Netiquette for Remote Instruction

All Brooklyn College and CUNY policies apply to students, including but not limited to the Sexual Misconduct Policy, whether the behavior occurs on campus, off campus, or virtually. Questions or concerns can be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator, Michelle Vargas, by e-mail or by calling 718.951.4128.

Netiquette in an Online Academic Setting: A Guide for Brooklyn College Students

Online Learning Environment at Brooklyn College

This guide is meant to introduce you to an essential aspect of the online learning experience—netiquette or etiquette on the internet. Netiquette is essential for students to understand because course participation is documented by students’ postings on course discussion boards, online chat rooms, and other virtual spaces. These spaces must maintain an academic atmosphere and, therefore, students should learn how to write and behave online in a manner consistent with academic excellence.

Whether you are new to online learning, completed online course work in the past, or have experience posting in online discussion boards, review this guide carefully and thoroughly before posting.

Why Netiquette?

Remember that the online classroom is still a classroom and it is used to foster a positive learning environment for everyone. Treat others how you want to be treated. Be kind, be patient, have compassion. We are all adults who want to do our best. How a person behaves online reflects one’s willingness to learn, seriousness, and motivation both as a student and as an individual.

What Is Netiquette?

As mentioned on the introduction, netiquette is etiquette on the internet. Several points are valuable to keep in mind when posting on course discussion boards.

  • Remember the human on the other side of the line. While the text posted on discussion boards seems to be attached to ambiguous usernames of people who we may not have met or don’t interact with regularly in person, it is very important to remember that those usernames belong to real people with real minds, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Using the Golden Rule “Treat people the way in which you want to be treated” is as true as ever, especially in an online learning environment. Consider carefully before posting: “Would I say what I wrote to the other person’s face?”
  • Think before you post. Is your post relevant to the topic on the discussion board? Will your post give an accurate representation of your academic abilities with consideration to the course that you are taking? Is your post written clearly with proper grammar and spelling? If you answered yes to the above questions, then your post is highly likely to create a positive academic discussion favored by students and the instructor.

Dos and Don’ts of Netiquette in an Academic Setting

Below is a list of dos and don’ts applicable to course discussion boards and other aspects of the virtual course environment.

Suggestions for Posting to Discussion Boards, Chats, Blogs, and Wikis

  • Post in a manner that reflects your preparation, motivation, and knowledge of the course content.
  • Post messages relevant to the discussion topic thread.
  • Post messages that make a positive and intellectual contribution.
  • Post messages that contribute to a civilized debate.
  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Don’t take a discussion thread off-topic.
  • Don’t double-post. If possible, edit your post instead of adding one post after another by yourself.
  • Don’t plagiarize. Ask your instructor or academic adviser for more details about plagiarism, or alternatively you may read the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy.

Spelling and Grammar

  • Write complete and coherent sentences with proper punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.
  • Use italics to emphasize a point.
  • Write in a manner that reflects your command of the English language as well as your competence of course content.
  • Don’t use all caps when posting a message. Messages posted in all caps are interpreted as shouting and are considered very rude and inappropriate. Use italics instead in selected areas of your text to emphasize an important point on your message.
  • Don’t write incoherent or run-on sentences, or drop punctuation or capitalization.
  • Don’t use internet acronyms (e.g., lol, omg)
  • Don’t use abbreviations, (e.g., “u” for you, “ne1” for anyone)
  • Don’t swear or use curse words.

Under No Circumstances

Under no circumstances, start or contribute to flame wars or flame other students or the instructor. Flame wars are disruptive posts often revolving around two or more individuals. The posts may contain anger, resentment, incivility, personal attacks, or a combination thereof. Flame wars disrupt the learning process and may make other students uncomfortable. If other persons start a flame war on a discussion board ,do not reply or post on the topic.

A Final Reminder

The content posted by students on course discussion boards, chat rooms, blogs, and wikis is used by instructors to determine the level at which a student is achieving and how serious the student is towards their studies. Make every opportunity to give an excellent impression and follow the standards of netiquette as applicable to an academic setting explained above.

The above guide, updated March 20, 2020, is adapted from the CUNY School of Professional Studies Catalog and Student Handbook.

Brooklyn. All in.