Online Conduct: Tips for Navigating an Online School Year


Quote the Raven: Student Affairs
Student Affairs

Student Affairs

Communicating online is something that comes naturally to many people in this generation. While this may feel like second nature, communicating in an online academic setting is quite different than other social medias.

Often, miscommunications and disagreements could be avoided or quickly corrected by having a face-to-face conversation. With classes moving online, the majority of connections will be made through cuLearn, virtual classes, social media, and online academic and social events. For these reasons, the Office of Student Affairs would like to offer the following tips to Carleton students to avoid online misconduct.

Do: Address others by their preferred name and pronouns.
Don’t: Assume someone else’s pronouns and avoid creating a username that may be considered offensive.

If you have the opportunity to create a username, it is best to use the name you want others to address you by. A username that is open to interpretation is more likely to cause conflict. Additionally, if you are unsure of what pronouns to use when addressing another person, you can ask them what pronouns they use, use they/them pronouns, or simply use their name.

Do: Re-read your sentences and check to make sure you are using the tone of voice that you intended.
Don’t: Use sarcasm in your comments.

In-person, sarcasm can generally be understood by many people. However, in an online setting, sarcasm will more often than not be misinterpreted, so it is best to avoid it. Before you post a comment, try reading your sentence out loud, or have someone else read it to ensure that it will come across with the intended meaning.

Do: Think before you post.
Don’t: Write in all capital letters or use complicated emojis.

Communicating online can give us a false sense of confidence and security. Before you post or comment on something, ask yourself, “Would I say this to someone if we were face to face?”. If the answer is “no,” then don’t post that comment, or reword it to be more respectful.

You will also want to be mindful of your language, capitalization, and emoji use while using an academic platform. Capital letters are often misconstrued as yelling, while not everyone will understand the use of emojis. If you do plan on using emojis, stick to simple smiley faces, and be sure to explain what they mean.

If you see something online that makes you uncomfortable; you can:
• Report: Report the incident to the moderator or professor.
• Reach out: Reach out to the person who made the comment separately and respectfully ask them to explain what they meant.
• Remove: If possible, remove that person from your online network.

If you are interested in learning more about appropriate online conduct, there is additional information available for staff and students on the Carleton University website.

If you have any questions or concerns about online conduct, please contact the Manager of Student Conduct and Harm Reduction, Dillon Brady.

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