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Online Etiquette in Sociology

The practices of courtesy and respect that apply to working with any group extend to online spaces and interactions; however, given that we cannot see each other at all or so well when working online, these practices may require even more attention.

By enrolling on this course, you agree to abide by the Sociology online etiquette guidelines. Please note that any serious or persistent breaches of these netiquette guidelines may result in disciplinary action.

These guidelines should be read alongside:

  • The University Principles and Values, which set out expectations of how we behave as a University community, both as individuals and as an institution;
  • The Dignity at Warwick Policy, which outlines unacceptable behaviours and the process on reporting and dealing with inappropriate behaviour;
  • The student disciplinary offences, which details the ways in which all students are subject to the jurisdiction of the Vice-Chancellor and the Senate in respect to their studies and their conduct in both face-to-face and online interactions; 

For all online interactions be they verbal or written:

Everyone in our community has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their status, rank, grade, belief or any protected characteristic. Whilst we uphold freedom of expression, ensuring the right of people to express views (within the law) that are unpopular or controversial, we do not accept those views being expressed in ways which do not respect others. Any derogatory or inappropriate comments in an online interaction are unacceptable and are subject to the same disciplinary action that they would receive if they occurred anywhere else within the University.

Please note that any comments made in the chat function on Microsoft Teams can be read by all participants (i.e. to all those invited to the meeting) whether they happen to be in the meeting or not both during and after the session in question.

Offensive postings in other online platforms may be removed.

Recording of online sessions

The department do not give permission for seminars to be recorded.

The University recognises that recording can form a reasonable adjustment for students with disabilities under the Equality Act 2010. If you have a requirement for a recording or other learning opportunities in order to make the information more accessible to you due to a disability or learning difference, please contact Disability Services or the University Mental Health Co-ordinators for advice on ways the University can support you on disability@warwick.ac.uk or mentalhealth@warwick.ac.uk . If Disability Services or the University Mental Health Co-ordinators have notified your department that recording lectures will support your learning, you will not need to seek the permission of the lecturer before the lecture begins, but recordings must not be distributed in any format. Policy on Recording of Lectures by Students.

Engage & raise questions as well as offering answers

Your questions and comments will help others and taking part in discussions – by they in synchronous sessions or through discussion boards – will help you to learn. It is often the case that when as learners we encounter a problem, it is the experience of peers that is most valuable. Remember that you come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a range of different experiences and perspectives. This means that all of you will have something to contribute and a lot to learn from each other.

Engagement in synchronous teaching sessions:

Listen to others

It is important to wait until someone has finished speaking before you interject. In Microsoft Teams we encourage you to use the “raise your hand” function so that the tutor can invite people to speak in an order that allows for a range of voices to be heard.

The video function

We recognise there are many good reasons why students may want to turn their videos off. In turn, while we encourage people to turn their videos on during online meetings and synchronous seminars, this is not a requirement.

If your video is on, please minimise background distractions: try to avoid movement and bright lights behind you and consider blurring your background.

Minimise background noise

Anyone in group meetings of more than 5 people should mute their microphone when not speaking so as to minimise background interference. Please also find a quiet place to sit or use a headset so as to ensure that everyone can hear your contributions when your microphone is not muted.

Be aware of, and sensitive to, neuro-diversity

Neuro-diversity refers to a range of lifelong cognitive, social and behavioural differences including Autistic Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. Research has shown that for most neurodiverse users online meetings (including teaching sessions) require cognitive and emotional processing well in excess of face-to-face interactions, which impacts their ability to sustain interactions.

In turn, to ensure that online interactions are as enjoyable and engaging as possible for all participants it is even more important that you minimise background noise and distractions. For powerpoint presentations consider using an accessible template.

For written contributions, for example, through the chat function on Microsoft Teams or Moodle discussion boards:

Use clear and concise language

When composing your messages, aim to express your thoughts clearly and concisely. Avoid acronyms/abbreviations, and text speak or slang, which others will not be familiar with.

Remember that others cannot see your face

Be careful when using humour or sarcasm as it can easily give offence, especially when you cannot see facial expressions. Help others 'see' you by explaining your ideas fully. Keep caps lock use to a minimum as IT CAN MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING.

Remember there is a person who will be reading your message

Ask for feedback if you are not sure how your ideas and comments will be taken. Visual clues are often lacking in online communication, electronic messages can easily seem harsher than they are intended to be. If you disagree with what someone has said, please bear this in mind as you express that disagreement. 'Flaming', or ranting at someone else, is not acceptable and any such postings will be removed. If you think you have been offended by someone please do not 'flame' in your response, as this makes things unpleasant for the whole group. You can take the matter up with your tutor or lecturer, who will help you to resolve it.

Use paragraphs to break up your text

Even relatively short messages can be difficult to read online unless they are broken up.

We hope that in following these guidelines we can ensure a safe, respectful, and high-quality blended education experience for all students in the Department.

Agreement
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Privacy statement

This form will be used to ensure that all students read and adhere to the PAIS online etiquette policy. Your response will be recorded and associated with your full name, ID number and ITS user code, but no other personally identifiable data will be stored, and the data will not be used for any purpose other than as a record of your agreement. 

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