Online Civility in and Outside of the Classroom

Garry Brand

Garry Brand, Professor and DLIT (Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Department) faculty facilitator, shares insights for online civility in a post for the Instructional Technology Council. This article was also featured in the ITC newsletter. GRCC became members of the ITC last year. ITC provides exceptional leadership and professional development to its network of eLearning experts by advocating, collaborating, researching, and sharing exemplary, innovative practices and potential in learning technologies.

Here is an excerpt from the article: “Online civility is a big issue! Rude e-mails are common. Students are sometimes unaware of their tone, but instructors also encounter defensiveness or a sense of entitlement-why did you take my points? Here are some suggestions for navigating questions of online civility.

1. Angry, Aggressive and Challenging Students

a. Engage the student privately and learn about them.

b. Show you are willing to listen. Be clear and rational in your response.

Resource: McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, 11th Edition, College Teaching Series

2. Responding to E-mails

a. Show appreciation for the question and be polite. You don’t have to put up with abusive language, but you can attempt to re-direct the conversation. If all else fails, I start with “thanks for your e-mail . . .”

b. Be neutral and non-judgmental. I recall publicly correcting a student for their horrible spelling and it turned out they copied the error from my previous post!

Instructional Technology Council Logo

Resource: Teaching Online, Draves, LERN” | Read the entire article online here.

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