Excelsior College Guidelines for Online Interaction (a.k.a. Netiquette)

The Excelsior College Electronic Use policy states that students participating in Excelsior College electronic activity agree to "interact with others in a positive, cooperative and supportive manner and display respect for the privacy and rights of others." This policy is inclusive of, but not limited to the following guidelines:

  1. Be courteous about what you say to or about others in any electronic format. In electronic communication the golden rule is "Remember the Human"; there is a real person with real feelings on the receiving end of your email or post.
  2. Be respectful and open to opinions and ideas that differ from yours. The exchange of diverse thoughts, ideas and opinions are an important part of the scholarly environment. Keep in mind that the people in your classes may come from backgrounds and have views that may vary significantly from your own.
  3. Flaming* is not appropriate under any circumstances. While everyone (learners and instructors alike) is encouraged to share ideas and opinions openly, you should never use insults or resort to name-calling even if you disagree strongly with what someone else has written. Insulting remarks and name-calling are never appropriate in an academic setting.
  4. When responding to messages or posts made by others, address the ideas, not the person.
  5. Be careful when using sarcasm and humor. Without social cues, such as facial expressions and body language, a remark meant as humorous could come across hurtful or offensive. Don’t assume that the use of ‘emoticons’ (such as: ) are enough to convey your tone or intent.
  6. Capitalizing whole words is generally seen as SHOUTING and is often offensive to the reader. Use all capital letters sparingly, such as to highlight an important word or point.

*Flaming is the posting of messages that are deliberately hostile and insulting in an online social context, such as a discussion board or blog (retrieved from WordIQ.com, on August 2, 2011).

Other things to keep in mind:

  • All course communication should be conducted in English unless directed otherwise by your instructor.
  • All writing should be professional, consisting of complete sentences and free of grammatical and spelling errors. "Texting" or "chat" language is not appropriate when communicating within the learning management system.
  • Use a short, meaningful description in the subject line in an email or discussion post. Your subject line should summarize your main point in 10-words or less.
  • Don't distribute copyrighted materials, such as articles and images. Most things on the Internet are not licensed as "fair use." When you want to share something with classmates and/or your instructor share the web link or URL only.
  • All source materials should be properly cited to avoid unintentional plagiarism. Please see Excelsior College’s Plagiarism Policy for more information.