Online discussions are often used in Open University studies to support learning. To ensure that these discussions are appropriate and promote both your and your fellow students’ studying and learning, it is important that you follow the netiquette of the Open University.
Different writing styles
In the online environment, people write in different ways for different purposes:
Do not offend others
All online discussions and email messages should follow the rules of correct communication.
Stay on topic and try not to offend others or refer to their personal lives. Some participants may feel very strongly about particular discussion topics or styles of communication. Do not write messages or comments if you are feeling emotional or upset because you usually end up regretting them later.
A written text may be interpreted differently from what the writer intended. That is why you should pay particular attention when writing a message. Clear, concise, matter-of-fact and well-structured texts are usually interpreted correctly.
Try not to ramble or stray too far from the topic. Use lower-case letters, as CAPITAL LETTERS are commonly interpreted as shouting. You can use bold font for emphasis and emoticons to make it easier for readers to interpret your message.
Examples of emoticons
:-( Sadness, regret, upset
:-s Confusion, worry
;-) Wink, humour
Inappropriate messages may be deleted
Discussion in the learning environments is part of studies. Its purpose is to promote learning and improve the positive learning experience of the whole group.
Messages that are inappropriate or offensive or which otherwise violate the netiquette guidelines may be deleted.