An Overview of Yellowdig

Yellowdig is a private network for collaboration targeted towards education institutions to increase student engagement. In this day and age, as more and more information is digitized, textbooks are no longer the only source for learning. Yellowdig seeks to engage students using a broad array of resources including videos, news articles, blogs and more. The beauty of Yellowdig is in its simplicity. It offers a Facebook-like experience (a platform the majority of students are very familiar with), for ease of use. This platform allows students to quickly and easily turn their classroom into a collaborative learning community. With Yellowdig, learning is not limited to classroom hours. Students can learn from each other, anytime, anywhere and from any device.  


Yellowdig forms a social layer on top of existing systems. It is seamlessly integrated with the Learning Management System (LMS) but it is not limited to it. Yellowdig can also be integrated to Single Sign On (SSO) infrastructure to expand use cases from the classroom to alumni directories, knowledge portals or professional clubs. 

Yellowdig helps to build a moderated social learning community inside and outside the classroom where students bring in their own interests, ideas and passion to build meaningful collaborative bonds with one another.

 The Yellowdig platform has several components. These include boards, pins, comments, likes, and tags. A board is topic based collaboration platform. Each class or group that students are a part of will have a board. These discussion boards can be open or closed depending on what its used for. Closed boards are invitation only, such as a class board only accessible to registered students. 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 LMS course page. Open boards are open to the entire university network. The board owner can change the board status from Closed to Open and vice versa.


Pinning: Sharing Information on Yellowdig

When students come across an article or video that's pertinent to a particular board, they can share it with their classmates and professor by pinning the article to the class board on Yellowdig.  Student can directly take a video or picture from phone and post it to a board. Once a pin is created, fellow course students can comment, like, or mark the pin as not relevant for the topic under discussion.

When students come across an interesting article or video that's pertinent to a particular course board, they can share it with their classmates. Relevant imagery and a brief summary of the article is automatically created by Yellowdig.


Students can also tag people in their posts by typing @classmates-name in their pin. Yellowdig enables one-click sharing from phones so students can directly take a video or picture and post it straight to their course boards. Once students have created a pin, classmates can comment, like, or mark the pin as not relevant for the specific course.


A University's Own Private Network

Every College or University that uses Yellowdig has its own private network. All data on that network is completely owned by the university and is solely intended for its own students. Yellowdig is hosted using the Amazon Web Services. All data transfers happen using secure, encrypted channels (SSL and SSH only). 

Universities have private networks on Yellowdig. Users can join the private network of the university they belong to via two methods:

  •  Join via by verifying their university email address
  • Join via University applications (e.g. LMS systems) that interoperate via the LTI standard

The university private network comprises of two types of boards: “Open to University” and “Invite Only” boards as explained in the following section.

The Merits of Closed and Open Boards

Only professors and course’s teaching assistants can create boards. They have the option of creating either a closed or open board. Closed boards are invitation only, such as a class board only accessible to registered students. Students can identify a closed board by the lock symbol in the upper right corner of the board.


To join a closed the board owner needs to either invite a student to the board or have the student join from the LMS course page. Open boards, on the other hand, are open to the private university network. Open university boards can be used to post school-wide announcements and events. The board owner can change the board status from Closed to Open and Vice Versa at any time. 


The posts are owned by the person who posted on Yellowdig. If the user posts a YouTube link on Yellowdig, Yellowdig only maintains a link to the YouTube video on the platform without storing the video. Users have the right to delete or edit their posts any time. The board owners have the right to delete any posts on the boards they own. For Example, Northwestern has Northwestern Dig, UPenn has Penndig, etc. 

An Overview of Yellowdig Course Topics

Topics are basically topics that are pertinent to a class or a board. Students can view all the topics on their Yellowdig feed and search articles by topic by clicking on a tag students are interested in.  


Anyone can use tags when they pin an article but only board owners can create them. To use topics when posting an article, just click where it says "Add Topics.". Yellowdig offers three configurations for topics:

  • Required
  • Suggested
  • Not required

Head to this help article for more information on topics' requirement settings. 


Then a drop down menu with all the available tags will appear and students can select several tags that are applicable to their posts. 


Yellowdig Point System 

The purpose of the point system is to offer an incentive for students to start engaging with the platform. It can also be used to measure a class participation score so it's easy for the professors too! 

Yellowdig offers a default point system to measure the level student engagement in the classroom. The points are calculated automatically based on number of pins, comments, badges, and like/loves each pin gets. This can be directly fed into the gradebook to calculate a class participation grade. 

This point system is also completely customizable by the professor. We recommend using the default system (pictured below).  

The professor can determine a minimum number of words for each pin and comment and choose how many points each one should be worth. Also, the professors can place a cap on points to calculate class participation. For example, if they place the cap at 100 points, everyone who gets a 100 points will have a 100 as the class participation grade. Surpassing the mandated 100 points will simply mean that the student is truly interested and engaged. This system is meant to reward all contributors and provide an outlet for more engaged students to continue discussions.

The top contributors of a board show up on the leaderboard. The Leaderboard shows up on students’ and professors’ Yellowdig feed. It features the top 7 contributors on a board at any given time. It is based on the point system enabled for the particular board. The Leaderboard provides an incentive for students to become a top contributor on a board. This way, they can get noticed by fellow students and their professor, something normally tough in large classes. 


Yellowdig writes back a percentage score for each student back to LMS gradebook, which gets multiplied with the points associated with the Yellowdig assignment. For example, if the student has 100 points, and 500 points are set as target for the board, the student has 20% (100/500) score. The % score is displayed on the points widget. If 10 points are associated with the Yellowdig assignment. Yellowdig passes back 20%, which gets multiplied by 10. The gradebook will show 2 points for the student.



The Yellowdig platform enables students to imbibe collaborative learning from their peers. Students are enabled to share curated relevant content in a centralized repository and are able to discuss with their classmates, instructors and teaching assistants in a familiar social-network like settings. Yellowdig enhances scholastic effectiveness by enabling a comprehensive portal for computer-supported collaborative learning and encourages students to maximize their learning in a university setting.

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