Communicate and collaborate online

Aims and objectives

This module will:

  • explore the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of online communication
  • examine tools for communicating and collaborating online.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • communicate effectively, respectfully and safely in interactive online environments
  • evaluate and select different tools for communicating and collaborating online.

5. Online issues and conflict

Anything online is forever

Often the message is that we should behave online the way we would in real life. For many of us, though, the reality is that we should behave better online than we would in real life! Why? You might never be able to fully erase anything you post, share or say online and you could face consequences now or in the future. The eProfessionalism module has more information about your "digital footprint".

Reasons to be careful about what you share online:

Read about these real situations:

Why people behave badly online

The anonymity of online interactions and feeling negative can lead some people to make rude or inflammatory comments. People who behave this way are referred to as trolls. The Digital wellbeing and privacy module has more information about trolls and cyber abuse.


In your learning communities and UQ courses it is more likely that you will experience a lack of judgement or an insensitive comment than a systematic attack by a troll. If you do experience bullying, it is best not to respond to them and block them if you can.

Get help

Notify your course coordinator or get help from Student Support if it is a course related incident. If it is external to UQ, report them to the admin of the online site. The Respect page has help information if you experience online sexual harassment.

Often there is just a misunderstanding. We interpret an online communication incorrectly because of the lack of visual and verbal cues.Then it escalates into something worse because negative emotions come into effect.

Resolving online conflict

Created by jannoon028 -

If you do experience conflict try these steps to resolve it:

  1. If you feel angry, don’t send an email or post a comment. Wait until you have had a chance to think and feel a bit calmer. Get a friend or relative to read it first.
  2. Try to use cautious language that doesn’t accuse the other person. e.g. "I am wondering…" or "I feel like..."
  3. Ask for clarification. If you think someone has said something negative, ask them what they meant but in a carefully worded manner. e.g. Don’t write “What?” Try “I am a bit confused about your last message. What did you mean when you said ...?”
  4. If their reply is rude or hurtful, explain how it makes you feel rather than getting angry e.g. Write “When you say that — use their exact words — it makes me feel ….”
  5. Try to reach an agreement or solution - write “What do you think needs to be included in that section?" or “I included that because … Do you have other ideas?”

Remain reasonable, but let them know that what they have sent had an effect on you. Hopefully the other person will realise that it is better to work with you than start a fight. This also applies to you. Try to put yourself in the other person’s position and direct your comments to the cause of the problem. Don’t place blame on the other person.

Duration:   Approximately 30 minutes

Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

Effective communication Effective communication

 Critical judgement

 Ethical and social understanding

Check your knowledge

Check what you know about this topic:

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Support at UQ

Access UQ services to assist you with personal or study-related issues.

Related modules: