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Digital Literacy: Netiquette: Email

Develop skills and confidence to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in the digital world

Email at AECC University College

Email is one of the official forms of communication at AECC University College and you will be provided with an email account. Students are expected to check their email account for communications from teaching and professional services staff. You can set up a forward for your emails so they are directed to your personal account or use a dedicated app, see the Guide to Office 365 by IT which is available on Moodle (login required).

The guidelines on this page will assist you as you develop your professional communication skills, workshops are also run throughout the year, contact the Library and Learning Services Team for more details.

Communicate effectively using Email

Email is about communication, so clarity should be your goal:

  • Address the recipient of your email by their name, sending an email without this can appear rude depending on the context
  • Aim to keep emails short and to the point
  • Add a subject header that clearly reflects the content of the message
  • Make sure your message is clear to the reader (aim to read the email from their perspective before sending)
  • Sign your name to any email you send

Tip: If you are in close proximity to the person you want to email, why not pop and see them? You may achieve more.

Tone: make a positive impression 

  • It is considered impolite to use UPPER CASE typing in emails. UPPER CASE APPEARS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING
  • A better way to emphasise words in email correspondence is to use an asterisk (*) immediately before and after the words you want to stress. Careful placement of these asterisks can communicate subtle differences of meaning. For example, compare the difference in these 3 statements:

    *I* said that we should all go to the library for this assignment
    I said that we should *all* go to the library for this assignment
    I said that we should all go to *the library* for this assignment

  • Avoid text speak – Save L8R and ROFL for emails to friends. Use full sentences and punctuation
  • Proofread before you send an email, errors or misspellings will distract your readers, and won't give the most positive impression.
Courtesy and Professionalism

  • Courtesy is important. Consider the 'tone of voice' your words could imply, and avoid writing anything that could be construed as rude or curt
  • Check email regularly and reply promptly, or send a holding reply, where possible
  • Remember the Internet is a global community, and other peoples' values and outlook on life may be different from your own.  Be tolerant and careful with slang or phrases that may not be understood by the person reading the email
  • Ensure that emails target the correct audience. Select the recipient group with care and don't blanket email large groups inappropriately
  • Use the 'Reply to All' option sparingly; if your reply is only of interest to the sender, send it just to him or her
  • Do not send abusive, mean-spirited or heated messages. If you receive such an email, it is best to ignore it, or if you need to respond leave it a day before doing so
  • Avoid sarcasm in email as it is often misunderstood in an online environment.
Privacy and Information Governance

  • Take care with addressing email to ensure they go to the intended recipients
  • Be careful about forwarding an email sent to you by another as it may contain personal information, only forward it if necessary. Often, it will be best to check with the author before forwarding
  • Respect the privacy of others by not disclosing private email addresses or contact details 
  • People other than the addressee may see your message; compose it with that in mind
  • When emailing attached files (attachments) include the name and the format of the file in the body of the email. If attachments are large (typically media files), get your recipients' permission before sending to avoid filling their email inboxes
  • Always acknowledge text extracted from others and ensure you make clear any changes to other people's text, otherwise you may be plagiarising or misrepresenting them 
  • Don't assume any Internet communication is completely secure. Don't include in a email message anything you would not put on a postcard
  • Independently verify any suspect mail, as addresses can be forged
  • Emails are subject to English Law on written communication, including defamation, copyright, obscenity, fraudulent misrepresentation, freedom of information, and wrongful discrimination. The disclaimers often included at the foot of an email may offer no legal defence
  • Emails sent bearing your University College email address are equivalent to sending letter-headed University College correspondence. They reflect on the reputation of the University College and may be interpreted as representing its views.


Email Etiquette Quiz

Training on Netiquette

The Library and Learning Services Team run training sessions on Digital Literacy including netiquette, for more information contact the team.