- Use people’s names; have your own posted clearly.
- Polite and engaged discussion is always productive.
- If you’re in a particularly contentious discussion, wait before sending that email, posting that reply, or entering into that chat discussion; use that time to consider if your response is necessary.
- No bullying; no name calling; the same standards that govern student interactions in The Student Charter of Rights and Responsibilities govern our discussions online
- Make sure your contributions fall within your instructor’s guidelines for communicating in your course.
- Feel free to disagree; when you do, look to understand someone else’s ideas and then, if you still disagree, say so, by pointing out the limits of the idea (and not the person); say, “That idea is flawed” not “You're flawed in your thinking” or “I can’t believe you’re not understanding how to calculate …”
- Avoid flame wars (which means responding quickly, angrily, and frequently).
- Try to avoid ALL CAPS; some people see it as shouting.
- Be careful about the tone of your comments; sarcasm and humour are difficult in online environments, and can be misunderstood.
- Listen to understand, rather than oppose; listen to other people’s contributions so you understand their point of view.
- Point what you agree with (and why!) as often or more than you point out what’s wrong with someone’s idea.
- Ask questions when you don't understand.
- Understand that everyone makes mistakes.
- Sharing your ideas is important; it’ll help other people learn.
- Share links only if they’re related to the course material or if the instructor indicates they’re okay with you doing so.
Be curious and thoughtful
- Ask questions when you don’t understand.
- Ask yourself, “what can this person help me learn?”
- Keep focused on the course material.
- Allow yourself, and others, the chance to change their minds; say, “At this point I’m thinking . . .” or “I’m wondering if ...”