Student resources

Respectful behaviour in online courses

What you need to know.

As members of the UM community, we are all expected to treat each other with respect both in person and within online spaces, including while using UM Learn, social media, chat, messaging and other apps.


Being part of the UM community means you have both rights and responsibilities. You have the right feel safe while on campus and in all online or virtual interactions. There are  policies put in place to help protect your physical and emotional safety. Violence, threats, and bullying are not tolerated. We also have policies to protect against discrimination and harassment based on characteristics listed in the Manitoba Human Rights Code, and other kinds of unfair treatment. If you experience any type of harassment or discrimination, please talk to someone.


With rights, comes responsibilities. You have the responsibility to respect others, and to know the rules and expectations around appropriate conduct, both in person and online. Behaviour that contributes to an unsafe learning and work environment for students, instructors, and staff may be subject to the Non-academic misconduct and/or the Respectful Work and Learning Environment policy and procedures. Anyone in a leadership role at the U of M has the responsibility to ensure that a climate of respect is followed. This means that instructors, Department Heads or Deans have a responsibility to intervene in situations where a student is engaging in conduct that is disrespectful. Students are encouraged to report behaviour they experience or witness to an individual or office they feel safe reporting to.


Respectful communication and conduct applies to all online application and social media platforms. Private chat groups are not exempt. Taking part in remote lectures, and connecting with fellow students and instructors via email or chat groups poses some new considerations to be aware of, ensuring that you are following U of M’s expectations around respectful and appropriate behavior in these online interactions.

Consider the following and think carefully before posting anything online. Ask yourself:

  • Who might see this? If screen captured, it can be shared beyond the intended audience.
  • Could someone feel disrespected by it?
  • Could this be misinterpreted?

While participating in online lectures, video discussions, observe the following:

  • Understand your instructors expectations about behaviour, check the course outline, clarify your understanding
  • Dress appropriately for online classes
  • Mute your audio while not speaking
  • Use your proper name
  • Raise your hand
  • Respect applies to words, text, photos and memes — choose wisely

When emailing instructors:

  • Use proper language. Address your instructors using their preferred title. Include your full name and student number
  • Be Patient. It will take time to receive replies to your emails. Learn what your instructors response time is. This may be in the course outline, or they may tell you this during the first class. For example, some instructors will reply within 24 hours, or 48 hours. Some instructors may not reply over weekends. Do not send multiple messages with the same question in a short period of time. Sending many email messages will not result in a quicker response, and may actually be considered disrespectful to your instructor, or disruptive behaviour under university policies.
  • Be Proactive. If issues come up, let someone know right away so you can seek timely advice. Don’t leave important questions or concerns to the last minute. When people are stressed, in a rush, or feeling emotional, it is not a good time to be drafting an email message. We are more likely to say something without thinking it through, and it may be received in a disrespectful, offensive, or even aggressive way.
  • Remember, intention, emotion, and non-verbal cues are missing from email communication. Unless the person knows you or your personality well, a sarcastic comment or joke may come across as rude, disrespectful or offensive. Avoid using these in your email communications to instructors and staff on campus, and keep your messages clear and professional.

Netiquette - For remote and online learning

  • Be scholarly. Use appropriate language, grammar, and spelling. Provide thoughtful explanations, justify your opinions, and credit the ideas of others by citing or linking to scholarly resources.
    Please avoid misinforming others when an answer is unknown. If you are guessing, clearly state that you don’t have all the information.
  • Be professional. Represent yourself well. Be truthful and accurate. Write in a legible font, limit the use of emoticons, and check your spelling and grammar.
    Please avoid using profanity and participating in hostile interactions.
  • Be respectful. Respect the privacy of others. Respect diversity and opinions that differ from your own. Communicate tactfully and base disagreements on scholarly ideas or research evidence.
    Please avoid sharing another person’s professional or personal information.
  • Be polite. Address others by their name or appropriate title. Be mindful of your written tone. Interact online politely, just as would be expected in a face-to-face situation.
    Please avoid using sarcasm, being rude, and writing in all capital letters (shouting).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work was adapted from Arizona State University:

3 R's to Success

In this presentation, we will give you the information and tools that you need to understand the expectations of all members of the University community in an online learning environment.

Where to go for help

There are many services and resource that are available if you are looking for more information and/or want to talk to someone about behaviour that you have experienced.

Course instructor – check your course outline for information about expectations in the classroom, in person and online. Let your instructor know if you observe concerning behaviour. 

Academic advisor – Your academic advisor is available to help and refer you to appropriate services and support.

Student Advocacy –is a safe place for students help to navigate university processes and advocate for your rights as a student 

Sexual Violence Resource Centre – provides support, resources, information and referral services for any student, faculty or staff member who has been affected by sexual violence.

Human Rights and Conflict Management – help with understanding options for making a complaint as well as help mediating conflict

Indigenous Student Centre – students advisors and elders are available to provide safe and culturally relevant support for First Nation, Inuit and Metis students

International Student Centre – student advisors are available to provide support to international students

Student Counselling Centre – offers range of counselling supports

On campus safety – find about safety programs and support through Security Services

Social Media Security - Information Services and Technology has created this page with tips to keep your privacy secure on social media.

Access and Privacy Office - can provide information about the policies that govern access to personal information, both electronic as well as hard‐copy.

Community policies

Respectful conduct information for faculty and staff

Presentations and workshops for students

The following offices can provide you with resources and/or deliver presentations on specific topics.

Contact us

Office of the Vice-Provost (Students)
Room 208 Administration Building
66 Chancellor's Circle
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada