#bestpracticemonday – Netiquette for the Online Course

NetiquettePart of setting your students up for success in any course is to create a culture of success. We create a culture of success by ensuring students know what is expected of them and in some cases involving them in coming up with some of those expectations. Online students come into a course with their own thoughts and musings how about the course should operate and how they should interact with others.

Being proactive in establishing a positive culture of communication can mean the difference between student satisfaction and student frustration. A great way to encourage positive interactions in your course is to establish Netiquette or Internet Etiquette expectations for your online course.

This blog post will cover four different types of Netiquette for the online course. It is not an exhaustive list, but a great starting point or template from which to work. We will look at the following four areas:

  1. Netiquette – General Guidelines
  2. Netiquette for Discussion Forums
  3. Netiquette for E-mail
  4. Netiquette for Chats/Webinars

GuidelinesNetiquette – General Guidelines

  • Keep caps lock at a minimum for emphasis: IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE YELLING
  • Be careful when using humor or sarcasm as much can be lost in translation and give offense in the online environment
  • All communication should be at a college level and include correct spelling and grammar
  • Treat fellow students and instructor with respect in all types of online-communication (e-mail/chat/discussions/web meetings)
  • Use clear and concise language (e-mail does not easily reflect your implied meaning)
  • Avoid text speak and slang (sorry, no LOL, ROFL, LMBO or IMHO)
  • Use standard fonts and font size: Arial/Times New Roman, 11-12 pt font
  • Only use emoticons when appropriate ☺

Discussion Forums GraphicNetiquette for Discussion Forums

  • Review and edit post BEFORE posting
  • Spell-check, Spell-check, Spell-check
  • Stay on Topic
  • Cite any sources you reference in your post
  • No flaming or personal/insulting remarks
  • Provide well thought out replies to thread postings, “I agree” and “Great Post” are unacceptable
  • Be respectful of others’ opinions
  • Read previous messages in a thread BEFORE replying
  • Don’t regurgitate someone else’s post, make your own

E-mailNetiquette for E-mail

  • Include your name and return address in the e-mail signature
  • Be brief: Don’t try and write the sequel to War & Peace
  • Make your subject line descriptive
  • Limit the use of Reply All, does everyone need to see your response?
  • Be forewarned about “forward”: Be sure the original author is okay with you passing his/her e-mail on

WebinarNetiquette for Chats/Webinars

  • Don’t play with the whiteboard tools unless directed to do so by your instructor
  • If you are sharing your desktop be sure only topic appropriate windows are open
  • Use a headset/microphone combo, online meeting attendees don’t want to hear themselves through your speakers
  • Do not talk over others
  • Wait your turn to speak/use web cam
  • Make sure everything works BEFORE the session begins don’t try and get technical support in the middle of a lecture
  • If using a webcam be sure you have appropriate lighting, appropriate attire and limit distractions (pets, spouses, roommates, children)

#bestpracticemonday – Increase Student Engagment by Encouraging Interactions in Online Discussions

Encouraging InteractionsHave you ever felt left out of a discussion? When you are contributing to an effort, how does it feel to not be recognized for that contribution? Recognizing the contributions of the students in your online classes is key to increasing their participation. Here are some strategies for success:

  • Reply to a handful of discussion posts for each forum picking different students each time
  • Give Kudos and Challenges (recognize the contributions and offer challenges to encourage your students to reach beyond)
  • For larger classes do one summary post for each discussion mentioning students by name

If students believe you are actually reading their contributions they will work harder to ensure quality and quantity of their efforts.

Blackboard @ SHSU has new tool to fight plagiarism: SafeAssign

SafeAssign Assignment ToolSHSU faculty have a new tool to help build a culture of academic integrity in their Blackboard courses: SafeAssign.

A SafeAssignment helps educators prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers.  In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and importance of proper attribution of any borrowed content.

*SafeAssign works like our currently used Turnitin Tool with the added benefit of a Direct Submit option. Now, instructors may upload papers directly with the Direct Submit feature, without student involvement.

SafeAssign checks all submitted papers against the following databases:

  • Internet – comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the Internet
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database with over 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from ’90s to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access)
  • Institutional document archives containing all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions
  • Global Reference Database containing papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.

To learn more about the SafeAssign tool in Blackboard, visit your Teaching Online tab in Blackboard.  Then click the Assessment link in the navigation menu and scroll to the SafeAssign learning module to enter.

Teaching Online Tab Safe Assign Learning Module Link

*Note:  SafeAssign will add the Inline Grading feature in Summer 2014.

Certificates Awarded to Beta ‘Teaching Online with Blackboard’ Online Cohort

Teaching Online Course Screenshot and CertificatesCertificates were awarded to the following SHSU faculty for completing the fully-online beta cohort of  the Teaching Online with Blackboard Certification Series:

  • Jennifer Aucoin – Ed Leadership & Counseling
  • Page Glave – Health & Kinesiology
  • Susan Holland – Nursing
  • Bonnie King – Ed Leadership & Counseling
  • Darla King – Criminal Justice
  • Steven Koether – Biology
  • Ian Lovestock – Criminal Justice
  • Patrick Saxon – Ed Leadership & Counseling
  • Sribhagyam Srinivasan – Ed Leadership & Counseling
  • David Stovall – Criminal Justice

Congratulations for being the start of something special at SHSU! The next session will begin on Monday, February 10, 2014. Limited spaces are available due to the course’s popularity; if space is unavailable for the February-April cohort, another cohort will be available in June. An announcement for the cohort will be made prior to that time.

The Blackboard Certification Series is a fully-online training option which SHSU Online has most recently developed and added to the training catalog. The certification consists of four courses aimed at preparing an instructor to master the online teaching environment through Blackboard. Courses included within this series comprise the following:

  • Course Building: Two-week course that will equip online instructors with building and sharing content in their online courses.
  • Communication: Two-week course that will cover tools of communication, as well as applicable communication strategies for online course management.
  • Assessment: Two-week course that introduces participants to how to get started assessing their student’s learning in an online class.
  • Teaching Online – Strategies for Success: Two-week course that presents participants with the opportunity to explore best practices for creating engaging and effective online learning environments.

Embed Twitter Streams/Conversations in Your Blackboard Course

Embedding TwitterThis blog post covers putting your live Twitter feed in Blackboard. Basically you can place your feed anywhere you can edit text in the Blackboard Learn System. That means it can go in a discussion, a blog post, a wiki page, a content item, test instructions or anywhere the text editor exists in Blackboard Learn.

Embedding your Twitter feed or a Twitter conversation will drive student engagement by putting information you want students to be familiar with, where they spend the most time. Students can actively extend class discussions, research topical information and affirm each others posts with Twitter and embedding the feed or #hashtag search can prompt them to do so.

Here are the steps:

Visit Twitter.com and click the Settings wheel at the upper right-hand side of the screen, then click the word Settings.

Twitter Settings

Once on the Twitter Settings page, click the Widgets area on the left-hand side, then click the Create New button.

Twitter Widgets

Under the User Timeline tab be sure your Twitter handle shows up in the Username field. Select your display options and then click the Create Widget button.

User Timeline Widget

Copy the widget code from the box at the bottom of the Edit Widget page.

Copy embed Code

Next you can Paste the code in HTML view of any Blackboard Text editor. Start by clicking the HTML button of your content editor in Blackboard (remember this can be within any discussion, blog post, item, folder etc..).

Html Button in Content Editor

Right-click and paste or, CTRL/CMND V and paste the widget code.

Paste into HTML Editor

Click the Update button on the HTML view window and then click Submit.


Your Twitter Feed will now display in Blackboard where you put it:

Embedded Twitter Feed

When you create your widget you can also embed a conversation that your class is having our that is happening in the Twitter-sphere. Simply use the Search tab when creating the widget and search for the #hashtag that you are using in your twitter conversations.

Twitter Conversation - Hasthtag Stream