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Netiquette is a series of rules that encourage appropriate online behaviour. While many of us are familiar with the rules that govern in-person interactions, the lack of physical co-location or togetherness can make interacting online a little more difficult. 


Negative behaviours in the classroom, whether it is a hybrid or online one, can make students, instructors, and staff feel uncomfortable, unmotivated, or even unsafe. While sometimes these behaviours are intentional, often they are not, and occur because students are unsure of what the rules are or aren’t aware there are rules at all.

Simply addressing expectations for online communication can encourage students to think about their behaviour, build trust, promote respectful behaviour, and indicate that we value diverse opinions and backgrounds.


Be Supportive

Netiquette is a form of human to human communication. We are not machines and make mistakes from time to time. Being supportive is a great way to encourage students to do better next time.

  • treat others the way you want to be treated
  • try to not interact in a way that may cause offence
  • be considerate if someone makes a mistake
  • be patient and remember that everyone is learning

Behave Responsibly

Faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants can model netiquette and respectful communication in their classes. Students take their cues from how they are treated.

  • be open to differing opinions and perspectives 
  • don’t use confrontational or inflammatory language
  • think before you hit send or turn on the mic 
  • learn and respect laws regarding privacy and copyright

Have Respect for Others

Adding a bit of preparation time to consider netiquette can help you build it into your class from the very beginning. This can help promote positive behaviours and form a culture and expectation of respect in the classroom.

  • learn the basics of the technology required for the course before it starts
  • be on time for class
  • don’t dominate discussions
  • when contributing, make sure it is concise, relevant and positive


Many institutions have netiquette guidelines that govern online interactions. 

Netiquette: Expectations of Student Behaviour Online - Carleton Online

Student Guidelines for Communicating in Online, Professional Contexts | Centre for Teaching Excellence -  University of Waterloo 


Some material adapted from Netiquette – Instructional Resources from Memorial University