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Conduct Online

All participants in the forums are expected to follow the Student Charter, Computing Code of Conduct and the Code of Practice for Student Discipline. Please:

  • treat others with courtesy and respect
  • appreciate that some students have less experience than others and all volunteers should feel comfortable to take part in discussion
  • safeguard confidentiality and personal security
  • understand and respect copyright.

Courtesy and Confidentiality

Treat others with the same courtesy and respect as you would in a face-to-face conversation. This is an academic community and you should feel free to be controversial and outspoken with your ideas but never offensive or hurtful.

  • Don’t engage in commercial activity.
  • Moderators can and will remove content that they decide is unsuitable.


Useful information about forums is available in the Computing Guide and from the Student Help Centre.

Here are some more suggestions for effective message posting:

  • Update your online profile and make it available for others to see, being careful not to include sensitive data.
  • Be brief. Several short posts have more impact than one long message. Write in a natural and informal style but take a moment to check grammar and spelling. Use the spellchecker.
  • Online messages are sometimes misunderstood because facial expression can’t be seen. It can help to use emoticons to indicate the nuances of your message. You’ll find the emoticons on the Edit page when you are composing your message.
  • When you reply to a message you can set the scene by quoting part of the original message. Make it easy for readers to see what you have done by putting quoted text between double angle brackets, << and >>.
  • If you quote from an external source always credit the original author as you would in other academic writing.
  • It’s fine to use standard abbreviations but don’t write whole messages using the abbreviations used in texting.
  • Don’t write in capital letters because it can look as though you are shouting, and it’s harder to read.
  • Make your posts in the right thread.
  • When you start a new discussion, create a subject line that helps readers understand the topic quickly. If you introduce a new topic in an existing discussion, alter the subject line to signal the change.
  • If replying to a particular person in a forum, begin your post with an @ sign followed by their name. You can even make this the new subject line, which is very useful if you are just thanking someone. A subject line like ‘@Anna – thanks!’ says it all, without needing anything in the message.

OU Policies and Guidelines


See the University’s online learning system complaints procedure if you believe the online code of conduct or the online content policy have been violated.