5 Netiquette Tips For Online Discussions
In order to be successful in our new reality, where online education is a new but rapidly expanding learning method for many students, it is important to learn how to translate face-to-face discussion skills to the online environment, whether for discussion groups or live chats.
In this EdTick’s guide, we will highlight key online discussion strategies and provide students and educators with Internet etiquette (netiquette) tips to make the most of their virtual teaching and/or learning experience.
What Is The Purpose Of Virtual Discussions And What Are Their Benefits?
The main purpose of online discussions in an eLearning environment is the virtual exchange of knowledge through interaction with classmates and educators. Both students and teachers should treat online discussions as dialogues, rather than classroom assignments.
When participants follow proper netiquette guidelines, digital discussions can greatly improve learners’ critical thinking and writing skills, as well as allow students and teachers to learn from each other.
5 Netiquette Tips For Meaningful Learning Experiences
Miscommunication is a common challenge in digital interactions. The following 5 Internet etiquette tips will help you effectively interact with your classmates and teachers when learning online.
1. Use precise language in online classess
Online academic discussions require professional language and good Internet behaviour. At EdTick we suggest you use appropriate spelling and grammar in these discussions. You should avoid slang as much as possible, as well as emoticons and “texting” styles of writing with too many abbreviations.
Since written communication isn’t supplemented by facial and body language, it is easier to be misinterpreted. By avoiding the use of improper words or phrases, sarcasm, and potentially confusing humour, you will avoid misconceptions.
2. Be precise and justify your opinion
Another netiquette tip is to make sure your messages and opinions are clearly communicated by carefully reviewing them before submitting. You can also try reading aloud what you wrote and seeing if it makes sense.
Keep in mind that you should always try to contribute something valuable to online discussion. When explaining your stance, be as succinct as possible so that your points are not lost in too many words. Structure your paragraphs properly, with each one focusing on a distinct point. At the same time, you should also avoid posting one-dimensional answers that do not contribute to the virtual discussion, such as “I agree”.
3. Recognize and respect a diversity of ideas and opinions
Another element of good behaviour for Internet discussions is striving to hear what others have to say and constantly working to shape your own thoughts—not your peers’. Different perspectives represent new opportunities to learn and respecting a diversity of viewpoints helps everyone participating to deepen their understanding.
A great advantage of online learning is it connects people from all over the world, which might mean that the cultural backgrounds and languages in the classroom might vary significantly. This is why it is important to respect the perspectives which differ from your own.
It is likely that at some point you will disagree with a classmate or educator’s opinion, and this is completely alright. However, what is definitely not appropriate Internet behaviour is being disrespectful and offensive towards others in your disagreement. In contrast, if you are a victim of any insults yourself, try to remain calm and report the incident to your eLearning course instructor.
4. Take the discussion seriously
Even though you should always be eager to participate in the virtual classroom discussions, you should avoid interacting for the sake of getting attention. If you want to be seen as someone who knows what they are talking about, you should make sure you always stay within the scope of the class.
You should also review the content of your messages before submitting them. This way, you will make sure that you communicate what you wanted to. You should also take the time to carefully read your classmates’ comments so that you do not repeat their ideas and add nothing new to discussions.
You should always cite any sources you use. This way you will show you are a respectful and trustworthy student who always follows Internet etiquette.
Finally, for casual social interactions with your peers, check if there is a separate “informal” discussion area in the virtual space.
5. Enjoy the online discussion and be yourself
Online discussion environments can have incredible educational benefits for students that follow netiquette and use discussions as an opportunity to learn from their peers and instructors. In order to get the most out of these discussions, use your time productively and be consistent with your interactions, and always be true to yourself and your opinions, knowledge, and skills. This way you can develop lifelong skills and deepen your understanding of course content.
If you are an educational institution seeking to implement a collaborative learning environment tool such as an online discussion board, we suggest you read our latest EdTick guides and news. You might be expressly interested in Learning Management System (LMS) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)-related content.
Finally, at EdTick we also provide you with a large list of educational tools which enable you to compare the benefits and features of the tools that your institution wants to use. Use our EdTech-specialised search engine and book demos in EdTech you are most interested in before making the final decision.