These are the guidelines that should be followed when posting messages in the discussion groups or sending email related to this class.  The first nine apply to the group that contains your graded assignments for the course (Discussion Board link).

  1. Anytime any of us posts for this course, we are stating an argument and not a truth. Because Psychology is a science, you are to support your arguments with information found in the text, class notes or other scientific sources.  Unless I ask, your personal experiences or unsupported opinions are not acceptable answers to the post questions.  Statements such as "It is wrong that…" or "No one should…" are statements of truth. If you think "It is wrong that…" say "In my opinion it is wrong that…." and then state why you think it is wrong and what source(s) you are using to back up what you think.  I am also biased towards statements that begin I feel, I think, I believe. Assert your position, instead of "I think larger animals have slower metabolisms," say "larger animals have slower metabolisms," and then provide several valid reasons why this is the case.  If we are to grow intellectually, we must be free to challenge any thought we read in email or in a discussion group. We must also learn not to become too defensive if someone challenges our thinking. Try not to respond emotionally. Address yourself to the arguments or thoughts presented. Be explicit in your posts and support your thoughts with information from the text and/or the chapter notes/slides. Remember that it’s difficult to grow if our thoughts are not challenged. When you disagree with what someone says, it is important that you be polite to others and to support your side of the argument with material from the website, text or other credible sources.  If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to others. On the web, it is considered impolite to correct another person’s spelling, grammar or syntax. If you wouldn’t correct someone’s grammar or word choice in a normal conversation, don’t do it online.
  2. When  you support your argument with information from the text, class notes or a website, it should look like this.  You say "Producer organisms are the most important organisms in an ecosystem."  This because in the text in Chapter 1, page 3 it says "these organisms extract nutrients from the soil and the air and combine these nutrients into the building blocks of life using energy from the sun. All other organisms survive on earth because of the photosynthetic and assimilating activities of producers. Without them all other organisms would perish. Producer organisms provide us food, medicines, oxygen to breathe, and as humans a variety of aesthetic qualities that make life pleasureable."  Notice I stated my argument (the text in green) and then backed it up with information from the book (the text in orange).  The color coding is only used in my example here to make it easy for you to see what is an argument and what is support.  The discussion group software will not support colored fonts and you are not required to use them.  I included the chapter and page numbers  where the information I used is located in the textbook.  If you use my class notes, include the chapter and slide number of the slide you are using to support your argument.  If you use a website, include the complete (absolute) URL for the site.  A complete URL looks like this  This is what I expect to see every time I ask you to support your argument.
  3. Anytime I assign a website (like the netiquette link in the first contact), I want you to talk about specific information on that site.  Don't just say "the page has information about the rules of etiquette for using the internet".  You could say that without ever having visited the site.  Find several specific things that intrigue you, say what they are and what you think about them.  Including specific content from an assigned website is the only way I know you visited the site and read the material on it.  Without this I will assume you did not read the material. Check out these URLs to evaluate websites  .
  4. If the meaning or intent of a message is not clear, it is acceptable to ask for a clarification. You may also communicate exactly what you find unclear. It is not acceptable to call people names or critique another’s posts with words like ridiculous, stupid, or foolish. Because you disagree with another person, it doesn’t mean they are wrong or that they should be treated with disrespect. When you disagree with me or one of your classmates you must support your thoughts with information from the text/websites/class notes as stated in number two above.  You should be cautious when posting to the discussion group or sending email messages. Since our communications are asynchronous, or not in real time, you will have time to compose your messages. Take your time, make sure you have followed the rules and that your sentences are grammatically correct. Have someone else read them if you are not sure. Postings are public. If you make a mistake, it will be there for the entire class and possibly others to see.
  5. Since a person cannot see your face when reading your postings/emails, it may be difficult for them to determine your emotions. If you are feeling strong emotions when composing a post/email, describe them so there will be no misunderstanding of how you feel.  Remember also that it is easy to say most anything in a post or email and oftentimes people will say things that they would never say if they were face-to-face with a person.  Be careful what you say and weigh your words carefully.  If you are angry when you compose, you might want to have someone else read what you wrote before you send it just to make sure you are not saying something you will later be sorry you said.
  6. This class is not an appropriate forum for the exchange of religious beliefs.  While I respect your right to subscribe to the religion of your choice, religion is a private matter and not a part of this course.
  7. If you violate these rules, I will send you a private email explaining your errors and suggesting ways that you might correct them.
  8. I can remove any person's comments from the discussions and I will if I find any posting impolite, in violation of these rules, or in poor taste.
  9. Remember the general rule is to be polite and use good judgment in all online communications.  This applies to email as well.  
  10. For a more general discussion of good behavior on the web see Netiquette.

I hope your online experience is a positive one for you and that you enjoy the opportunity to interact electronically with me and your classmates .


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