TIPS: Teaching in the Psychological Sciences

TIPS (Teaching in the Psychological Sciences) is a lively international e-mail forum hosted by Bill Southerly and Frostburg State University (Maryland, USA) primarily for discussions concerning the teaching of psychology but with wide-ranging debate on related topics in psychology. It is open to anyone with an interest in such matters. 

TIPS Archives

January 28, 2010 to present
July 5, 2009 to January 14, 2010

TIPS Rules and Guidelines

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TIPS Rules and Guidelines (courtesy of Bill Southerly, list owner and administrator)

For several reasons, both behavior on TIPS and developments off-list, I have been working with our campus attorney to revise the TIPS guidelines.  The result of these interactions is a revised set of rules and guidelines for behavior on TIPS.  These guidelines are effective immediately and can be found below or attached as a word file for those who wish to print them. Many of these guidelines are routine and are used by most internet discussion groups. The guidelines are meant to encourage an online environment where everyone can discuss various issues without fear of personal attacks.  Please read these carefully and if you have questions, send me a note at:

This represents a revision of the original TIPS guidelines and expectations. By its nature, this document is dynamic and will be subject to change, however, my goal is to keep these guidelines brief and simple and not create an overwhelming set of expectations. Hopefully, these guidelines will assist us in our efforts to self-regulate our behavior on TIPS. Please feel free to suggest additions and changes, however, please remember the goal stated above - to keep the expectations simple and brief.

1.      TIPS (Teaching In the Psychological Sciences) is a private listserv dedicated to the discussion of issues relative to the teaching of psychology.

2.      TIPS is provided by Frostburg State University (FSU) and is managed by Bill Southerly (list manager), PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychology.

3.      All decisions regarding the operation of TIPS are at the discretion of the list manager in consultation with key officials at FSU (e.g., provost, director of computer services, and/or university attorney).

4.      Being a discussion list, disagreements will occur.  However, this does not mean that you can attack the sender of a message.  You can attack someone’s ideas without attacking the individual who expresses the ideas.  This is a professional list, so act appropriately.

5.      You may never rely on your messages being confidential or private, even if addressed to only one person. Remember that TIPS messages and, indeed, all internet messages are "forwardable." Never send anything via internet that you wouldn't share in public.

6.      TIPS can be an active list, therefore, please refrain from consistently posting trivial comments.  Remember that you are asking another professional to make a gift of his or her time and knowledge by reading and possibly responding to your posts.

7.      USE THE SUBJECT LINE TO DESCRIBE THE CONTENT OF YOUR MESSAGE. If you change the direction of a discussion, please change the subject line to allow people to more easily make decisions on whether to read a post.

8.      SIGN ALL MESSAGES. Your name and email address should be included in this signature. This will allow people to easily contact you with private mail if they wish.

9.      When responding to a previous post, PLEASE TRY TO CUT OUT ANY SECTIONS OF A PREVIOUS POST THAT ARE NOT RELATED TO YOUR RESPONSE. If this is not practical, then you may want to consider placing your response before the previous response so people won't have to move through several screens of material to get to your response.

10.     SEND NOTES INTENDED FOR AN INDIVIDUAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND NOT TO THE LIST. For example, when someone offers a handout you should respond to that person, not to the list. Remember that every note that is intended for one person that is sent to the list, generates junk mail for everyone else.   If you make a mistake and send a note to the list that should have been sent to an individual no need to send another note to apologize.

11.     When a discussion you are following goes astray, TRY TO BRING THE DISCUSSION BACK INTO FOCUS JUST LIKE YOU MIGHT DO WITH A CLASSROOM DISCUSSION. Don't lose sight of the fact that you, the TIPS subscriber, help determine what is discussed!

12.     EXPLORE MAILING PROGRAMS THAT ALLOW YOU TO FILTER AND SORT MESSAGES BY TOPIC, SENDER, ETC. These programs are often free and give you much more control over the problem of information overflow that many of us face.

13.     RESIST THE URGE TO READ EVERY MESSAGE SENT TO TIPS! It's OK to delete unread messages.

14.     Be patient and understanding of your colleagues in cyberspace. BE A "TEACHER" TO YOUR COLLEAGUES!!

15.     All participants are expected to follow the guidelines contained within this document.  Use of TIPS is also subject to the policies of FSU related to computer usage, which can be found on the university’s website (  Violations of either these guidelines or FSU policies may lead to immediate action including but not limited to suspension or expulsion from TIPS.  Anyone who is removed from TIPS may not resubscribe or attempt to resubscribe to TIPS.  Any attempt to resubscribe either under one’s own name or an alias is a violation of University policy and may result in the permanent expulsion of an individual from usage of TIPS.  Frostburg State University also reserves the right in its sole discretion to discontinue the TIPS listserv.

16.     As a subscriber to TIPS you agree to accept and follow all of the guidelines contained within this document.

Bill Southerly, PhD
Department of Psychology
Frostburg State University
Frostburg, MD 21532

This page is maintained by
Sue Frantz
Highline Community College

Page last updated: Sunday March 20, 2011 06:16 PM -0700