Online Learning Resources
Discussion Forum and Email Etiquette
Email and discussion boards will probably play a very important role in
your online course! Here is a brief guide to email and discussion board
- Be considerate and appropriate when using the discussion
board and the chat room. They are extensions of your classroom. Please
keep in mind, as you contribute to a discussion forum or chat room,
that not everyone comes from the same background, or shares the same
values and ideals. Please be appropriate (professional) and considerate
- Be aware of your tone. The "tone" is a very important
part of electronic communication. You might find it helpful to read your
email or discussion board post out loud before
you submit it. When you read your message out loud does it sound the
way you would speak to another student in the classroom?
- Use people's names (or nickname). When you reply to
someone n a Discussion Forum, use their name! You can say "Hi Jessica" or "Hi
Michael" or whatever their name/nickname might be. That is the only
way you will really start to learn the names of the people in your online
- Sign your email. Although email is often very informal
in style, it is important to "sign" your email by including
your name at the bottom of the email.
- Sharing ideas. The point of a Discussion Forum is to share
ideas, not to prove to others that you are right and that they are wrong.
Differences of opinion are going to occur in any forum, and your goal
should be simply to convey your ideas as clearly as possible.
- Joking around. It is important to remember that tone
of voice often plays an important role in letting people know that you
are making a joke or being ironic. If you want to convey that tone in
your email or discussion board post, you can learn to use smiley's or
simply add parenthetical comments like "(just kidding!)". And
be careful: sarcastic comments are easily misunderstood in any online
- Reading and replying. Very often people will read postings in
a Discussion Forum but not make a reply. Sometimes students become upset
when they see that their post has been "read" but with no reply.
This does not mean anything at all! Please do not feel offended or take
- Reporting problems. If you find something in a Discussion
Forum that strikes you as upsetting or unacceptable, please be sure to
let your instructor know about it as soon as possible.
This document was modified from materials created by the University of Oklahoma.