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Netiquette Guidelines: Five Tips for Grad School Discussion Board Posts

What is Netiquette?

We practice etiquette in almost every one of our day-to-day activities, whether it is waiting our turn in line at the grocery checkout stand, fairly tipping our waiters, or even using the correct silverware at a high profile charity banquet. This also goes for netiquette within the online discussion board for the Master of Science in Communication program.

Proper etiquette in any social scenario is something that we act on based upon, but not limited to, our cultural and geographical influences, upbringing, and education. Etiquette is a set of learned and adapted behaviors that we have acquired throughout our lives, and it is something that constantly evolves alongside everything around us.

Although most of these social situations, including the online class discussion boards, may have some general guidelines and parameters that must be met, not every single aspect of how one should act and interact is clearly outlined. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and personal judgement. To help ease the discussion post thought process, here are some easy to remember netiquette guidelines:

Netiquette Discussion Tips: “T.R.U.S.T.” 


  • Stay on TOPIC in your posts and in your responses. Never attack the person, focus on the subject and why they may have differing views.


  • Always REVIEW before you post. Like in-person conversations, you should always think before you speak.


  • UNDERSTAND that everyone in class will have different perspectives and approaches. Respect other opinions and beliefs.


  • Your thoughts and conclusions should always be backed by verified SOURCES.


  • Make sure your TONE is appropriate to the discussion at hand. Be cautious with stylistic choices such as sarcasm, humor, and colloquialisms, as they are not universal and may not always be interpreted as intended.

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Amanda Tran is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author
Amanda Tran is in her second year of the Master of Science in Communication online program through the Brian Lamb School of Communication. The Seattle native completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Washington in 2013 with BA in Anthropology - Medical Anthropology & Global Health, and a minor in music. She currently works at the UW as the office support supervisor in the Student Activities Office, is a founder and director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit music education organization, the Contemporary A Cappella Musicians' Institute, reviews and photographs concerts for local music blogs, and performs with her nationally ranked a cappella group, SeaNote. Amanda is ecstatic to share her insights and experiences of working on a masters degree while also balancing work and life.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.