Sunday, March 30, 2014

Netiquette Core Principals For Students - Via Netiquette IQ

One of the compelling items which led me to the writing of my book had to do with today's young people and the degradation of communication etiquette and education. Recently, I came across this article and decided it would be terrific to post in this blog. Students take note!
By staff writers

When communication depended on man and animal power, people took time to truly craft their messages to each other. They understood getting a letter to a friend on the other side of the continent was a weighty undertaking, and they gave their words the gravity and care to reflect that long, arduous journey.
Contrast that with today’s communication. We’ve prioritized speed above all else, and our manners have taken a pounding as a result. We’ve also been programmed to expect our tools to satisfy our every whim. The problem is, while the Internet is a tool, it’s a tool with a billion handles. We’re prone to forget there are real live people on the other end of the line.
Etiquette is a dynamic set of unwritten social rules that govern “acceptable” behavior. While these rules are always evolving, some arenas evolve slower than others, particularly higher education and business. For these two areas, you as a digital learner need to be aware of what continues to constitute appropriate behavior and communication for the mediums of email, your online courses (whether closed or massively open), social media, and the job search so that you can build relationships with employers and your fellow learners. And of course, because it’s the right thing to do.
We’re assuming you know the basics: no cutesy or unprofessional email handles, no rude or offensive language, make sure the message isn’t full of errors, don’t shout at people with all caps. But we do want to mention three important bits of advice that many people, not just students, have difficulty remembering.
       Reply promptly: If there is a guaranteed way to drive people up the wall, it’s to sit on an email for days at a time without responding. It’s 2013; everyone knows you check your email once every 12 hours at the very least. Waiting longer than 24 hours to respond is a clear message you’re ignoring the sender. Just an email to say you received theirs and will get back to them soon is sufficient, as long as you really do get back to them.
For Gmail users, there are a few ways to remind yourself to reply to an email. After you’ve read it, click the drop-down menu marked “More” and select “Mark as unread” to bold it in your inbox. (Of course, this only helps if your inbox is not already full of unread messages.) From that menu you can also select “Add to Tasks” to add that email to your list of to-dos. While you can’t view tasks on your mobile device through Google Calendar, the free GTasks app (on Androids and iPhones) makes it easy to sync and view them.
       It’s OK to be informal, to a point: Your audience will determine how formal you need to be with your email. You can get by with pretty much anything with a close friend, but emailing a professor or classmate is a different story. Double-check your writing to keep errors to a minimum — this means no “text-speak.” Opening with “hey” is probably fine for classmates, but “Good morning/good afternoon Mr./Ms.” is advisable with professors. If someone doesn’t reply promptly, follow up with “Have you had a chance to look at this yet?”
       Don’t be a spammer: This advice has a number of implications. For one thing, it means don’t waste people’s time. Don’t send novel-length emails full of superfluous details or distracting emoticons; keep the message brief. It also means don’t CC or BCC everyone in your contacts list when you need help with an assignment. People are much more inclined to give you their time when they see you crafted an original email to them and addressed them by name.
Moreover, don’t copy recipients on an email haphazardly. For example, if you have a complaint with a professor, don’t rush to copy his or her boss (i.e. the dean) without first giving the person time to address your issue. The professor will see this as a veiled threat and will almost certainly not appreciate the gesture.
Online classes
A major way that online courses recreate the in-person classroom experience is through online discussions among students. After years of participating in Internet forums and leaving or reading comments on Web articles, it would be easy for a student today to be unclear on what constitutes civil discourse in an educational setting.
“(Online) classroom discussions are not online forums,” says Karen Watts is an instructor and trainer at the Bellingham Technical College Tutoring Center. “Instructors expect answers to discussion questions to be substantive and respectful. This means that students must learn that ‘I agree’ and ‘You’re wrong’ replies as well as bumper sticker wisdom and insults are not appropriate. It’s best to avoid trying to be humorous or trying to tease classmates, as well, since there is no tone of voice online.”
In addition to watching your tone and avoiding strong or argumentative language, a few other points to consider:
       If you have a question, check the class forum first: It’s highly likely, especially with technical issues, that someone else has already posted it and your reposting it simply clogs the message board. The same goes for a comment you want to voice; if someone else has beaten you to the same sentiment, think of another way to propel the conversation forward.
       Don’t wait until the last minute: In the same way you wouldn’t charge into a conversation that’s been going on for 30 minutes, don’t wait until the last day of class to try to suddenly meet your participation requirements by posting five huge comments in a single night. Trust us, everyone knows what you’re doing and you just look silly.
       Stay vigilant against plagiarism: Contrary to popular belief, online students have actually been found to cheat less than on-site students. However, due to the nature of online classes, it’s common for students to unintentionally plagiarize works or share copyrighted material. The latter moves beyond etiquette into “legal” territory, although you probably just need to be sure whatever you’re turning in or just posting on the forums is cited to give credit where necessary.
A new branch of online courses has recently come into wide usage by digital learners around the world, and that is massive open online classes, or MOOCs. Unlike the closed learning environments of an online college or an online course offered by a traditional university, MOOCs are generally free to join and thus regularly attract tens or even hundreds of thousands of students.
       Bear in mind it’s a free class, so act accordingly: The amount of vitriol directed at Facebook whenever it changes its design should be proof enough that when it comes to online, many of us have adopted serious attitudes of entitlement, even for free services. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of MOOC professors are still volunteerswho are giving up dozens of hours of research or traditional teaching time to offer a free MOOC and deserve respect.
A recent Chronicle of Higher Education story about a Coursera professor quitting mid-way through the class is a practical example of how students should not conduct themselves in MOOCs. Many complained on the forums about being required to buy a book for class and others protested the strenuous homework load, while only 2% of the class was engaging in relevant course discussion. Allow the professor to teach the way he or she sees fit and consider saving your critiques and criticisms for an appropriate venue. For example, rating sites like
CourseTalkallow you to write reviews of courses offered by all the major MOOC providers.
         Be a good team player: Group work is the next big thing on the MOOC horizon. Even if you never meet your teammates face to face, the same etiquette rules of in-person group work still apply. Voice your opinion but be willing to bend if the majority disagrees with you. Work with your teammates to find a suitable time to Skype or webchat. Most importantly, pull your share of the load but don’t overcommit to more work than you can handle.
       Be considerate of your fellow learners: Another example of behavior to avoid can be ripped from a recent Inside Higher Ed headline about a MOOC that had to be cancelled due to technical issues, among them a Google Doc sign-up sheet. No doubt some students did so unwittingly, but many students simply wrote their names over others’ names, effectively deleting their entries. Always use the Golden Rule and think of your classmates.
       Be patient with people from different cultures and levels of computer literacy: Increasingly, MOOCs are making use of peer grading, as the sheer size of the classes makes it untenable for a single professor to grade every student’s work. In certain courses, this means that you’ll be responsible for reading other students’ essays and giving them feedback in the form of both grades and written critiques. Chances are goodthat you will encounter students for whom English is not their first language. Proper etiquette requires that you do your best to overlook spelling and grammar errors and assess their work objectively, focusing on the intent of their idea and not the execution.
Social media and Job Search
Much of your job search will involve emailing with potential employers; in those cases, stick to the netiquette rules we advised for the student setting. It’s now common to also use social media to assist you in your hunt for employment, and each medium has its own unique netiquette mistakes to avoid.
       LinkedIn: Practically every recruiter today uses LinkedIn, so if you’re not yet using it in your job search, you need to start. Make your mantra “LinkedIn is all business.” Make your profile picture you in business attire. Don’t request recommendations from every contact you have. Don’t endorse other people’s skills just to finagle them into endorsing yours. Only use the status section to post updates on your professional life. And, as always, never lie on your resume.
      Twitter: Twitter is a great medium for connecting with other professionals in your field. Twitter chats especially can be an easy way to meet other industry people and stay updated on the latest developments. It’s important that you join a chat to learn and hopefully to contribute, but not to just promote yourself. If you’re using TweetChat, be aware it will add the chat hashtag to all your tweets, so be sure you’re not contributing unrelated comments.
Even if chats aren’t your thing, you can still build your personal brand and gain an industry following by choosing a relevant Twitter handle to your profession and briefly explaining what areas you thrive in and are interested in on your bio. Tweet original work and retweet interesting articles or posts that involve your field. Just remember that everyone has the Internet and you’re not a news wire, so be confident it’s something your followers probably wouldn’t see unless you tweeted it.
       Facebook: Facebook is less popular than LinkedIn as a job search tool. However, employers are increasingly turning to it to see what job candidates are like outside of an interview. Chances are you know what good netiquette is on this social network: a tasteful profile picture, appropriate tagged photos and posts, respectful comments.
If you feel your Facebook netiquette has been lacking in the past, Matt Ivester, author of lol…OMG!: What Every Student Needs to Know About Online Reputation Management, Digital Citizenship, and Cyberbullying recommends reputation management service
BrandYourselfbecause it’s free, very easy to use, and quite powerful.
Even if you’re not yet at the place where you’re job searching, cleaning up your social media presence is incredibly important. Toronto-based publicist and parenting expert Melissa Bessey says she thinks even in private life, Facebook and Twitter can be an excellent training ground.
“I always suggest to students that they use social media as a place to practice their good online etiquette skills so that when it comes time to email or interact with a professor or potential employer, they will already be familiar with what it means to be professional in an online environment,” she says.
Keeping social media activity appropriate is a must in today’s connected environment, and the importance of doing so only grows as you approach graduation and the job market. Start practicing good netiquette now and you’ll have nothing to fear when recruiters hit the Web to check you out.
Some of the finer points of netiquette might feel unnecessary or even silly, but they all serve a purpose. Every student has the right to learn in an environment where ideas can be freely exchanged without fear of intimidation, and every professor and employer has the right to be respected, not only for the impact they hold on your academic and career futures but for the simple fact that they’re people, too. Follow the rules and you’ll find doors open much easier and relationships are made faster and kept longer.
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Enjoy most of what you need for email in a single book.
In addition to this blog, I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, " Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:

 If you would like to listen to experts in all aspects of Netiquette and communication, try my radio show on BlogtalkRadio  and an online newsletter via have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and  Yahoo I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ Rider University and  PSG of Mercer County, NJ.