Style Guide

This style guide is a hybrid of the Chicago Manual of Style and the Online Organization's own set of rules. When writing for the knowledgebase, check that the article's content follows these standards. Additionally, general rules about style and mechanics can be found through the following links:



Only use numbered lists if order matters. Otherwise, use unordered lists. Do not put a period at the end of each list point unless it has both a subject and predicate. Items in a step-by-step list, such as in Core Processes, are written in present tense (the designer writes) as opposed to future tense (the designer will write).


Titles are capitalized “headline-style,” meaning first words of titles and subtitles and any important words thereafter should be capitalized.  Larger works, such as books or periodicals, are italicized. Shorter works, such as articles and chapter titles, are enclosed with quotation marks.

Mechanics and Punctuation

Capitalize Do Not Capitalize
Names of organizations, departments, courses
  • Course Council
  • Online Organization
  • Online Learning Department
  • Communications 130
Job titles, references to most general subjects
  • course lead
  • curriculum designer
  • planning and coordination manager
  • biology class
Online: when referring to the Online Organization
  • Leadership in Online
  • Pathway and Online work closely together
Online: when used as an adjective
  • The online course
  • Your online instructor
The first word after a colon in a definition
  • Knowledgebase: The best tool ever
The first word after a colon in a sentence
  • I like one kind of food: chocolate.

Other capitalization standards:

  • ScreenSteps
  • I-Learn
  • Brightspace

Colons are preceded by a full sentence, especially when introducing a list (e.g. “has the following responsibilities,” instead of “is responsible for”). Capitalize the first word after a colon when introducing lists, but not when using colons in a sentence. See chart in "Capitalization" section for examples.


Use the Oxford comma. See the Punctuation Guide for in-depth rules.

"Their" and singular pronouns

Do not use “their” when referring to singular subjects (i.e., "A student takes their test"). Whenever possible, use a plural subject (“students take their tests”). If that will not work, use “his or her."

Quotation Marks

Always place commas and periods within quotation marks. Semicolons, colons, and dashes belong outside quotation marks. Place a question mark or exclamation point within closing quotation marks if the punctuation applies to the quotation itself. Place the punctuation outside the closing quotation marks if the punctuation applies to the whole sentence. 


His favorite song is "Gangam Style."

His favorite song is "Gangam Style"; he spent weeks trying to learn the dance.

Phillip asked, "Do you need this book?"

Does Dr. Lim always say to her students, "You must work harder"?

Terms and Usage

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Use the full title upon the first reference and BYU-Idaho for any following references. Do not use BYU-I or BYUI. Use a hyphen rather than an en dash to separate the elements in the name.

Curriculum Development

Curriculum Development refers to the supervisory organization led by Eric Karl, which oversees two departments: Online Curriculum Development and Campus Curriculum Development. Written references to "Curriculum Development" will be interpreted to mean the supervisory organization, not a specific department.

To refer to a specific department other than the larger organization, use either "Online Curriculum Development" (department overseen by Peter Williams), or "Campus Curriculum Development" (department overseen by Matt Anderson)


It is not necessary to capitalize academic degrees used as general terms of classification. Associate is not possessive. Capitalize a degree given after a person’s name or use appropriate abbreviation: “Max Checketts, Doctor of Philosophy” or “Max Checketts, PhD.”.


Use I-Learn, not iLearn or any other variation. When referring to specific operating systems, write Brightspace (BYU-Idaho's current system) or BrainHoney (the interface used previously for I-Learn 2.0).

Improvement Projects

Do not capitalize improvement projects. Do not use the term “improvement” to refer to improvement projects.

Job Titles

Do not capitalize job titles, such as course lead, curriculum designer, or course support specialist. In cases of acronyms, capitalize the acronym but do not capitalize the full title. For example, online course representative is not capitalized, but OCR is.

Maintenance Tickets/Requests

Do not capitalize maintenance tickets. They used to be known as fix tickets but are now solely referred to as maintenance tickets or maintenance requests.


Online is capitalized when used as a proper noun (when referring to the BYU-Idaho Online Organization as a whole) and lowercase when used as an adjective (online students, online courses, the system is online). Refer to the capitalization chart for more information.

Online Learning

Online Learning is the supervisory organization which encompasses the Technical Operations, Online Instruction, and Employment and Scheduling departments. Written references to Online Learning will be interpreted as referring to this specific group, not the entire Online Organization. 

Scaled Course

Do not capitalize scaled course. Scaled courses were formerly known as live courses, but that term is no longer in use.

Teams and Groups

In most circumstances, the names of teams and groups are capitalized (e.g. Course Council, Course Support, Online Curriculum Development). Refer to the capitalization chart for more information.

About this Article

Responsible: Emily Hermann

Accountable: Director of OPR (Ben Fryar)

Consulted: N/A

Informed: KB authors, Handbook writers, CC website contributors

Sharing: Unrestricted


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