Online High School Netiquette Tips

Posted on February 09 2013

Learning is not an isolated activity. The ability to interact with teachers and fellow students and share one’s thoughts, as well as listen to others’ thoughts enables effective learning to take place. However, a virtual high school operates in a different environment. It harnesses the connecting power of the Internet so that you are able to hold group discussions with classmates, even when they are on the other side of the world.

As with face-to-face discussions, it is also important to develop a set of behavioral standards when it comes to dealing with online communications, especially those directed to your online high school teacher and classmates. Good manners (and security precautions) not only show your respect for others but also helps ensure that your personal information is protected.

One major challenge for online communications is that there are no verbal signs. This may vary the overall tone of the message and how it comes across the other person. There may be some miscommunications and misunderstanding because the reader of your post did not understand it the way you intended them to.

Here are a number of netiquette tips to help:

  • Information security. Don’t give your password and even your ID handle to other people. When choosing a password, choose one with a combination of numbers, letters (you can capital or small letters) and symbols. Avoid writing this down in a piece of paper that may fall into the wrong hands.
  • Writing e-mails. When writing e-mails, be sure that there is a relevant subject line for your e-mails. Don’t leave the subject line blank. It helps the recipient of the message know what the message is about. When answering a previous e-mail, remain in the thread rather than starting a new one.
  • Edit your messages and posts. Remember, you are conversing with your teacher. The quality of your posts provides your teacher and peers a good impression about you and your academic abilities. Check for spelling and grammar errors for emails. For chats and IMs, spelling may not be as important. This helps ensure a smoother flow of the conversation, where the other party does not have to wait longer while you are editing your post.
  • Communicating via message boards. When you are new to a message board in your online high school, introduce yourself to the members of the message board. When making your post in the discussion board, read the previous messages so that you know how the conversation is going.
  • Don’t shout, but you can LOL. Shouting, in message boards and the internet in general, is expressed using ALL CAPS. So avoid posting with ALL CAPS.
  • Be relevant. When posting answers to a discussion board, post information or opinions that add value to the discussion. Don’t post anything that is off-topic. Posts must contribute to the overall discussion. Don’t use message boards to whine and complain. Rather, use this opportunity to learn more about the subject at hand. If you need to send a message to an individual, don’t use the message board, send an e-mail or post a personal message to that person instead.
  • Be short and sweet. Don’t go into kilometric explanations of the topic at hand. Rather, ensure posts are straightforward and expressed in simple terms. If there is disagreement, avoid getting into unproductive arguments. Preface dissenting opinions with words or phrases such as IMHO (“In my humble opinion”) or “based on my experience”.
  • Share what you know but cite sources. Don’t be shy to share any relevant information or research you come across but be sure that you do not infringe any copyright or license agreements.