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.

Effective communications

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
  • Cakewalk
  • 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.

Caps and Spelling

For most communication, please refer to the Canadian Press Caps and Spelling handbook.

We’ve compiled this list of common grammatical elements employed at Campus Manitoba


When writing about Campus Manitoba or any of the post-secondary institutions we work with, always use the full name in the initial description. If the article repeats the institution or organization, you may find it useful to use their preferred acronym.

e.g., “The Flexible Learning Advisory Group (FLAG) is an active and engaged group of faculty and staff members from each of the public post-secondary institutions in the province. Campus Manitoba and FLAG regularly seek ways to collaborate with the system…”

First Nation language guide

For articles written by or about Indigenous Peoples, refer to the Elements of Indigenous Style to create an article that is effective and respectful. Do not write something about other cultures without direct input from them. Nothing about us without us is a smart approach for all messaging, whether it’s in writing or not.


Sometimes, you may need to go back to an article to update or change the information. It’s a good practice to include a note to explain what the changes were and why they were implemented. A simple note at the end of the article to explain why and when the changes were made helps bring clarity to the article.

Edit the article with a comment at the top of the page to state the date it was revised (e.g. edited July 22, 2023) and then a brief description at the bottom of the article to explain why the edit was needed (e.g. This article was updated on July 22, 2023, to reflect the increased funding available for this project.)

Search Engine Optimization

To make it easier for our audiences to quickly find the information we share, include search engine optimization (SEO) best practices in the content you create. On-page SEO is achieved through the effective use of keywords and keyword phrases, but don’t sacrifice the article for the sake of keywords. Use plain, natural language to share your information and link to relevant sources that support your story or provide additional perspective.

SEO is an ever-evolving concept, and best-practices can change as the internet evolves. Search engines, such as Google, are the current de facto authority on how and why pages are presented on the search engine results page (SERP), but the emergence of tools like ChatGPT will introduce new practices and processes.

Some of the resources you can use to find and follow SEO best practices:

Meta content

Off-page SEO includes components like alt-tags and meta content. And while these vehicles can provide some SEO advantage, they’re actually a helpful tool to help those using tools or software, such as screen readers, to access the content. As you craft your article for online publishing, use alt-tags (also called alt-descriptions) to describe why the image has been included and what it contains.

  • Page titles: Use descriptive page titles, such as ‘Open Education Manitoba – an Open Education resource’ instead of ‘home’ or similarly banal choices. The current recommendation is to keep page titles at or under 60 characters.
  • Meta descriptions give you the opportunity to customize the description that the search engines share with people searching for content related to your article. Provide a succinct description of what the article is about, with a call to action to invite them to read your article. Aim for a description of 150 and 160 characters. Longer may be truncated, and shorter may not be shared by the search engines.
  • SEO best practices change regularly, so please refer to authoritative sources to find effective ways to attract and engage your readers. That said – great content will always have significant value, so focus on crafting informative, useful, and experience-based articles and augment them with SEO best practices.

Anchor Links

Linking your article to supplemental or supportive information, whether that’s on other sites or within the Campus Manitoba site, is useful for your readers. Anchor text is the phrase or sentence that links to other sources. When you craft your anchor links, avoid using phrases such as ‘click here’ or ‘read more.’ Instead, provide a more expressive description of the link, such as ‘University of Manitoba’s  Research Ethics and Compliance department,’ which will provide a better experience for people using accessibility tools to read your article.

Where possible, use anchor text instead of raw URLs. e.g., ‘learn more about open education at Campus Manitoba’ vs. https://openedmb.ca/

Usage and Rights

At Campus Manitoba, the content we create and share is available through an open license from Creative Commons. Visit this page to learn about the various licensing options, as well as links to the copyright information for the institutions we work with across Manitoba.

Information in this guide has been informed or influenced by work developed by local institutions, including: