Netiquette: How to communicate as an online student

Published On: August 24th, 20223.2 min readCategories: Study tips

The role that communication plays in learning is significant, yet often overlooked. Especially when it comes to online learning, where the two distinguishing factors from face-face learning are:

  • that most communication is asynchronous; and
  • text-based.

Online communication can easily be misinterpreted without the aid of body language, tone, or facial expressions. It is for this reason that most websites and social media networks have accepted rules of behaviour or codes of practice. In fact, there is a term for these practices, and it’s called Netiquette (or internet etiquette).


What is netiquette and why is it important?

Netiquette is a fairly recent concept that is short for internet etiquette. It is a set of commonly accepted practices or rules that encourage appropriate and courteous online behaviour. It exists to help people communicate effectively online and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings or potential conflict.

As an online learner, good communication enables you to assimilate more from the learning process by asking relevant questions, clarifying information, discussing doubts, and sharing opinions. In addition, communication can also help you form relationships with other students, in turn further aiding the learning process.


Examples of how to practice good internet etiquette as an online learner

We’ve adapted some netiquette practices from Cybersmile, a multi-award-winning anti-cyberbullying foundation. You can easily start practising these, whether you are new to online learning or not.

Conduct yourself online, just like you would in-person

In closing, always envision yourself on the receiving end of the communication. Think about what you are saying and if there are any other ways that it could be interpreted. If so, revise your message and make it clearer. Try to remember that there is another person on the end of your computer or phone, and ask yourself – how would I communicate if this was in-person? This can help evaluate if there are any changes you need to make.

Whether you are new to online learning or not, checking in on what you need and how you communicate those needs can make a big difference to your experience and results.


Download these tips for later

Easily keep these Netiquette tips on hand so you can refer back to them at any time. Downloadable as a PDF or image.

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