Succeeding in an Online Course

Emoticons, Acronyms

The most important thing to understand about emoticons and acronyms is when it's OK to use them in class. Most instructors allow them in emails and chats, but not in more "academic" postings and papers. Be sure to check with your instructor to find out what is allowed in your class.

To express emotions during postings, people typically use Emoticons, or emotional icons. Emoticons are often used after sentences. For example, "I'll see you in the chatroom tomorrow." :-)

Some popular emoticons include:

:-) or : ) Smiley (most common)
;-) or ; ) Wink
:-o or : o Gasp
:-( or : ( Unhappiness

When in a chatroom or an email correspondence with someone, people typically use acronyms to shorten the amount they have to type.

Some popular acronyms include:

BTW: By the way
IMO: In my opinion
IMHO: In my humble opinion
FYI: For your information
ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
LOL: Laughing out loud
F2F: Face-to-face

If you want to learn more about effective communication online, read The Core Rules of Netiquette, as excerpted from the book, Netiquette, by Virginia Shea (courtesy of