Being Respectful in a Digital Learning and Working Environment

COVID-19 has radically changed our work and study arrangements across the University. As we all make the necessary adjustments and work hard from self-isolation to meet our study and professional demands it is more important than ever we treat each other respectfully and be inclusive when interacting online.

Online study and work can come in many forms:

  • Live streamed lectures or tutorials
  • Meetings via Zoom or other video conferencing software, or
  • Social media platforms such as Facebook, Yammer, Linked In
  • Group discussions on WesternLife, or
  • Email and messaging communication platforms.

A word that you will undoubtedly come across in an online communication space is ‘netiquette’. It refers to the written or unwritten rules that you should abide by when using online technology to interact with others. The following key elements are important to remember:

  • Be polite and avoid the use of bad, inappropriate, or offensive language
  • Respect others’ points of view
  • Be aware of cultural differences
  • Be careful with humour and sarcasm
  • When discussing other’s ideas, remember to thank them for their contribution
  • When using video, present and conduct yourself in a manner that you would in person
  • Be mindful of what is in view of the camera (background etc) and make sure it is appropriate (e.g. remove items or posters that may be offensive)
  • It is difficult to take something back once it’s shared online. If in doubt, leave it out.

As with face to face study and work, it is important that all members of the University community be familiar with the University’s Code of Conduct , Bullying, and Harassment policies. When communicating online be sure to show kindness, respect and inclusion towards all students and staff and remember that Western has zero tolerance for any form of bullying or harassment, in person and online. Help create an inclusive, respectful and safe learning and working environment for everyone.

Relevant Policies and Guidelines

Other Useful links