Do This - 03. Set up points

(Settings → Points)

Unless your organization administrator has altered them, Yellowdig points for each board are set by default to the following:


For most first time users we recommend only changing the total points needed to achieve a 100% participation grade* (the last setting above - set at 100 by default).  The default of 100 would require a learner to make 10 pins, 20 comments, or a combination of other actions to get a 100% participation grade for the course.  Over a 10 week course that would be one pin, a couple of comments, or a combination of other actions per week. Our instructors report this as a quite reasonable expectation.  If your course is appreciably shorter or longer, or you want greater participation, alter the 100% participation threshold.

Why?  Points motivate engagement.  They also gently encourage learners to engage in specific ways without enforcing overly strict rules about participation.  Finally, as discussed later, points help to encourage quality posts and discourage anti-social behavior. Strict rules about how to participate tend to reduce the natural discourse that the platform was meant to encourage and that we see as a strength of the Yellowdig platform in creating a true learning community.


Notes:  Though not recommended for first time users, if you do alter the point settings, we suggest only adding points.  Point categories were made to incentivize learners to engage with each other, not just the content.  Therefore, even if you strongly prefer that your learners create Pins, for example, we would not suggest removing points for all of the other actions.  It helps to think of changing points as an opportunity to gently nudge learners toward a desired behavior.  Here are some ways to use them:

  • To encourage sharing new content → increase points for new Pins
  • To increase discussion or debate for Topics → increase points for Comments
  • To promote interacting and to understand what learners find engaging → increase points for Upvotes
  • To award more points personally and reward particularly thoughtful content → increase points for Instructor Badges and tag posts and comments with them

As instructors venture in to changing points, many are tempted to try to align Yellowdig's point system with the point structure used for their course.  For example, if the course has a total of 500 points and the professor wants Yellowdig to be worth 10% of the grade, they will set the required course total for Yellowdig points to 50 and then decide how they want to allow point earning for the individual actions based on students needing to earn 50 points.  This is exactly the opposite order of how we would recommend thinking about points.  Start with thinking about the behaviors you want to promote, then consider the rules and proportions of points that will help promote those actions, and then build out the course total points that would be necessary to see the level of activity you want given the ways that people can earn points.  It is important to realize that it is not necessary to align Yellowdig points with your course points due to the way Yellowdig grades are passed to your LMS.  To account for all of the ways students should be able to earn points in Yellowdig and to make the size of those rewards appropriate in comparison to one another, it is helpful to have the flexibility that using a lot of points gets you.  We also generally don't recommend aligning the points because we have seen that trying to match them usually creates more confusion.  In fact, we will usually recommend to anyone that wants to change the point system to make the point differences between Yellowdig and their course more extreme so that there is no way a student will mistake Yellowdig points for those earned within the rest of the course structure (e.g., multiply the default values for Yellowdig by 100 or 1000).  Besides, it's always fun to get more points!

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