for USask Instructors and Students

Principle 1:



  • The goodwill you show online will help to create a safe space for learning and productive community of learners. - Guidelines for Academic Conduct
  • Keep in mind that your instructors and peers have feelings and imperfections just like you. Follow this basic rule: if you wouldn’t say something in-person, don’t say it online.
  • Critique ideas, not people. Take action if you receive threatening or inappropriate messages by connecting with the appropriate channel.
  • Engage in scholarly discussions by sharing your ideas and knowledge and responding meaningfully to others.
  • Be aware of course deadlines and post in a timely manner.
  • Be patient. Expect a delay of 24-48 hrs before someone responds to your messages (or any other communicated schedule/frequency).

Principle 2:


  • Determine which elements of your online life you want to share with students and which elements will remain private.
  • Use language appropriate for the learning context.
  • Just like F2F, be attired for the classroom. Consider your appearance and background when filming: what’s the non-verbal story you are telling?


  • Respect others’ privacy. What’s said in class stays in class. Be discreet with others’ personal details and opinions on sensitive issues.
  • Keep your microphone muted when you’re not speaking, and follow instructor guidelines about your video settings.
  • Ensure you are dressed appropriately for your online class.
  • Be aware of what your peers and instructor can see and hear when live or recording. Try using a neutral background.

Principle 3:



  • Read a message aloud to yourself to interpret the tone before sharing or sending.
  • Consider the student’s privacy before forwarding an individual student’s question to the whole class or using reply-all. Ask permission before sharing ideas/questions that they’ve only shared with you.
  • Set clear guidelines about expectations. Have students contribute to the norms of the group. Remind them frequently of these norms.
  • Encourage students to share their perspectives and to be curious about what others are trying to convey in their messages. Our Learning Charter, Educator Commitments
  • Be present. Contribute to the course discussions and correct errors or misconceptions with kindness.
  • Focus assessment on your course outcomes, not primarily students’ mechanical errors.
  • Plan for ways for students to collaborate in small groups, peer review, or engage with each other and be clear about how it will be assessed.


  • Use formal salutations. For example, use the greeting “Dear Professor [last name]” instead of “Hey”.
  • Include your full name and use your USask NSID email* when emailing your professor or anyone else in your course. Use a spelling and grammar checker.
  • Read your messages aloud before posting to help verify the intended meaning and identify basic errors in writing.
  • Find out from your instructor if they feel it is appropriate to use emoticons in communicating within the course.
  • Utilize course communication tools with discretion.
  • Remember that this is an online course, not social media; take care to approach your class respectfully. If a discussion or collaboration leads you to feel impassioned, slow down, and resist the temptation to post impulsively. Take some time to formulate your response.
  • Add value to the conversation and move the discussion forward by engaging in discussions that foster productive exchanging of knowledge and ideas. Our Learning Charter, Student Commitments

*Your default university email is based on your NSID, a unique combination of 3 letters and 3 numbers, followed by

Principle 4:



  • Ensure that you are appropriately using the works of others in your class in a way that is respectful of Canadian copyright law.
  • “If it was okay to do in class, it is often okay to do online; especially when online access is limited to the same enrolled students (for example via an LMS*).”  [Shifting Your In-Person Course to Online: Copyright Considerations]

*LMS - Learning Management System:  ie. Blackboard or Canvas


  • Do your research ahead of time so you don’t post misleading or incorrect information, and always reference your sources.
  • If you are unsure about copyright, visit the USask Copyright website to learn more and get help.

Comply with university expectations for appropriate conduct. None of the advice above, however, is to be construed as restricting your freedom to raise controversial issues or views within the context of an open, healthy and respectful dialogue.



Video created by: H. McWhinney and M. Boucher - USask
  • Netiquette detailed page for
    USask Instructors and Students:  
    PDF / Word
  • Netiquette Video (featured right) - Writing Skills Video Series, by Heather McWhinney and Martin Boucher, JSGS/SENS, University of Saskatchewan. Use this video resource to reflect on how you might personalize this information and create your own resource(s) regarding netiquette to share with your students.


Other Resources
Updated: July 2021


Creative Commons License This work by the University of Saskatchewan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0; International License.