It is important to recognize that the online classroom is in fact a classroom.

Certain behaviours are expected when you communicate with both your peers and your instructors. These guidelines for online behavior and interaction are known as netiquette.


Remember that your password is the only thing protecting you from pranks or more serious harm.

  • Don't share your password with anyone
  • Change your password if you think someone else might know it
  • Always logout when you are finished using the system

General guidelines:

When communicating online, you should always:

  • Treat instructor with respect, even in email or in any other online communication
  • Always use your professors’ proper title: Dr. or Prof., or if you in doubt use Mr. or Ms.
  • Unless specifically invited, don’t refer to them by first name.
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Remember that all college level communication should have correct spelling and grammar
  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you”
  • Use standard fonts such as Times New Roman and use a size 12 or 14 pt. font
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETTED AS YELLING
  • Limit and possibly avoid the use of emoticons like :) 
  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or offensive
  • Be careful with personal information (both yours and other’s)
  • Do not send confidential patient information via e-mail

Email netiquette:

When you send an email to your instructor, teaching assistant or classmates, you should:

  • Use a descriptive subject line
  • Be brief
  • Avoid attachments unless you are sure your recipients can open them
  • Avoid HTML in favor of plain text
  • Sign your message with your name and return e-mail address
  • Think before you send the e-mail to more than one person. Does everyone really need to see your message?
  • Be sure you REALLY want everyone to receive your response when you click, “reply all”
  • Be sure that the message author intended for the information to be passed along before you click the “forward” button 

Message board netiquette and guidelines:

When posting on the discussion board in your online class, you should:

  • Make posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material
  • Take your posts seriously and review and edit your posts before sending
  • Be as brief as possible while still making a thorough comment
  • Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source
  • Be sure to read all messages in a thread before replying
  • Don’t repeat someone else’s post without adding something of your own to it
  • Avoid short, generic replies such as, “I agree.” You should include why you agree or add to the previous point
  • Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own
  • When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way
  • Do not make personal or insulting remarks
  • Be open-minded

Used with permission from the University of Florida.