LSA-ISS is currently looking at the possible adoption of Yellowdig as an integration in Canvas courses.
The Yellowdig platform has several components. These include boards, pins, comments, likes, and tags. A board is a topic-based collaboration platform. Each class or group that students are a part of will have a board, similar to the group discussions in a typical Canvas course. These discussion boards can be open or closed depending on the use and duration of the activities. Closed boards are invitation only. To join a closed board, the board owner (usually the instructor) needs to either invite the student to the board or have the student join from the Canvas course page. Open boards are open to the entire university network.
Yellowdig allows instructors to assign points to various engagement activities such as posting, commenting, liking, and clicking on links. Points can be assigned weekly to derive a participation score for the semester or a period of the semester. The points are integrated into the Canvas Gradebook. The tracking system also tells instructors when students post and reports the word count.
The benefits of using Yellowdig:
1. Yellowdig can be accessed through Canvas, the Yellowdig app, or the Yellowdig website.
2. Yellowdig can be accessed after the semester ends (not restricted by the academic semesters).
3. Yellowdig integrates social media tools such as upvoting, comments, and tags.
4. Yellowdig is private, without advertisements or sponsored social media data mining.
Who Is Using Yellowdig?
Fort Hays uses Yellowdig to structure or supplement class discussions in face-to-face courses. Before class, the instructors select one or more articles posted on Yellowdig. Then, during class, instructors ask students to summarize their articles. Since other students had up-voted or commented on the article, the instructor would also ask for their opinion of the article. The incorporation of the Yellowdig content into class discussions held the students accountable for their individual and social activities and allowed discussions to focus on interesting content relevant to the course.
In Fort Hay’s online courses, Yellowdig allows students to connect and engage in ways not possible with typical discussion boards found in learning management systems. While students can comment on each other’s posts in a discussion board, Yellowdig brings individual-level contributions and social interactions to a higher level of engagement and social learning. Students can up-vote and comment in Yellowdig and gain a level of influence in the community (through up-votes and gaining followers). Students can also organize content through topics (hashtags).
David Gruber of Northwestern shared that one of the findings from his preliminary research using Yellowdig is that students were posting articles throughout the week regardless of whether it was a class day or not. “Essentially, Yellowdig helped them engage with the class when they were thinking about it—not limiting them to the time in the classroom. Furthermore, the students were commenting and reading each other’s examples on the day of class as a way of warming up for the class and preparing to engage. This combination of findings helps to shift a framing of class contributions from participation to engagement. A broader view allows for both a more comprehensive perspective of student learning and a more inclusive one that facilitates contribution for all students.”
UM-LSA YellowDig Pilot
During the Winter 2018 semester, University of Michigan Instructors began using Yellowdig as well.To learn more about Yellowdig contact Elizabeth Fomin at 734.615.0099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.