How do I interact online?


In any social interaction, certain rules of etiquette are expected and contribute to more enjoyable and productive communication. The following tips for interacting online in email and/or Discussion Board messages are adapted from guidelines originally compiled by Chuq Von Rospach and Gene Spafford.

  • Remember that the person receiving your message is someone like you, someone who deserves and appreciates courtesy and respect.
  • Be brief; succinct, thoughtful messages have the greatest impact.
  • Your messages reflect on YOU; take time to make sure that you are proud of their form and content.
  • Use descriptive subject headings in e-mail messages.
  • Think about your audience and the relevance of your messages.
  • Be careful with humor and sarcasm; without the voice inflections and body language of face-to-face communication, Internet messages can be easily misinterpreted.
  • When making follow-up comments, summarize the parts of the message to which you are responding.
  • Avoid repeating what has already been said; needless repetition is ineffective communication.
  • Cite appropriate references whenever using someone else’s ideas, thoughts, or words.

Peer Feedback

Many of our courses are designed along the principles of synergy and collaborative learning. Therefore, it is important that all students understand how to provide quality feedback to their peers. Here are a few tips for providing, positive, constructive, and useful feedback to peers:

  • Be empathetic and remember that this environment is a safe place for making mistakes.
  • Use nonjudgmental language and phrases that do not attack an individual. One way of doing this is to ask the individual to discuss his/her process for making the final decision he/she made.
  • Use specific questions, examples, and research as a way of making your point.
  • Make your feedback useful by providing suggestions that the individual can understand and use to improve her/his work.