COMPUTER ETIQUETTE

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.

ALL CAPS

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.

PARAGRAPHING

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.

ADDRESSEE

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.

PROOFREADING

Please reread your entries before you post them. 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.

E-MAIL

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.

TOPICALITY

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.