The etiquette for online meetings is far from established or widely known. To help learners know how to behave, publish a guide to participating in live events, something like this:
Guide to live learning events
Your class includes several live collaborative events. This guide will help you get the most out of them Please review it before the first live event.
Have something to say
Make comments that others want or need to read. If the conversation is lagging, contribute more. If it is full and flowing, make only your best comments.
Chat, not chitchat
Live events are learning tools. Keep conversations on the subject. Keep them professional.
Everybody hears what you say
Remember that everyone sees everything you type and anyone can save a copy. Do not type anything you do not want everyone to remember forever.
Do not greet all participants individually
When entering a conference or chat, do not greet every other participant one by one. A simple “Hi, all!” will do.
Address comments to a specific person
In conferencing, distinguish comments for a specific person from those for the whole group. Begin the comment with the name of the person you want to respond to it.
Indicate the subject of a comment
In chat, make clear which question you are answering, what point you disagree with, what problem you are solving. Just begin your comment with a few words identifying its target.
Re the costs, we can economize by …
Wait for people to finish speaking
Wait for someone to finish what they are saying. Do not interrupt. Wait for a signal that the other person is through.
Be patient with those with slow typing skills or who are a bit awkward speaking in cyberspace.
When you are through speaking, signal so. With the breakups and pauses introduced by network transmission, it may not be clear when one person has stopped speaking and is waiting for a reply. Radio operators, typically say “over” at the end of a comment to signal that they are passing control over to the other person. Do likewise. Tack on a closing phrase or comment.
I’d like to move on to the second step in the procedure. OK?
Now you know how I think. How do the rest of you feel about this issue?
Or, you can use trigger phrases: over, period, and full stop.
Radio operators often use the word “Roger” to signal that they received the previous message. Use a similar signal to tell others that you got the message and are preparing a reply.
If you are relying on barely intelligible audio, repeat the question or comment and ask the other person to confirm.
So, Kerry, you want to know if there are any other costs to the natural regeneration method, right?
If you need more time to think of a reply, say something like,
Let me think about that.
When a message is critical, require a confirmation. When the Capcom wants astronauts aboard the Shuttle to take an action he or she says something like, “Set your MPU36 switch to the off position, copy?” The word “copy” means “let me know that you understood the message.”
Similarly, when the speaker needs confirmation of a message in Chat:
Instructor: Let’s go to whiteboard, OK?
Learner A: OK
Learner B: Fine by me
Learner C: Yes
Instructor: Switching to whiteboard. See you there.
Over and out
Say good-bye. When you are ready to leave or end a conversation, give a clear signal. Tell others that you are leaving.
Thu: I think we have covered all the main points. Anyway I have to rush off to a meeting. Is there anything else that cannot wait?
Peter: Nope, I’m through too.
Maria: No, have a good meeting.
Thu: In that case bye!
Before ending a one-to-one conversation, wait for the other person to acknowledge your good-bye.