You and your learners will make a Code of Conduct that you can use to guide inclusivity practices online and offline while practicing skills like compose, contribute, evaluate, open practice, protect, share, and synthesize.
- Understand and explain digital inclusion.
- Compose and share an online code of conduct for your learning space.
- Beginner web users
Read through the lesson and try each step yourself to see how it works.
Compose your own Code of Conduct to better understand the kinds of concerns an inclusive and equitable code addresses.
In this activity, you will help your learners write an online and offline code of conduct for your learning community that shares your beliefs and practices around digital inclusion.
Welcome your learners and explain that:
A healthy Internet depends on commonly held, inclusive and equitable beliefs and practices between people. Digital inclusion means doing your part to create inviting, safe, and welcoming spaces for online participation. Those spaces should extend to the real world whenever people meet offline because of a shared interest in the web.
Next, say something like:
To work together online and offline in our learning community, you’ll need to think about what you and your peers need from one another to feel safe and welcome throughout the time we work together.
The quality of the Internet is a reflection of the diversity of the people who are able to access and contribute to it. We should use technology, policies and outreach programs that welcome all people online, regardless of race, income, nationality, or gender.
For our learning community to truly thrive, we must be welcoming, inclusive, and safe for all. This means that all people– regardless of their background or identity– who come into our digital and real world learning spaces should feel comfortable, find themselves reflected in some way in the work, and be able to participate with us as teachers and learners.
One of the ways to do this is establish some guides for participation in the community, which we’ll write up in a document called a Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct will apply to the work we do together online, as well as offline. The guidelines we include will apply to face to face, in person interactions and interactions that happen online, in forums, chat, via email and in projects.
A Code of Conduct serves two main purposes:
- It establishes the sorts of behaviors encouraged by the community, and to make clear which behaviors are unacceptable and discouraged.
- It establishes the process by which any problems or violations of the guidelines will be handled by the teachers and our learning community.
Then share examples of the kinds of guidelines your learning community might share in its Code of Conduct. Here are some possibilities taken from the Open Code of Conduct:
- Be friendly and patient.
- Be welcoming.
- Be considerate.
- Be respectful.
- Be careful in the words that we choose.
- Try to understand why we disagree.
Also explain that:
Companies and organizations also help everyone try to follow guidelines that protect people online. For example, TrollBusters fights online harrassment of women writers, Facebook has a Bullying Prevention Hub to combat cyber-bullying, Twitter continues to update its anti-harassment policy, and government agencies like the United States Department of Health and Human Services share anti-bullying resources like stopbullying.gov.
The guidelines you and your learners create don’t have to be complicated, but you have to agree on them and be able to stick to them if your Code of Conduct is going to be effective at managing digital inclusion and equity in your learning community.
Offline Activity40 minutes
In this step, you will use an equitable method to split your learners into groups that brainstorm and draft Codes of Conduct for the whole group to evaluate, synthesize, and adopt later in the lesson.
Begin by saying something like:
We are going to form small groups and brainstorm, compose, and combine our own Codes of Conduct into something we can all use to guide our behavior together. The code we wind up with for the entire community will be made up of pieces from each group’s work. It will help us champion a healthy Internet by making sure we hold ourselves accountable for creating an inviting, welcoming, and safe space wherever we work online and offline.
Next, split your learners into groups using an equitable method that doesn’t privilege any group or individual over others.
Post the steps below somewhere easily accessible and readable for your learners. You may want to create something like this example slide deck to move learners through each part of the exercise.
Then, explain the steps for brainstorming and drafting a Code of Conduct like this:
- First, take 5 minutes and let each person do some silent brainstorming to think up 3-5 guidelines they’d like to see in your group’s Code of Conduct. Jot down your ideas on sticky notes or scratch paper.
- As you brainstorm, think of questions like these to help you come up with ideas:
- What core ideas or words do you want people to think of when they think of our learning community? What guidelines might help us enact those words?
- What behaviors do we want to encourage and discourage?
- How will we know when we have a problem? How do we report it? How do we deal with it?
- Who has the final word on the code and whether or not we’ve broken it?
- How can the code make us all feel safe and supported?
- Next, each person should share their ideas without comment from the rest of the group. Take about 5 minutes for this part.
- After that, talk about any important guidelines that most or all of you had in common. Definitely include these in your Code of Conduct. Take 10-15 minutes for this part of the discussion.
- Then talk about any important guidelines that just 1 or 2 people came up with that you think are important enough to include in your code, as well. Take another 5 minutes or so for this part.
- Finally, draft your code of conduct on a piece of scratch paper or a shared document online and chose someone to read it out loud with the whole group. Take 10 minutes to draft your group’s Code of Conduct.
Online Activity10 minutes
In this step you will facilitate the creation and sharing of your learning community’s Code of Conduct.
Begin by thanking your learners for their work on digital inclusion and remind them that a healthy Internet holds inviting, welcoming, and safe spaces for everyone even during moments of disagreement and challenge.
Ask everyone to reflect on what they heard from each group. Then ask volunteers to begin naming the guidelines that they think should be in your learning community’s Code of Conduct.
Type those ideas up on a shared document you can project in an accessible and readable place for your learners.
Keep taking suggestions until you have 6-10 guidelines on the document. Then ask the group if there is anything they want to revise, add, or drop.
After about 10 minutes, by the end of this step, try to have 6-10 guidelines that everyone in your learning community can agree to uphold as part of your Code of Conduct.
Share this document to all of your learners so they have a copy to refer to whenever you work online. Later, print a large version of the code to post in your learning space, as well.
Reflection & Assessment5 minutes
Facilitate a brief reflective discussion on what your learners discovered about Internet health and digital inclusion. You can record learners’ responses for the purposes of assessment, but be sure to do so in an equitable way that doesn’t disadvantage one learner or another because of your choice of medium. You might use prompts like these or create your own:
- What surprised you today?
- In your own words, how would you explain how digital inclusion helps Internet health?
- Are there any guidelines that you think are especially important online rather than offline?
- Where else in your community do you think it would be good to have a Code of Conduct?
- How do you think we should handle updating the code if we need to?
Learn more about digital inclusion with the Internet Health Report!Next activity→Privacy & Security Activity
Once each group has completed its draft, call the community back together and ask each group to have someone read its code aloud to the class.
After the codes have been shared, explain that your next step together is to create a shared Code of Conduct.