To participate better and gain the most from online classes, you need to adhere to online class etiquette. Though the other learner or teacher might not be physically present with you, there is a great need to master the art of proper communication in online classrooms. This sort of mastery can be achieved by knowing, understanding, and keeping to online class etiquette.
In this article, we’ve enlisted expert guidelines on what you should and should not do in an online classroom. See the table of contents below.
What Is Online Class Etiquettes?
Online class etiquettes are a set of essential rules, norms, and guidelines for interacting in an online class. They guide the conduct of online learners in an online class.
Importance of Online Class Etiquettes
Students of any age can act up whether online or in person, and either way, the behavior has to be moderated to have a productive classroom. Otherwise, you may have users sending inappropriate messages, using undermining words, being over sarcastic, harassing each other, or even undermining your lecture. To put an end to this, online class etiquette serves as a guide that puts online learners in check. While the ‘netiquettes’ might be there for all to see, sticking to them starts with you.
Furthermore, online class etiquettes teach how to be respectful, polite, formal, professional, and organized in an online setting.
20 Online Class Etiquettes You Should Know
To manage, enjoy or partake in a favorable online class here are the top 20 online class netiquettes you should be aware of:
#1 Participate fully
Participating fully means you should be attentive to the lessons and speak up and share your thoughts when necessary. If your teacher is sharing instructions with you, you need to pay close attention to be sure you understand, writing anything down you don’t want to forget, and being ready to ask any questions you have about confusing parts when the teacher is done. Sticking to this online class etiquettes makes us more active learners than passive learners with a glowing screen right in front of us.
#2 Be Careful with your tone
While an online conversation with friends might look all easy and simple, having an online classroom conversation should be done with utmost awareness and care. You should be careful with capitalization, as writing in ALL-CAPS can oftentimes be interpreted as YELLING! and will be viewed as impolite. Similarly, a joke can oftentimes be perceived as a rude remark. This is why you have to ensure that your words don’t get lost in translation.
#3 Be accurate and factual
The internet is a vast place with information coming from all sorts of sources. Before you send out any information, be sure to fact-check everything you read and possibly include sources when giving advice or information.
When getting your assignments, you should be careful to include credible sources in all your papers. Similarly, before you believe and share anything on the internet, confirm the credibility of the information.
#4 Don’t be so sarcastic
While in-person, aids the use of facial expressions and gestures, conveying the same message online can prove more challenging. This is especially true when it comes to sarcastic humor, as it usually isn’t possible to transmit the tone of voice when using text.
As such, you need to be careful about making the intent behind your words as clear as possible. Try not to be sarcastic.
#5 Always search before asking
If you get stuck with a question on a certain assignment, attempt to search for it before you ask your classmates or the professor. You might find your answer fast, and there will be no need to include third parties.
The same goes for questions regarding class structure. You may find your answers in the syllabus or the university website. Of course, if you fail to find your answer after some time spent searching, you can now ask questions.
#6 Be polite
Being polite on the internet should be as common as in real life. Unfortunately, that is not the case in some situations. A good number of people tend to use the internet as a cover and their display as a shield, which leads to them writing what they would never say in public.
A key part of netiquette is only typing what you would be comfortable with saying to someone’s face. Hence being respectful and polite to others should be part of your communications online.
#7 Use proper grammar and punctuation
Many people tend to forget the rules that apply to writing when communicating online. However, resorting to proper grammar and punctuation can make the message seem more professional and thought out. Not only does it make your text more readable, but it can also prepare you for professional writing that you might do in the future.
Think about what you would like to read yourself. It should be easy to read and comprehensible. That way, you will save precious time for someone reading your email, message, comment, or post.
#8 Always Focus on the topic
When there is a discussion happening, everyone must stay on topic. It’s easy to get distracted, especially when many people are participating in it. Filling the conversation with irrelevant information can lose precious time and make it hard for someone to understand the discussion.
So, make sure that you understand what the discussion is about and only reply when necessary This can prove helpful to both you and the others.
#9 Always review your notes and the recording later
This is one online class etiquette that should not be avoided. After each online session, ensure you review your notes and recordings for a proper understanding of the lesson.
Many online platforms are likely getting their infrastructure tested by a higher volume of use than they had before. So it’s a good idea to take notes and not rely on re-watching later. Also, it can be more time-consuming to have to scan through a video in search of a particular detail or instruction that the teacher gave when you could have just jotted it down at the time.
Remember also that because an online learning meeting condenses down instruction time and live interactions with the teacher, it may be helpful to some students to use their notes and the recording for extra review of concepts that might have been difficult.
When learning challenging subjects like where ideas may not make sense the first time, reviewing the recording or going through your notes the next day might suddenly clarify all your questions.
#10 Be sure of what you are sending out: Nothing online is private
Before you send out any detail or document, ensure what you are sending out isn’t rude and inappropriate as the things you post and share are probably going to be there for a long time.
We live in an age where many things take place online, and building an online presence is just as important as the real-life one. That being said, there is no ‘real privacy’ on the internet, and you should handle what you share wisely.
#11 Respect people’s privacy
Treat others’ privacy the same way you would want some to handle your private information. You shouldn’t give the personal information of your classmates and professors online to anyone.
This means being careful with passwords, whereabouts, private conversations, and pictures. The same goes for both your and others’ information, as it can be dangerous to distribute any of it without caution.
#12 Respect others’ opinions
You should be aware that you’re not always going to agree with the opinions of your classmates or professors. However, keep in mind that you owe them respect. You can disagree with someone and respect their opinions at the same time.
Although online learning carries a level of anonymity and distance which traditional classes don’t, that shouldn’t serve as a reason to not be kind to someone. Remember that an online classroom is still a classroom.
#13 Don’t fail to submit assignments
Being mindful of how to submit online assignments to professors should be something every student knows how to do. Since there is no face-to-face interaction, if you fail to put your name on it or mess up the subject line, your assignment can easily be lost in a pile of emails.
Another thing to be careful with when submitting assignments online is attachments. You shouldn’t attach files for which you are not sure if the other person will be able to open. Additionally, you should follow specific instructions your professor gives about assignments.
The online community has its own set of rules that are referred to as netiquette. There are many things that online students should keep in mind, such as tone of voice, accuracy, proper grammar, privacy, etc. Being familiar with the unwritten rules of the internet and guidelines for interacting online can prove helpful with any online communication you have. For the most part, you should remember to be respectful and fact-check your information.
#14 Speak clearly
During an online class, try to be brief and concise in your communication. Taking an unnecessary amount of time to reach a point may result in the loss of meaning at that point as well as loss of interest. So, make sure that you try to express yourself as clearly as possible by using minimum words.
#15 Address your teachers with their respective titles
Many students tend to get informal in online classes and forget the decorum of the classroom. It is one of the most basic cyber etiquette that one should follow regardless of anything. So, always maintain that formal relationship between you and your professors.
#16 Join the class with your name and not an alias
There are many instances observed where students join a class through a given link for a specific platform with different names and make unnecessary comments. Consequently, schools and colleges have mandated the entry of only verified students with proper names for the proper class conduct.
#17 Don’t misuse the comment section
Writing weird things or asking unnecessary questions is the biggest obstacle in online teaching. This not only disturbs the whole class but also affects the effective time of learning and teaching. All the students should get into such things as this would result in some strict action against them. Certain rules and regulations should be set up to avoid such practices. Students should only be allowed to comment when they have legitimate questions. Necessary action would be taken accordingly if instructions are not followed properly.
#18 Mute yourself if your background is noisy
If you find yourself in a noisy background, ensure you click the icon on the button left to mute your audio. Try to do this as soon as you can or you ask your family member to be calm.
If it’s impossible to find a quiet place in your current family scenario, it’s still important for you to attend the meeting. Just mute yourself for the whole time, except when called on, and let your instructor know by a private chat message what the situation is.
#19 Be ready to take notes
While teachers may have different instructions in different subjects and scenarios, online meetings aim to consolidate the time that everyone is present together. Therefore, it will be highly beneficial to jot down notes while the class is ongoing. This saves you the time and stress of asking for an email or checking the recording of the video which can be time-consuming.
#20 Apologize for any accidental breach of etiquette
Online learning is going to involve that sort of interruption or breach of rules as no one is expected to be perfect. However, if you break any of the online class etiquettes, come right out and apologize sooner rather than later.
Apologizing shows respect to your classmates and your teacher and indicates that you are aware of the problem and not oblivious. If you don’t acknowledge it, your teacher may have to come to you to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Make that step unnecessary by calling it out yourself.
With these online class etiquettes in our minds, we will be better prepared to continue learning as well as possible through online means. Cheers!
- potomac.edu – Online Etiquette: 14 Netiquette Rules Online Students Should Know
- centenaryuniversity.edu – Online Etiquette
- rasmussen.edu – 10 Netiquette Guidelines Online Students Need to Know
- digitalsamba.com – Virtual classroom etiquette: How to ensure a great learning experience