Building confidence in using online learning forums
Building confidence in using online learning forums

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Building confidence in using online learning forums

1 Netiquette

Many online learning spaces operate with codes of conduct and particular guidelines. Becoming familiar with these is vital if you are to get the most out of being a member of any online group which uses an online learning forum. In addition, there are commonly held principles which are seen to constitute good online behaviour. These are collectively referred to as netiquette (net etiquette).

Although the basic principles of good ‘netiquette’ are similar to the features of good communication in face-to-face settings, there can be differences. This is because you can’t respond in the same way through using visual or auditory cues, as you saw in Session 3.

In the first activity, you will look in more detail at netiquette and consider why it is important.

Activity 1 What is netiquette and why is it important?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

First, watch the video below and then answer the following questions.

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Transcript: Video 1


Most of us are familiar with society's guidelines, known as etiquette. Online communication has its own rules and guidelines for etiquette. These are often referred to as netiquette. Keep these rules in mind for any kind of online communication, including email, discussion board posts, and other online contact with your classmates or instructor.
First, avoid abbreviations that you might use when texting or on Facebook, like talk to you later, laugh out loud, or other abbreviations. Not everyone knows what these mean, and even if they do, avoiding them will help communicate more clearly what you really mean. Second, make use of the subject line. Imagine walking into a library where none of the books have titles on the covers. You would have to open every book until you found what you were looking for. If you don't give your post a subject line, viewers will have to open your post to see what you've said. So always give readers a clue about what's inside.
Third, it's important to know that all caps is like yelling at someone. You probably wouldn't yell at your classmates during an in-class discussion, so please avoid doing it online. Next, be careful with joking or sarcasm. Since these frequently rely on nonverbal facial cues or tone, they often do not come across very well in online communication.
That post you made was totally sick.


It's easy for someone to misunderstand your meaning or even become offended because they couldn't tell that you were joking. Finally, be frugal with exclamation points. Overusing these gives a much greater sense of urgency to your message than it likely deserves. Plus, it can make you seem like you're yelling or that you lack maturity as a writer. By keeping these simple guidelines in mind and remembering why we hold discussions, you can help make your online course a truly meaningful experience for everyone involved. Now go discuss something.
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Video 1
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  • What is netiquette?
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  • Why is it important in online communication?
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There are several different features of good netiquette and this video identifies just a few of them. You may well be aware of other features that constitute good online netiquette. It will be useful for you to reflect continuously on the different aspects of netiquette as you work through this session.


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