Discussion forums

The discussion forums in your topics are for the discussion of issues relating to your topic and you are encouraged to use them.

Discussion forums:

  • provide you with an opportunity to meet other students online and learn from them
  • can be a helpful tool to challenge your thinking, and share experiences and insights
  • can help develop a sense of community.

Some forums are for general use, for you to raise and discuss relevant matters of your choice. Others may require you to discuss specific topics, and may be assessed.

All forums will be monitored by your topic coordinator and/or lecturer at least weekly but they may not actively participate in all discussions. If you have concerns to raise with the topic coordinator or if you want them to answer a question privately, please contact them by email or telephone or make an appointment to visit them in their office.

Appropriate online behaviour

The discussion forum space is an extended classroom with similar expectations concerning behaviour. Be aware of your audience - anything you contribute to a forum can be read by your peers, your lecturers and, in certain circumstances, other University officials.

A discussion forum is a powerful communication tool with immediate impact and, because it is written, the nuances of face-to-face conversation (such as facial expression and tone of voice) are absent. Therefore, the effect of your words may be different from what you intended.

To use the discussion forums wisely and effectively:

  • be respectful and polite:
    • be cordial, honest and professional at all times
    • respect others' points of view
    • be positive
    • be sensitive to cultural differences
    • don't SHOUT (writing in capitals seems like shouting)
    • stay on topic and let others have a say
    • don't 'flame' other contributors (flaming is attacking another or being harsh or hostile)
  • read and think before you write:
    • understand the context before entering a discussion
    • ask yourself whether there is a good reason to join the discussion
    • think about what you want to say before you begin to write
  • be credible and responsive:
    • be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent
    • know your facts and cite your sources
    • make your communications constructive
    • encourage constructive criticism and deliberation
    • keep your entries legal - plagiarism or any other cheating is not allowed
    • write clearly and proofread your message before you hit the 'send' button
    • if you make a mistake, admit it and be quick with your correction
    • when you gain insight, share it where appropriate.

More information

All Flinders University policies and regulations, legal responsibilities and behavioural expectations apply in the discussion forum.

Adapted from a guide compiled by the School of Nursing and Midwifery.


Social media

Assume that everything you post is public.

  • There is no such thing as a ‘private’ social media platform. As a general rule, assume that anything you post will be public and will not be seen solely by your friends, followers or connections.

The same behavioural standards, policies and expectations apply to social media.

  • Be polite. Do not post offensive, threatening or abusive comments about your colleagues, peers, fellow students, lecturers/tutors and associates, or engage in inappropriate behaviour.
  • Respect copyright.
  • Posts and behaviours within social media spaces (including those used for personal purposes) that breach the University’s policies on bullying, equal opportunity and harassment, and related codes of conduct and obligations, can be subject to disciplinary actions.

Think before you post.

  • Be aware of liability and reputation.You are personally responsible for your own posts and can be held liable. Consider what impact a post (personal or otherwise) may have on your reputation, another person’s reputation and the University’s reputation when seen by others.

Ensure that any use of social media representing Flinders University is authorised.

  • You must be authorised to post on behalf of the University or set up accounts representing the University, or any part of the University. The Flinders University logo must only be used for approved, authorised use.

Protect privacy and security.

  • Always check what mechanisms are available within the social media platform you are using to set your desired level of privacy but do not rely solely on these. Do not post any personal information about yourself that may compromise your safety and security. Do not post or publicly request any information that will compromise the privacy and security of others.

Respect the University’s IT resources and time.

Consider your professional/academic and personal profile.

  • Social media blurs the lines between your professional/academic and personal life. What you post, how you behave and who you connect and engage with in a personal social media space can impact on your professional/academic life and reputation. You should understand the main purpose of each social media platform (eg LinkedIn vs Facebook) you choose to use and its role in your professional and personal life, and act accordingly.
  • Establish ground rules on what you will post, who you will connect with and how you engage with others in these spaces. Staff and student engagement on social media must comply with the University’s Staff/Student relationships policy, principles and procedures.