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Student COIL Libguide


In real life, we demonstrate etiquette through our social interactions, such as saying "thank you" and showing up to classes on time. In the online space, it is important to continue to practice etiquette. This is referred to as netiquette

Netiquette is a set of guidelines that will help you demonstrate appropriate online behaviours. Netiquette is important in the online environment to maintain the professional standards of behaviours that you are expected to demonstrated in the traditional classroom. Netiquette can help you prevent miscommunications and collaborate with your peers online. 

Instructions: Watch the video below to learn more about the core rules of netiquette (i.e., online etiquette). 

Why is netiquette important to your COIL project?

Different cultures have different expectations of online communication. Consider the following suggestions before posting or sending a message to your COIL peers: 

  • Your COIL peers may have different experiences of online learning and may not be willing or able to use technical features such as the webcam. Show patience and understanding. 
  • You and your peers from Sheridan may be working together in-person while your COIL peers from abroad may be joining the conversation online. Be mindful about making your online peers feel included, welcome, and heard. 
  • Be aware of your online humour. Different cultures have different understandings of humour.
  • Remember that language fluency does not reflect intelligence.
  • Avoid using complicated language, terminology, slang, or idioms 
  • During a COIL project, you will be working across time differences. Allow extra time for responses. 
  • If you have made a mistake, or if your comment was misconstrued, remember to show humility and apologize.

Discussion & Chat Netiquette

Consider the following suggestions to ensure that you are practicing netiquette in your email and chat communications:

  • Use emoticons. Also referred to as emojis, these are characters or symbols which are used are used in conjunction with the text to overlay emotion in a written message, to clarify the meaning. 
  • Be an active participant, not a passive observer
  • Encourage your peers to listen to one another and exchange viewpoints
  • Respect the diversity of opinions and strive for balance in dialogue
  • Always say goodbye in synchronous sessions. When you are leaving a chat room or finished the conversation, let the other person know rather than leaving them hanging.
  • Don’t correct the typing errors of others. Unlike emails, the purpose of the chat is to carry on a ‘live’ conversation. Remember that language fluency does not indicate intelligence. Be understanding of potential grammatical or punctuation errors. 
  • Be aware of other student’s comfort or discomfort during dialogue
  • Stir interest and engagement by introducing new questions or information and ideas to build on a dwindling discussion
  • Debrief with faculty instructors or your fellow colleague(s) following any challenges

Technical Guidelines for Email & Chat Netiquette

Consider the following technical guidelines in your email and chat communications:

  • Use descriptive keywords in the email subject heading. This allows the recipients to scan and prioritize a long list to which they must respond.
  • Do not type in all caps. This is considered yelling or screaming online. Use mixed case instead.
  • Respect the privacy of e-mail addresses. Always know to whom you are sending an email. If you wish to send to a group, learn to use the BCC (i.e., blind carbon copy) feature of your email program: the receiver gets a copy of the e-mail but their email address remains invisible to the other recipients. Learn more about the BCC field here. 
  • Know how large a message you are sending. Be brief and clear in your message. If you are sending attachments, compress or "zip" large files before sending. Be wise and don’t clutter another person’s mailbox with unnecessary messages.
  • Take the time to review your email before clicking send. Spell check your email, proofread for errors, capitalize your sentences, and use appropriate punctuation and grammar. 
  • Create a signature file. This is a line or two at the end of your message with contact information so people know who you are. Create it ahead of time so that it is automatically appended to all your e-mails.
  • Respond promptly to emails. Like phone calls or voicemails, provide quick feedback to your emails. If you want a quick response, remember that people live in different time zones and factor that in accordingly.
  • Report inappropriate emails. Please store inappropriate emails as evidence and report inappropriate emails immediately. 
  • The practice and legality of forwarding email messages varies from one country to the other. Be mindful of that.
  • Sending email in plain text is best. Email is a quick and straightforward form of communication. Adding unnecessary color and/or graphic images may make your posting difficult to read since not all email software has the ability.
  • Be careful with humour and sarcasm. Written comments can often be misinterpreted. Emoticons (i.e., smiley faces or other symbols alongside your text) often help the recipient ‘interpret’ your intentions. Be safe and limit your use in a professional environment

Learn More about Privacy and Cyber Safety

For details on professional social media use at Sheridan, please visit Sheridan's Social Media Policy and Social Media Tips Sheet


Connor, P. (n.d.). Netiquette: Ground rules for online discussions. Colorado State University.