Google+ Communities are in use for the online programmes as a means of encouraging discussion across all modules.
However, the community should be monitored and moderated by the programme’s lecturing staff and any inappropriate content or behaviour should be removed or addressed.
The following list offers some general guidelines to ensure the appropriate use of the online space for the protection of the institute students and staff. This could be circulated to staff and students of online communities:
It is important to recognise and respect diversity. If you disagree with someone do not use threatening or abusive language or imagery.
There’s a level of anonymity to online environments and classes that people can forget. Don’t say something you wouldn’t be willing to say to someone’s face - this includes lecturing staff.
Be tolerant of other people’s mistakes or miscommunications and be wary of your own. If in doubt regarding a communication, ask your lecturer.
Be polite. Be kind.
Mind your tone
Avoid certain formatting as it can send the wrong message and often suggests a harsher tone than was intended.
For instance, avoid using all capital letters as it is seen as the digital equivalent to shouting.
Sarcasm is largely misconstrued in text/digital format and should be avoided.
Be careful when using humour in your posts, cultures vary and the intention can be misinterpreted.
Write clearly and succinctly
Brevity is key. Keep messages short and to the point where possible.
Remember that your classmates are busy as well. The more direct your are, generally, the quicker the response.
Consider other users may not be native English speakers and may not understand slang or colloquialism.
Do not post advertisements for products or services or knowingly post harmful links or content.
Do not plagiarise material and do not post copyrighted material to which you do not own the rights.
If you are answering someone’s question and are offering a guess, make this clear in your reply.
Do not assume that someone will know you are not 100% accurate in your information.
Think before you post
Text has permanence. Remember that anything you post online, regardless of whether it is in a private space, has the potential to be made public.
Don’t overshare and respect other people’s privacy.
Remember your audience
Despite being an online environment this space is still an academic setting. Use proper and appropriate language.
Avoid overly informal writing and don’t overuse emoticons.
Read other comments before posting in case the information has been added already.
If you are having difficulty with an aspect of the online environment or the programme try to find the answer yourself before asking for help.
Often these questions are answered in the community or module page on the CIT website.