The following "rules" will
make for a more helpful and inclusive conference community. They are generally common sense ideas that you probably already use when you communicate both in person and by writing notes or letters. Please read them carefully and strive to be as thoughtful as possible in your use of this medium.
Above all else, remember that you're not writing to a computer, but to
and for your peers. They are real people with real thoughts and feelings. It is dangerously easy to forget that though we may be separated by time and space, we are still a
community of sorts, at least for the duration of this semester.
Though it may be easier to simply
hit the caps lock key and bang away, messages in all caps are routinely
interpreted as expressing anger in internet communications. So if
you are not angry, do not type in all caps. If you are angry,
count to ten, take a walk, and then write your entry.
This is another one that is easy to
forget. When you write, paragraphs serve to organize your ideas and present
them more clearly to your readers. Reading material on line can be
hard on the eyes, especially if you are using a monitor that has seen
better days in the last century. Paragraphing serves to make the
physical act of reading a bit easier for your reader.
If you are responding to a specific entry
made by one of your classmates or one of the TA's or professors, make
sure that you make this clear in your entry. Sometimes, it is a
good idea to "address" your audience specifically. Doing so will
avert misunderstandings and confusion, usually, by most people,
considered a good idea.
Please reread your entries before you
The Webboard program includes a built-in
spell checker. Please make use of it. Sloppy spelling,
punctuation, diction, and syntax indicate a lack of interest or
intelligence and are so interpreted by most readers.
The Webboard program allows you the option of
suppressing your E-mail so that your fellow students cannot send you
unsolicited E-mail. You can select this option on the profile screen
on the More" option. If you do allow your E-mail to be posted with
your entries, students are free to communicate with you via E-mail. If
one of your fellow students violates this courtesy by sending malicious
E-mail, immediately contact your instructor and the situation will be dealt
with in a decisive manner. Sending malicious E-mail is grounds for being
denied access to the Webboard and that carries with it significant penalties
that can only adversely affect your grade. A second offense will
result in the student sending the e-mail being dropped from the course with
a failing grade.
Because your conference was set up for
use with a specific course
FOR CREDIT here at UTEP, it is not a sandbox where you can write
whatever you happen to think or feel. It was created as a place for you
to discuss ideas that directly (to a greater or lesser extent) deal with
the class. Keep your entries topical and use your knowledge of the
texts to help you make your points. We are not against "free speech",
quite the opposite. We are very much in favor of it. But "Free Speech"
means that you are free to take complete responsibility for what you've
said. If your entries do not relate to the course, do not expect credit
for them. If they are silly and meaningless, expect others to ignore
you, or even ask you your point.
Consider the conference a symposium or study group. It is open-ended
and EVERYONE will end up learning. Feel free to make connections to
life, the universe and everything...but remember that this is a course
at a university. Free Speech is not "meaningless speech", nor is it
graffiti tossed up on a computer screen.
Participation in your conference is potentially one of the most exciting
and intellectually rewarding things you will do in your academic career.
Take advantage of it! It is a lot of fun.