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The implementation stage reflects the continuous modification of the module/programme to ensure that it can be delivered effectively. To mitigate against issues at this stage, it is recommended if there is an opportunity to pilot the module before delivery to the entire cohort of learners and make any adjustments necessary.  At this stage you should primarily consider how best you can support online learners for the duration of the delivery of the blended/online module/programme. 

The role of the online lecturer and their support of online learners is crucial to the success of online learning. For those that are new to teaching online and are required to rapidly adapt their face-to-face module for blended/online there is often an initial temptation to try to replicate existing practice in an online format. This is not recommended; it necessitates a redesign for online delivery. Posting learning materials to an online learning environment is relatively straightforward, but engaging learners effectively, maintaining their interest and scaffolding learning requires us to pay particular attention to learner interaction and teaching presence in the online environment. 

Learners require various types of support  i.e. academic, emotional/social and technical)  to guide them in their online learning environment, ensuring they feel connected and part of a learning community. The following  resources  focus on how lecturers/tutors can provide this support to online learners;

Netiquette for Online Learning

Netiquette, the etiquette of the online environment, refers to good practice for online communication, participation and interaction. Practicing good netiquette, can facilitate effective learning as part of an online community of learners and can help to minimise misunderstandings online.

UCD Dignity and Respect policy applies to all members of the university community and should be abided by in the online environment.   The Student Code of Conduct sets out the standards of behaviour the University expects of its students, underpinned by the principles of respect, responsibility and academic integrity.  In addition, it is advisable for programme/module coordinators to agree and share a set of netiquette guidelines with students which will assist them in participating and learning online.

This resource outlines key netiquette guidelines to consider for online learning. It provides fundamental principles of netiquette and more specific netiquette guidelines for the virtual classroom/online meetings, discussion forums/chat and email. These guidelines are applicable to all learning that is offered in web-enhanced, blended or fully online learning formats.

Principles of Netiquette

Three fundamental principles of netiquette include: being respectful to others, writing effectively and learning collaboratively, some examples of each are outlined below.

Be respectful

  • Be considerate of each other; communication should be well-intentioned and well-articulated, and aimed at fostering a positive learning environment.
  • Be professional and courteous in all online interactions, even if there are differences of opinion.
  • Be careful using humour or sarcasm online as it can be misconstrued or taken literally.
  • Avoid confronting or offending others.

Write Effectively

  • Stay on topic and write succinctly.
  • Use subject titles (email/discussion posts) meaningfully.
  • Be mindful of how your written message may be interpreted, try to maintain a fair and objective tone.
  • Use correct spelling and grammar and proper sentence structure and punctuation.
  • Acknowledge original author and cite all quotes and references.

Learn collaboratively

  • Get involved, participate and contribute to activities. 
  • Acknowledge the contributions of others and include everyone in your group.
  • Ask questions, listen and read.
  • Be constructive and helpful in your feedback to peers.  

Netiquette Guidelines

The following are some netiquette guidelines that as a module coordinator/lecturer you may find useful to share with students.


As a module coordinator/lecturer you should inform students how your virtual classroom sessions will run, what platform you are using, how they can access it and if it will be recorded.  In addition, you should advise students what they will be expected to do to prepare for your online class. You may find useful to share the following guidelines with students to assist them in preparation for virtual sessions or online meetings:


  • Sit in a quiet space so you can concentrate, and minimise all distractions around you.
  • Use headphones if possible as this provides better audio quality. 
  • Ensure you are dressed appropriately, as you would dress for a face-to-face class.
  • Be on time. 
  • Prior to the session, check your technical setup and internet connection. Make sure you have tested your microphone, speakers and camera before the class is due to start and that you are using an up to date browser. Google Chrome is the recommended browser for connecting to virtual classroom sessions.
  • Use your real name (i.e. first and last name) when joining the virtual classroom/online meeting if this is not automatic.
  • In advance of attending the virtual classroom, complete any homework, readings or learning activities as directed by your module coordinator so you can fully participate.

As a module coordinator/lecturer you should inform students how you expect them to participate and interact with you and their peers in the virtual classroom. You should establish protocols with your students to include the use of audio, video and how they will ask questions. These should also encourage the use of interactive features (where applicable) i.e. polling, use of chat box, whiteboard and breakout rooms (for group work). You may find useful to share the following guidelines with your students to assist them in participating effectively in virtual classes or online meetings:


  • Your lecturer will advise you whether your audio and video should be switched on or off during a session and how you are expected to participate in the virtual classroom and interact with your peers.
  • Mute your microphone, unless you are speaking. This helps reduce background noise, and makes it easier for everyone to hear.
  • Keep your camera off, unless you are speaking or your lecturer has advised you to leave it on for participating in group work/breakout rooms. Turning the camera off helps to reduce the bandwidth needed to run the virtual classroom.
  • If your lecturer has enabled it, click the ‘raise hand’ icon if you have a question or comment. This lets your lecturer know you wish to speak and when directed you can unmute your microphone.
  • If your lecturer has enabled it, you can also type comments or questions that can be seen by everyone in the ‘chat box’
  • Ask questions and interact as much as possible. If there are group activities (in breakout rooms) to be successful you need to fully participate with your peers as directed by your lecturer.
  • Don’t use other applications not relevant to class on your device during class time (e.g. social media, games or chat apps).
  • During a session, if you need to step away for a few minutes indicate you are doing that.


Further information

The following are some netiquette guidelines that you may find useful to share with your students to assist them participating in discussion forums or online text chat:

  • Before you post, consider the instructions you have received from your module coordinator i.e. what are the requirements, to create a new post or reply to existing thread, is there a time frame that you are expected to post within.
  • Before you post, read other posts, check if one of your peers have already asked the question and received a reply.
  • Stay on topic, do not post irrelevant comments or links.
  • Be brief, write succinctly, if you write long responses they might not be read.
  • Don’t write anything sarcastic and be careful with the use of humour, without hearing your tone this can be easily misinterpreted.
  • Avoid using CAPS, as online this may be perceived as ‘shouting’ or that you are angry.
  • Respect the opinions of your peers, if you disagree do so respectfully explaining why and provide evidence to support your point.
  • If you wish to refer to something one of your peers has said quote a few lines from their post so others know what you are referring to
  • Run a spelling and grammar check before posting, always write using complete words and sentences.


Further Information: 

The following are some netiquette guidelines that you may find useful to share with your students to assist them utilising email effectively:

  • If you receive an email or message from a UCD staff member, make sure to read it carefully and follow up or respond if requested.
  • When emailing staff, ensure you always use your UCD connect email. Include your student ID, full name and preferred name, and your programme/module.
  • If your module coordinator has provided an FAQs online forum for the  module consider if it is appropriate to post there rather than emailing your lecturer directly. If your query is specific to your module make sure you check first the module information and FAQs forum in case this information is already available.

Further information

Teaching Online and Supporting Online Learners

Adapted from the five stage model of e-moderating (Salmon, 2011), this resource presents the multifaceted role of the online lecturer where they are required to scaffold, facilitate and moderate online learning while simultaneously providing various types of support to online learners.

We present below the following five stages of blended/online delivery; Module Access/Induction, Online Socialisation, Information Exchange, Knowledge Construction; Facilitating Learning, Synthesise and Assessment.

You can expand the sections below for guidelines and advice in context to each stage of delivery pertaining to your role as online lecturer/tutor, the support your online learners may require and suggested examples of tools/technologies that can assist you.

Lecturers’ (and/or tutors’) RoleSupporting Online Learners
  • Pre-module; ensure your module is clearly setup in Brightspace with module units/sections/topics clearly structured.
  • Pre-module; ensure all learning activities and assessments are purposeful and relevant and aligned to the module learning outcomes.
  • Establish your online presence, welcome learners, introduce yourself/teaching team, outline your role
  • Provide an induction to the module to familiarise learners with module structure and navigation
  • Provide a module schedule to learners with key dates and deadlines
  • Provide learners with clear guidance on engagement and participation expectations
  • Let learners know how you will support and respond to queries (including time frames i.e. within 48hours)
  • Provide learners with clear guidance on the assessment strategy including links to assignments
  • Check for any access issues, compare your registered class list with that in Brightspace module, email instructions directly to those who cannot access initially.
  • Provide a module FAQs forum to support any initial technical issues, module structural/navigation issues, any online learning challenges and queries on any participation requirements.
  • Ensure learners are aware of a point of support for more complex technical issues i.e. IT Services helpdesk or local support if available.
Examples of tools/technologies:
Lecturers’ (and/or tutors’) RoleSupporting Online Learners
  • Facilitate online learner introductions and ice-breaker and socialisation activities to support interaction with fellow learners
  • Maintain an active online presence within the online learning environment, utilising brightspace to communicate effectively making students feel part of the module.
  • Establish the foundations of a community of learners, create a sense of connection between learners, create environment that promotes interaction and collaboration.
  • Provide clear updates guiding learners i.e. what they should do this week, what they are expected to do next week highlighting ‘essential’ activity/assignments deadlines.
  • Establish a consistent schedule, share with learners if possible at start of module, try to regulate when you will release learning materials and activities.
  • Encourage learners to upload a brightspace profile picture.
  • Highlight to learners the classlist, where they will see all fellow learners enrolled in the module, their photos and contact details.
  • Continue to respond to module FAQs forum but also encourage learners to respond to each other's queries.
  • Offer regular virtual ‘office hours’ ensuring that learners are able to interact with you in real time (synchronously) if they require direct support.
  • If there are specific tools that are required in the module point this out to student in good time  and provide support regarding same i.e. virtual classroom, assignment submission, tools to facilitate group work etc.
Examples of tools/technologies:
Lecturers’ (and/or tutors’) RoleSupporting Online Learners
  • Ensure a range of learning materials and resources are available,  accessible and clearly signposted throughout the duration of the module (i.e. provide different modes such as pre-recorded lectures, videos, documents, images, concept maps, etc) 
  • Ideally utilise any linked materials that may offer authentic (real world) examples e.g. case studies, data sets, reports, news articles, research papers etc.
  • Continue to ensure learning activities are explicitly linked to the assessment process to drive engagement with formative assessment opportunities prior to summative assignments.
  • For generic queries answer through FAQs forum in case other learners are experiencing similar issues and encourage elearners to answer each others queries too
  • Monitor and support learner engagement, checking in with any learners who are not present or engaging
  • Continue to maintain an online presence and ensure students know your availability i.e. virtual office hours, answering FAQs forum where appropriate
Examples of tools/technologies:
Lecturers’ (and/or tutors’) RoleSupporting Online Learners
  • Facilitate through group and peer activities ensuring learning that supports a range of options; for individuals, cooperative work and collaborative activities.
  • Avoid direct interventions with the ‘right answers’ but instead stimulate debate and offer ideas and prompt
  • Facilitate both ongoing feedback and opportunities for students to self-monitor
  • Continue to utilise checklists as a means to prompt and guide learners to achieve and complete activities
  • Continue to foster a community of learners by remaining present and continuing to offer any support required for successful completion of learning activities.
  • Continue to monitor engagement in group activities checking in with any learners who are not engaging.
Examples of tools/technologies:
Lecturers’ (and/or tutors’) RoleSupporting Online Learners
  • Continue to offer learners support through virtual office hours/Q&A forum, at this point the focus may be on assessment activities
  • Remind/reiterate to students assessment requirements/timelines
  • Provide feedback to learners where appropriate
Examples of tools/technologies:

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