Who we are
We are Campus Manitoba, a consortium of seven publicly funded post-secondary institutions. For over 30 years, we’ve been centrally positioned to support our partners throughout the province’s post-secondary education system. We are collaborative, supportive, inquisitive, and deeply engaged in supporting teaching and learning.
While many of us have an academic background and educational experience, our role is to create introductions and pathways within the post-secondary sector to inform, develop, revise, and distribute open education materials and online learning. We are here to collaborate and share knowledge, experience, and resources with others to help them improve their approach to online learning and open pedagogy.
Our communications are respectful, friendly, and informative. Our tone will change slightly depending on the medium and the message. In our social channels, we are social and playful. In the Campus Manitoba blog, we are more business-casual: polite and respectful of the subject matter experts we work with. For government-led or -inspired communications, we are buttoned down: clear, crisp, and concise.
Using this guide
Please note: this guide is a work in progress and will be updated as and when needed. What’s true today may not be the case in the years to come, but this guide can help us maintain consistency.
This document is intended to be a guide to refer to for direction and inspiration. It is not the definitive guide for all communications. Situations may change, and it may be more appropriate to use a different voice and tone, but for most purposes, this guide will help you deliver a message that’s consistent with the voice we’re building for the Campus Manitoba brand.
The amount of time invested in ensuring your message is appropriate is directly related to the importance of the messaging. A social media post does not merit the same scrutiny as an open textbook. Our goal is to be factually and grammatically correct at all times, but we acknowledge that we are all busy humans and mistakes happen. When they do, we will acknowledge the error, correct it, take measures to prevent it from happening again, then move forward, improving through iteration.
Writing for the Web
The power of plain language
Our goal is to effectively communicate our messages to eliminate ambiguity and maximize understanding. Plain language is an exceptional tool to help with this goal. Acronyms, jargon, and verbosity are the enemy of clarity. Plain language is simple, clear, and easy to understand, especially for a broad audience. Plain language is not ‘dumbing down’ a concept; rather, it’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject to present it to readers who may not have your experience, background, or shared language.
Idioms and cliches
Tired cliches and archaic idioms do not bring value to your conversation, and in some cases — especially with idioms — the etymology may be biased, hurtful, and rife with colonial foundations. It’s best to avoid them and choose descriptions and analogies that better fit your message.
This article from CBC has a useful list of metaphors, idioms, and phrases to be avoided.
Some common idioms to avoid:
- Spirit Animal
- Low man on the totem pole
- First-world problem
Malapropisms – using the wrong word in the right place – can be clever, but clever isn’t always clear. Humour can be useful as long as it’s appropriate. When in doubt, leave it out.
Sarcasm is not appropriate in any Campus Manitoba communications.