Netiquette: a handy guide for online students

I came across this guide from the LSC (Lake Superior College) wiki of netiquette for their online students.

Update – new location for the (basic) contents of the wiki here: Many thanks to Barry Dahl for this.

Here they are (I have removed one or two as I don’t agree with them, and have put my interpretations at the bottom):

Behind Every Name There is a Person:

  • Respect the privacy of your classmates and what they share in class.
  • Ask classmates for clarification if you find a discussion posting offensive or difficult to understand.
  • Avoid sweeping generalizations. Back up your stated opinions with facts and reliable sources.
  • Understand that we may disagree and that exposure to other people’s opinions is part of the learning experience.
  • Be respectful of each other. We’re all in this together. Before posting a comment, ask whether you would be willing to make the same comment to a person’s face.
  • Keep in mind that everything you write, indeed every click of your mouse is recorded on the network server. On the Internet there are no take backs.
  • Keep in mind that you are taking a college class. Something that would be inappropriate in a traditional classroom is also inappropriate in an online classroom.

Online Communication:

  • Be aware that typing in all capital letters indicates shouting.
  • Be careful with humor and sarcasm. Both can easily be misunderstood!
  • Review all discussion postings before posting your own to prevent redundancy [and repetition].
  • Check your writing for errors by reviewing what you’ve written before submitting it.
  • Acronyms (LOL, etc.) and emoticons (smilies) are commonly used online, but be careful not to overuse them.

Here is the one I changed:


“Many communications with your instructor or fellow students are best handled through email. Only post on the classroom discussion board if the conversation is relevant to others in the class.”


“Many communications with your instructor or fellow students are best handled through the Discussion Boards: please use email if the question is confidential. By posting so everyone can read it, your fellow students can all benefit from your question and the answer.”

Do you have any helpful hints on how you behave online, or what kind of ‘netiquette’ you ask your students to abide by? Please leave a comment and share your knowledge and insight.