As we have said, learning online is very different from face to face. You will need to interact with an unseen group both socially and for learning, and this requires trust between participants. The digitized learning environment brings some unique social and psychological features to interactions, which in turn bring potential for misunderstanding of what is acceptable behaviour or miscommunication. As such, it is considered good practice for an online course to discuss and agree on basic ‘Netiquette’. Netiquette refers to the etiquette of communicating and participating with others in online environments. The rules vary, but in general participants and instructors on eLearning courses are expected to treat each other with respect and to show consideration. They are also expected to be timely in communication and completing activities, and accessible at appointed times.
The key purpose of having rules of netiquette is to enable and guide you to fully participate in your online course. You may be asked to contribute to discussion, respond in a discussion, collaborate on a project, share information, or just be sociable. You may be submitting assignments online and giving and receiving feedback. Or, you may have questions about something, an answer to someone else’s question or need some encouragement. There are a number of contexts in which communication is a vital component, and the key to successful study online is in not being prevented, or preventing others, from making optimum use of communication tools. This is especially important when grades can be impacted.