What policies do you have in place to moderate student comments in discussion threads that might offend other students. On one hand, even though one wants students to respect eachother's diverse opinions, some comments may be offensive. What rights does an instructor to monitor, edit, forbid certain types of discourse (e.g. hate speech) and does anyone know of any cases related to this subject involving the frredom of expression in the online class environment?

Tags: expression, freedom, of

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Hello. You have put a very important issue under the light! Some students are willing to express themselves freely and do not obey the "normal ways" of talk. Therefore, it is of considerable importance that the instructor should put some rubrics which indirectly make them aware of the "normal ways" of discussions. Indeed, the likeliest methods that an instructor may employ is to replace the effect of eye-contact with "finger-contact"; that is, she / he should employ these techniques such as: silence, neglect, and indirect reproach in handling situations in which an offence is occurred. From my own humble experience, silence is extremely effective.
I have been going through various cases on this topic and have found that some institutions have tried to include "speech codes" into their academic conduct statements, but have had to revise positions since often it is argued (and has been) that freedom of expression is protected in an open forum (in this case an open class discussion). I believe that the instructor can possibly discuss in a private chat concerns abt the discourse, but in some cases, it may be necessary to engage the student in an academic hearing of some sort if the conduct creates a hostile class environment and causes others disruption in their learning.

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