We work with graduate students from 40 countries and 10 languages, so we found it essential to establish a set of guidelines for dialogue across cultures. In every online course this set of guidelines is posted. It sometimes takes 1x1 conversations when students do not follow, helping them understand why we act as we established. Most often students become good digital citizens.
The concept however will work at any age level with appropriate language.
Here are the guidelines
- Participate. In the online environment, it's not enough to show up! We need to hear your voice to feel your presence, and we especially need your comments to add to the information, the shared learning, and the sense of community in each class.
- Think before you push the "Send" button. Did you say just what you meant? How will the person on the other end read the words? While you can't anticipate all reactions, do read over what you've written before you send it.
- Be Clear. Remember that we can't see the grin on your face when you make a sarcastic comment, we can't see the concern on your face if you only say a couple of words, and we can't read your mind and fill in the gaps if you abbreviate your comments. So help us "see" you by explaining your ideas fully.
- Consider those who don't know your language and will probably read your post through an automatic translation. It is absolutely important to use correct grammar and spelling because Google or another automatic translation is a machine which simply cannot think. It cannot deal with poor use of language and guess from it the right content.
- Don't be inappropriate. Responding with anger or unkind words at someone else is unacceptable; it's the equivalent of having a tantrum, something most of us wouldn't do in an onsite, face to face classroom. Any derogatory or inappropriate comments regarding race, gender, age, religion are unacceptable and subject to the same disciplinary action that they would receive if they occurred in the physical classroom. If you have concerns about something that has been said, please let your instructor know. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
- Be honest. Plagiarism, cheating and other violations of ethical student behavior are serious actions in a learning community and will be treated appropriately.
- Be forgiving. Always give the benefit of the doubt to the writers; be kind with criticism.