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1 This tutorial is designed to provide you with specific guidelines you should follow when you use Discussion Board forums (otherwise known as online discussion forums) to communicate in an academic setting. As you work through this tutorial, please notice that you have buttons and controls at the bottom of your screen that will allow you pause the tutorial or to move back and forward through the slides at any point in the presentation. 1

2 A Discussion Board forum (also known as an online discussion forum) is an area in your online classroom where information can be shared and a permanent record of discussions can be maintained. Typically notes on a topic of common interest are posted and stored for anyone to read and respond to. Generally your professor will create a forum on a specific topic and provide you with specifications on what and how you are to communicate within the forum. Once a forum has been created, students along with the professor can post threads (comments, responses). The posted threads can be viewed and responded to by the professor and other students. The nice thing about online discussion forums is that participants are not required to be online at the same time in order to participate in a discussion. We will now quickly review what Netiquette is and then we will go over some additional guidelines you should be aware of when communicating through online discussion forums. 2

3 "Netiquette" is an abbreviation for "Internet etiquette." Netiquette refers to the set of guidelines for behaving properly online. Netiquette includes the conventionally acceptable guidelines that tell us how to be professional, clear, and courteous when we are communicating on the Internet. Netiquette guidelines should be used for all forms of electronic communication including but not limited to e mail, online chat, and online discussion forums. You can think of Netiquette as the do's and don'ts of online communication. The same Netiquette guidelines we have already covered should be used for online discussion forums. A few other guidelines are worth mentioning too. 3

4 The Do s and Don ts of Discussion Board Forums Part 1: Participate actively in the discussions, having completed the reading assignments, thought about the issues, and/or pondered the questions posed before you begin writing. Be sure that you make your postings meaningful. Reflect on the topics, issues, questions and do your research. Make sure your postings are correct and cite your references. Post appropriate comments and questions. Ask clarifying questions, when appropriate. 4

5 The Do s and Don ts of Discussion Board Forums Part 2: Read what has previously been posted by others; avoid repeating comments and duplicating posts. Use correct spelling and punctuation. Use the spell check tool within the application you are using to type your message. Your postings should not be riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. Phrase your postings politely. Refrain from inappropriate language. Never make derogatory comments toward another person in the class; you may disagree with ideas, but do not make personal attacks. 5

6 The Do s and Don ts of Discussion Board Forums Part 3: If your posting is for a specific person or group, address it to them. You might even consider including a closing salutation with your name. Do not post inappropriate materials. Suggestive or pornographic content or links do not belong in a discussion forum, nor does anything promoting hatred or discrimination. Be careful how you say things do not use sarcasm. Sarcasm rarely comes across successfully and almost always looks bad. It is very difficult to write in a way that shows how you're feeling or how you mean something to come across. Remember that even if your intentions are good, the way you write something may be taken the wrong way. 6

7 This concludes part 3 of our 3 part Netiquette tutorial. Please remember that Netiquette is very important. If necessary, you should review this 3 part tutorial frequently to remind yourself of the do's and don'ts of online communication. The works referred to in preparing this tutorial are listed here for your reference. 7

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