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Online discussions in support of learning are often utilised in online learning environments. Following netiquette, or internet etiquette, is important for online discussions to be fit-for-purpose and promote both your learning and studying as well as that of your fellow students.

Varying styles of writing

In online learning environments, people consciously vary their style of writing depending on the purpose:

  • In informal discussion forums, the discussion is comparable to conversation, which makes spelling less important.
  • In texts associated with learning assignments and course completion, the written language and spelling must be of good quality. Any exceptions to this general rule are indicated in the instructions related to the assignment.

Do not offend

All online discussion and email communication must comply with the rules of good communication.

Discussions focus on the matter at hand, avoiding any kind of offensive or personal remarks. At times, particular discussion topics or styles of communication may arouse strong feelings. You should not write messages or comments in a very emotional state, as you will usually regret such posts later on.

Interpreting written text

Written text can be interpreted in ways that differ from the writer’s intention, which is why it is particularly important to pay attention to your mode of expression. Matter-of-fact, clear, concise and well-structured text is the easiest to interpret as intended.

Unnecessary meandering and deviations from the matter at hand should be avoided. Write in lower case, since CAPITAL LETTERS are usually interpreted as yelling. Bold-faced text can be used for emphasis, while smileys can make it easier to interpret your message.

Inappropriate messages can be deleted

All discussion in learning environments is part of studying. Its purpose is to promote learning and boost a positive learning experience throughout individual student groups. 

Messages that are inappropriate, offensive or otherwise violate netiquette can be deleted from discussion forums.

Read more about online etiquette (Student’s digital skills course).

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