in ODFL contexts. Student interactions using netiquette encourage social connections, community building, and trust between course participants. It promotes a safe, engaging, respectful, and collaborative group where diversity of opinion is valued. However, learning environments can differ greatly, from the level of the students involved and the course learning outcomes to geographical differences which might influence how students communicate with each other. As such, you will need to take all these into account when setting out rules and moderating netiquette in your course(s). You may want to encourage students to discuss these rules with each other and agree to them at the start of the course.

Module 1 has highlighted on the role of inclusive and equitable communication practices, teaching presence, and course netiquette for successful Open, Distance and Flexible Learning (ODFL) delivery. A successful ODFL facilitation will ensure that learners are not left out, there is consistent and productive communication between the teacher and the learners, and mutual respect in the ODFL environment. This directs us to understand the ODFL communication ecosystem, which we will look at in detail in Module 2.


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