The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has adopted a no-tolerance policy for e-mail and other electronic messages, including class discussion sites or forums, addressed in an intimidating or threatening tone. Students who have a concern that needs to be addressed with an instructor or faculty member should follow the guidelines below.

“Online manners” are commonly known as Netiquette and are important for communication associated with assigned activities for any course, but especially online courses.  Students are expected to address their instructor and classmates with absolutely respect and in a formal manner. The following detailed guide for Netiquette ( offers a nearly exhaustive set of recommendations for appropriate electronic or “online” behavior.

1. Class behavior:

As a general rule, students should follow the same classroom conduct that they would in a face-to-face course.

Take note of the following tips:

  • Avoid writing messages in all capital letters because it is UNDERSTOOD AS SHOUTING.
  • Be careful with what is put in writing.
  • Grammar and spelling matter. In all courses, and especially in online courses, standards of academic communication are of utmost importance for proper credit and for facilitating communication.
  • Never use profanity in any area of an online course.
  • When responding to messages, only use "Reply to All" when that is what really expected.
  • Avoid unkind or unnecessary public criticism, or “flaming”, of others and their opinions.
  • Do not use emoticons such as , ;( , etc.


2. Behavior for emailing of messaging the instructor:

As a general rule, students should take care when addressing their instructor in written, private, or public communication. Before e-mailing the instructor, students in doubt should consult the following link for some useful tips:

  • Include the course information in the Subject line.
  • Address the instructor appropriately.
  • Be precise, concise, and clear.
  • Use the full name as on the roster and identify the course in which enrolled.

These pointers will help avoid issues of miscommunication and inappropriate behavior in electronic messaging and even classroom communications.