Netiquette is the combination of the words Internet and etiquette that refers to the customary code of polite behavior in online settings such as discussion boards, emails, chat messages, and synchronous class meetings.

The following suggestions on proper online behavior are to help ensure success in your courses at the San Diego Community College District. Just as in a campus-based classroom, there is appropriate conduct for an online classroom. For example, netiquette dictates that using all capital letters in an email is like shouting.

Send questions and inquiries regarding these guidelines to the Online Learning Pathways Instructional Design Supervisor, Liesl Boswell (

Show Professionalism and Courtesy

Exhibit the same professionalism and respect in the online class as you would in a campus-based classroom or in the workplace.

- Arrive on time
- Be prepared
- Refrain from eating, smoking, and drinking
- Read the syllabus so you are aware of the class culture
- Use your professor’s office hours

Camera and Background recommendations

Be mindful of your appearance and what can be visible in your background during synchronous class meetings. To reduce the number of distractions and interruptions during your online class meetings we recommend the following:

- Wear workplace friendly attire and clothing during class meetings.
- Use appropriate images for online avatars or profile pictures.
- Choose work and school friendly backgrounds.
- When possible use background blur to prevent distractions from people or animals in view of your camera.
- Refrain from using distracting or workplace inappropriate filters during online class meetings.
- Keep your space as clear as possible.
- Be mindful of background noise and mute your microphone if necessary.

Set a Positive Tone & Extend Grace and Kindness

Begin and end all messages with a salutation (Good morning, Dr. Vasquez) and a closing (Have a great afternoon!). Taking the extra few moments to do so will help ensure that your message is received as you intend it. Before hitting the Send or Submit button, review your message. The ease and speed of electronic communication  makes it easy to say something you may regret later. Remember: You are communicating with other human beings with feelings, sensitivities, and opinions. When composing a message, ask yourself, "Would I say this to this person if we were face-to-face?"

Conversely, it is easy to assume we understand the intent of an electronic message. Tone and inference are easily misunderstood in written communications. Try to extend grace and kindness when receiving a communication that might seem short or terse. Ask clarifying questions and be as clear as possible in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Follow the Course Discussion Board and Guidelines

Make sure that you are posting under the correct discussion topic and read all postings in that topic prior to posting your message. Keep in mind that different instructors may have different guidelines for participation and grading.


All types of educational communication to and from your fellow classmates or your instructor in the form of discussion boards, emails, chat, and any other type will need to comply with the following:

-Communicate in complete sentences.
-Adhere to the rules of spelling and grammar. (It is good practice to compose your message in a word processing program where you can check your spelling and grammar prior to sending.)
-Avoid typing in all capital letters, as this is considered to be shouting (flaming).
-Avoid abbreviations and informal language. For example, instead of writing "I'll C U L8R", write the complete sentence, “I’ll see you later.”

Be Respectful of Others' Time

Think carefully about who the recipients of your message should be. Avoid sending a message to the entire class, unless you feel that everyone would benefit from reading it. Use descriptive subject lines for messages and discussion board postings so that the subject of your message or post is clear. Check the syllabus and course policies stated by your instructor to know what to expect about your instructor's turnaround time for responding.

Software Usage

The course software and server are property of the San Diego Community College District. Use of the electronic communication tools, such as chat, discussion boards, or email for personal gain or gain on behalf of other individuals or organizations or for soliciting funds for charity, non-profit organizations, schools, or other businesses is prohibited.

Be Mindful of Student Rights & Responsibilities

Students attending online courses are expected to comply with the San Diego Community College District policies on Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Administrative Due Process, including, but not limited to:

Board Policy 5500 - Student Rights, Responsibilities, Campus Safety and Administrative Due Process.
Board Policy 3434 - Interim Procedure for Responding to Harassment Based on Sex Under Title IX
Board Policy 3410 – Nondiscrimination. 
Board Policy 3430 - Prohibition of Harassment.
Disability Rights, Responsibilities, and Academic Accommodations.