COVID- 19 Impact on Education: From Etiquette To Netiquette
Among the most significant aspects that organize our life and relationships between humans, there are etiquettes, which are conventional rules that guarantee the success of every rapport or commitment through which members of a community or a society share different roles and behaviours. The latter are supposed to be acceptable, satisfying, and mutual in order to achieve politeness, peace, and positivity.
Almost every field, regardless of its nature, is bound to a set of etiquettes — let’s say norms — that ‘govern’ and assure the fields’ dynamism. As a reason, such aspects that immensely impact our way of living and co-existing must be taught and delivered in schools so that students can familiarize themselves with such essential aspects of life. That is, the field of education is the most expected scene where etiquette should appear and also be used as well as solidified.
Shedding light on the field of education vis-à-vis life etiquettes will not only demonstrate what and how learners are learning about their society’s conventional rules, but also how the pedagogical relations among students and teachers are strong and tight because they are built on etiquettes more than anything else.
1. The Relationship between a teacher and his students:
Although some people, especially parents believe that teachers and students have got limited tasks, such as sharing knowledge, exchange it, and assess it during and at the end of the course, the relationship between a teacher, regardless what subjects they teach, and his students does not stop at only delivering and receiving the content of textbooks or doing and checking homework. However, there are more moral values, norms, ethics, and behaviours that affect the pedagogical relation between the two contributors in the teaching learning process. When teachers meet their students for the first time, they immediately establish what is called by ‘The Pedagogical Code’. Such Code consists of a set of rules or guidelines that are, themselves, Etiquettes to guarantee a successful teaching-learning process. Without this code, it is quite impossible to create a suitable learning environment or to cater for the learners’ needs. Among the Etiquettes that are essential to be achieved at school, especially by students is considering the ‘Upraised Hand’ Etiquette before speaking. This term originally belongs to ‘The School Culture’. The latter is borrowed from the field of Conversational Analysis, and reflects how learners are supposed to behave; e.g. to participate, speak, and communicate without harming the culture of school or classroom.
2. The Relationship among students and each other:
Etiquettes don’t only organize the nature of relationship between teachers and students, but also among students and each other. One simple example of etiquettes can be mentioned here which is to prevent making fun of learners’ weaknesses or ignorance. Sometimes, students embarrass each other when one or some of them has got a wrong answer or failed at a quiz or a test. In such cases, students need to learn how to respect each other mutually and encourage each other to learn and encounter their weaknesses.
Nowadays, our focus on education is getting more significant and noticeable because of the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on different and essential areas in general, and on the educational field in particular. As a result, education has become dependent on online and digital media to a great extent. The safest and most possible space that can be resorted to during the pandemic has been the online platforms that offer free and paid services to share, broadcast, and host online lectures, courses, and conferences.
Such shift from classroom learning to e-learning has impacted and changed the nature of those conventional rules, norms, and behaviours with which students were acquainted in classrooms before. As a result, the majority of students, who have had the chance to receive online education, especially through video conferencing, have ignored those norms and conventional behaviours they have learned when they were at school.
Attempting to provide insights into such phenomenon, it is highly relevant to refer to a shift that has occurred from a sort of etiquettes to another when e-learning has replaced the classroom learning. When mentioning e-learning, we can obviously no longer talk about etiquettes. Such term has to be transferred into Netiquette.
Before linking the new term Netiquette to education, it is important to look at one of the definitions of the term in the field of technology. According to Samantha Miller in her book E‑mail Etiquette: Do’s, Don’ts, and Disaster Tales from People, she defined ‘‘Netiquette is a blend of common sense, common courtesy, and dictates of the computer technology and culture established by internet users.’’ She added that ‘‘the norms of behaviour are adaptations of real life etiquette to the unique features of the online technology and environment.’’
We can spot two main key terms in Miller’s definition, which are Computer Technology Culture and Online Technology and Environment. These terms can explain the peculiar shift that has taken place from real life-based etiquettes to the internet etiquette, or what is technically referred to as Netiquette. According to such definition, it appears that students have found it challenging to abandon real-life settings etiquettes and adapt with the new Netiquettes.
As a conclusion to this discussion, it is beneficial to provide students and readers who are taking online classes and video conferencing with some basic guidelines that they may need to consider for a better learning, positive ‘online’ environment, and fruitful outcome.
1. Miller, S. (2001). E-Mail Etiquette: Do’s, don’ts, and disaster tales from People magazine’s internet manners expert. New York: Warner Books.