avoiding misconduct at UNE online forums

Appropriate Behaviour in Online Forums

At UNE we are so lucky to have an online environment where we can all connect and learn together. However, it’s important that we are polite and respectful when communicating with fellow students and staff online – just as you would with them face-to-face!

Miscommunication can become a common occurrence when interacting via email, UNE Moodle forums, social media, and discussion boards. This is often because you can’t see a person’s face and body language when communicating online, and your message may be interpreted differently from how you wanted it to be perceived.

At UNE we have two policies that students are expected to follow when interacting with other students and staff. These include the Student Behavioural Misconduct Rules and Cyberethics at UNE – Guides for Students on Online Behaviour.

We regularly have had students come to us because of an incident they were involved in within an online environment, where a miscommunication has happened and sometimes rude or aggressive behaviour has occurred. Often these instances will involve one or more penalties being imposed on any student found to have committed behavioural misconduct. Such penalties range from a written apology to a major penalty such as expulsion – which neither of us wants to happen!

Tip: public social media networks and all UNE online communication forums including email can provide a permanent record of your comments – even if you think they are private.

The following are examples of the behaviours that can be deemed misconduct:

These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the UNE Student Behavioural Misconduct Rules.

  • Conduct involving acts or threats of violence, harassment, intimidation, or discrimination.
  • Providing information that is false.
  • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any University document, record, or instrument or identification.
  • Defamatory conduct which could be harmful to the reputation of peers or the University.
  • Theft or other abuse of UNE computer time or facilities.

To avoid instances of misconduct the following are some ways you can keep yourself and others safe when communicating online:

  • Use clear and concise language
  • Avoid typing in ALL CAPITALS. These can often be interpreted as shouting or aggressive behaviour.
  • Be cautious when using humour as this can often be lost online.
  • When sharing your screen, be sure to close any windows that you don’t want other people to see such as online banking and personal social media.
  • Make posts that are relevant to the topic.
  • Respect others’ opinions and try to avoid short responses such as “I disagree” without elaboration.
  • Do not make personal or insulting remarks.
  • Maintain formality when addressing teaching staff in emails.
  • Be patient in receiving a response.

Most importantly, remind yourself before pressing send if what you have written is something you would say to that person’s face, and if someone were to say that to you – how would you respond?

If you are unsure of the misconduct guidelines or if you feel as though you have been in a situation that has involved inappropriate online behaviour, please reach out to our team at Advocacy & Welfare. We are here to help!

Our team at Advocacy and Welfare offers confidential support to students! Contact us here.
Student Success has confidential counselling for students, you can find them here.
Lifeline is also a 24/7 hotline and you can call them on 13 11 14