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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Building confidence in using online learning forums

1.1 Features of good netiquette

Poor netiquette can stop other participants from responding to you and stifle interaction. This section helps you to avoid poor netiquette by introducing the features of good netiquette.

Activity 2 Identifying good netiquette

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Table 1 lists some aspects that make up good netiquette (Elearning infographics, 2019).

  • Can you identify why these features are important on an online learning forum?
  • Can you think of any more features and why these may also be important?

You can record your thoughts in the blank column.

Table 1 Good netiquette on online forums

Feature of good netiquette Why do you think this feature is important on an online forum?

Reading forum posts thoroughly before you respond

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Avoid responding in capital letters

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Avoid using sarcasm

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Respect other people’s opinions even if you don’t agree with them

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Be kind and respectful

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Be as concise as you can

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Keep an open mind and adopt a forgiving and empathic approach

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Use the terms ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ if you are asking for assistance

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Try to avoid correcting spelling and punctuation errors made by other people on the forum

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
Read your posts before posting to check for errors and the accuracy of your post and consider whether anything could be misinterpreted
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 

Keep to the focus of the thread

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

It is important to consider all of the features identified in Table 1 when reading and contributing to an online forum. By responding to a post, even briefly, you are clearly identifying that it has been read and acknowledging the contribution that someone has made to posting their ideas. It may have taken a lot of time and effort to post and so, as you began to think about in Session 3, it is important to focus on considering the feelings of other contributors when crafting your reply – just as you would in a face-to-face setting. This can then support other participants to contribute further. As you also saw in Session 3, this helps the conversation to flow.

By keeping your posts concise, relevant and to the point, there is more chance that other people will read it all and respond to the points you have made (Vonderwell, 2003, cited in University of Waterloo, no date). It is also useful to read all of the posts in a thread before responding because a question may already have been asked or answered (Elearning infographics, 2019).

Other participants may have posted something that you do not agree with. But by contributing a different view or perspective, respectfully and using constructive language, you can help to further develop the discussion. Constructive discussion like this keeps you open to new ideas (Saint Paul University, no date) which you can acknowledge. Such new ideas may support or challenge the way you think, which is an integral and dynamic part of the learning process.

It is important to remember that, without visual and auditory cues, the content of posts can be misinterpreted. Avoiding the use of capital letters, ambiguous terms, jokes or sarcasm can help to reduce the possibility of this. Think carefully about the language you use. Remember to treat other people on an online learning forum as you would want to be treated yourself.

If you feel particularly strongly about a post, take time to reply (University of Waterloo, no date). It is easy to respond quickly and then regret it. A post might have been written without sufficient thought, or in haste, with the person being unaware of the potential for offence. Everyone can make mistakes! If you have any serious concerns, you could report this to the forum moderator.

In the next section, you will look at some of the barriers that may prevent you, or others, from contributing on an online learning forum.

UOF_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371