Yellowdig: Points, Tips, and Ideas
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Yellowdig: Points, Tips, and Ideas

  • PDF

This resource gives guidance for configuring Yellowdig. If you are still trying to decide whether Yellowdig is a good fit for your course, see Tools to Extend Canvas.

General ideas and tips from instructors

  • Several instructors assign regular writing assignments (reading reflections, lecture reactions, etc.) for a grade in Canvas, and then invite students to re-post some of their writing to Yellowdig if the student had a particular insight or unique experience
  • One instructor has students submit discussion questions ahead of time, chooses one, and spotlights their question during class the following week
  • One instructional team posts scenarios or case studies and pins them to the top of the Yellowdig feed each week, encouraging students to respond
  • One instructor uses the “Instructor Badge” points to credit the best post every week, effectively giving that student a free pass on the following week’s posts.

Passing Yellowdig Grade back to Canvas

Yellowdig can pass a students’ current score back to Canvas, where it appears as a percentage of the target total points for the term. For this to work, the course will need a special LTI assignment, set up by the  DCE Instructional Technology Group, that students must access at least once during the course. We recommend publishing the assignment but hiding the grade for this assignment until the final weeks of the course. (To do this, set the grades for this assignment to be posted manually). Students may panic if scoring doesn't exactly match grading, even at the beginning of the semester. 

Tips about configuring points

Yellowdig offers a lot of flexibility in how to configure points. This section describes some best practices. In general, you will want to:

  • combine the different values in a way that rewards consistent, regular, substantive contributions and rich discussion
  • be clear and transparent with your students about how points will work and why, and how it will affect their class participation grade and final grade.

 You will want to avoid point configurations that:

  • force students to post repeatedly even if they have nothing to say
  • encourage a contest for the most points
  • unintentionally requires students to post during vacations and finals week

If you find all these variables overwhelming, there are some sample point configurations in the next section.

Decide on a reasonable, average amount of weekly participation and how much you want to reward the different components. This may look different in different courses: In small courses, you may want to see more than one long, substantive Pin per week.  In a course with high enrollment, you may not want every student making multiple Pins per week. If you want to focus on individual contributions, make Pins worth significantly more than comments. If you want fewer Pins and more interaction, make comments worth as much as Pins. 

Instructor Badges can be used as a form of encouragement, but it’s not recommended to use them as a high-stakes contest. Even in a course in which the instructor is able to read every Pin and comment, it is generally recommended that Instructor Badges not be worth more than a Pin is worth unless there is an explicit reason.

One instructor advises: “We've gotten negative feedback from students for getting points for likes and responses. They think it's unfair and changes how people post. It also seems to increase anxiety about doing the work. I always recommend that people set these to 0.” 

Other instructors disagree, and report that likes and responses are strong motivators for engagement.

Sample point configurations

Course A: Typical medium-sized course (20-50 students). Instructor wants to encourage interaction but Yellowdig is not a huge part of the course. Instructor is active and reads most of the discussion.

Course B:  Small course (5-20 students). Instructor wants substantive original Pins with thoughtful analysis. Interaction is less important but also should be substantive. Instructor reads everything carefully and awards badges judiciously. 

Course C: Large Course (50+ students). Instructor wants to promote community and interaction throughout the term, with lots of Pins and comments but a low threshold for each. Instructor and staff can’t possibly read them all.