Even though the Forum is a closed conference just for your course, since it is accessed over the internet it is potentially a public place. The forum is only as private as your i.d. number and password, so please keep your login details as safe as you would your bank P.I.N.

We all appreciate the importance of confidentiality, especially when discussing staff and patients, and the same principles gude our discussions online. Guidelines for confidentiality can be found in your course handbook. Essentially:

1. Never refer to a client/patient or practitioner by name online

2. Only refer to your NHS Trust/workplace by name when discussing/comparing policies and guidelines

3. When communicating online, the emphasis in the text may be different to that when having face to face contact, this may result in text appearing in a different context to that intended. Non verbal signs add to the richness of communication therefore we all need to take care in what we write and how we respond.

4. The forum is a very democratic medium - everyone gets the chance to have their say. You may find yourself disagreeing with what you read. Use a short period of reflection before responding immediately to a message that upsets or disturbs you, even those with which you agree strongly.

5. The main purpose of online conferencing is to share and develop knowledge collaboratively through debating practice and how it applies to theory. It can also be a valuable source of peer and tutor support and constructive criticism, but it should not be used as a place merely to moan and complain. There is a formal student complaints procedure which can be found in your student handbook.

6. However the Moodle coordinator will facilitate online discussion to ensure that you feel part of the class and that your problems and concerns do not occur in isolation, and are not ignored.

[Ground rules 3-5 adapted from Salmon G (2000): E Moderating , the key to online learning. Kogan Page, London]

Last modified: Wednesday, 30 January 2013, 10:38 AM