The two documents below outline Netiquette standards for staff and for students.

Remember that you will need to adhere to the University General Conditions of Use of Computing and Network Facilities.

This document contains the University’s approach to netiquette, and provides guidance to staff and students on setting expectations and good online behaviour.

Standards of Netiquette for students

In this highly unusual year, engagement with staff and peers online will be an important part of your educational experience, so it’s worth reading this guidance to ensure everyone can make the most of online learning opportunities.

Guidance to students:


  • Make sure you have prepared a suitable space for your online lesson and be ready to start on time. Consider the use of appropriate virtual backgrounds.
  • Do not screen record sessions, take pictures of the screen or session using phones and other devices, unless you have specific permission to do so. Sessions will be made accessible to you.
  • When using the chat or discussion boards, do not post comments or do anything that might be considered disruptive, disrespectful, discriminatory against, or bullying and harassment of, another member of the University community.
  • Behave in your online teaching session as you would in face to face scenarios, refrain from inappropriate behaviour, language, and remarks
  • Dress appropriately when online, as you would for a face to face session
  • Do not share any web links to online sessions with anyone outside of the Class
  • Do not invite anyone else to share the session
  • Do remain engaged in the session, and when posting questions or comments in the chat or discussion board make your questions relevant, and any comments are constructive or helpful
  • Your Personal and Group Tutorial sessions will not be recorded.

Online sessions:

  • Always log in with your University credentials.
  • Your Lecturer will share expectations for the session with you including:
    • How and when to use chat and the raise hand function,
    • If using whiteboards, what to post to these as well as the language used in quizzes, particularly open choice
    • Whether or not you should mute your microphones unless speaking
    • Whether or not you should have your webcam on or off at the start of each session, you may always choose to switch them on voluntarily.
  • You must not write anything inappropriate in the chat area or breach the University’s rules on Student Conduct.
  • Respect other people’s contributions and ideas
  • If the session is being recorded you will be prompted to consent, if you do not wish to be recorded you may leave the session or you may continue to participate with your camera and microphone off.
  • Make members of your household aware when you are in a class or meeting online so that (as far as possible) you are not disturbed.

You can download a copy of the these guidelines: Standards of Netiquette for students (PDF - 281KB)

Standards of Netiquette for staff

Taught sessions online provide a valuable opportunity for students to ‘see’ members of staff and their peers in these highly unusual circumstances. In the absence of oncampus sessions, the quality of online interactions will become very important for our students, so it’s worth ensuring that all participants are agreed on the basics.

Guidance to staff:


  • There are a number of UoB platforms available for online engagement with students. The latest guidance on recommended platforms is available on the HEFi website.
  • Only use your registered UoB accounts for all online engagement with students
  • When setting up your session, ensure that you can restrict access to the session by using the waiting room facility in Zoom or Canvas Conferencing and the lobby facility in Teams.
  • Ensure that synchronous sessions run at the timetabled time. Any changes should be shared with students ahead of the scheduled event.
  • Address any disruptive or discriminatory comments or behaviour that amount to bullying and harassment of another member of the group and remind all students of the need to be respectful in their comments, and behaviour.
  • Close all unnecessary applications to avoid notifications popping up during the session; if an application is required then disable to pop up function. Before sharing your screen, close all sensitive tabs and documents.
  • Sessions should be conducted in a suitable space and ensure that backgrounds do not contain anything personal or inappropriate. You may wish to consider the use of suitable virtual backgrounds
  • Group and Personal Tutorials should not be recorded.
  • This document should be read alongside the new guidance on “safeguarding students aged under 18 (U18) in the context of online learning” and updated advice for “recognising and referring” students who are in distress or may need additional support. The guidance is available on this Canvas page.

Online sessions:

  • In your first session, discuss online etiquette and what you expect from students in terms of behaviour; e.g.
    • How and when to use chat and raise hand function, remind students that they come up in first-come-first served sequence.
    • If using whiteboards, what to post to these as well as the language used in quizzes, particularly open choice
    • Inform students they should mute their microphones unless speaking
    • Inform students they can choose to have their webcams on or off
  • Always record your teaching sessions so that students unable to attend can access the recording. Advise students that the session is being recorded, and that they will be prompted to provide their consent to be recorded in a session.
    (It is permissible to stop a recording where the content of the session becomes personal or inappropriate. Where a lecturer declines to record a taught session, they should provide an acceptable alternative.) 
  • If a student does not wish to be recorded they may leave the session or may continue to participate with their camera and microphone off.
  • It is expected that as tutor for the session, your camera should normally be on unless there is a very good reason otherwise (exceptions must be discussed with and agreed by your Head of School).
  • Where cameras are on, staff and students should wear appropriate clothing; i.e. as is typical in a face-to-face lecture/classroom context. If, in the lecturers reasonable opinion the student is dressed inappropriately, the staff member may require the student to switch off their camera.
  • If using chat, provide guidance about what is appropriate to post in chat and monitor the chat stream and respond to points/questions raised. It is recommended that you turn off private chat in online sessions. Ensure you know how to disable the chat function if content becomes inappropriate.
  • If you use breakout rooms, inform students that you may monitor all the rooms rather than remain in one.
  • You should ensure you check for virtual raised hands if being used during the session and make sure they are acknowledged even if you don’t go to them straight away
  • Session content, including chat files and/or recordings, it will be shared in accordance with the privacy notice, and will not be shared outside of the university without the permission of attendees.

You can download a copy of the these guidelines: Standards of Netiquette for staff (PDF - 305KB).