Avoid This - 01. Do NOT make weekly Yellowdig assignment links in your LMS

Many instructors want to assign weekly discussions topics and will create weekly assignments that launch Yellowdig.  We strongly discourage instructors from creating multiple Yellowdig assignments within their LMS.   

Why?  Yellowdig uses a single discussion space for each course to encourage discussion and the building of a learning community over the entire length of a course.  Adding additional assignment links will create additional columns in your LMS gradebook.  These additional columns are often really confusing for students, but they will create a cascade of issues with grade passback from Yellowdig to the LMS.  These additional assignments also create inaccuracies (or the perception of inaccuracies) in learners’ grades depending on how they are set up by instructors. These issues with passback then become a source of many of the concerns we hear from both learners and instructors. 

Aside from technical issues, creating highly structured assignments also creates rigid and constrained participation that rarely looks like actual discussions.  And creating separate boards will fragment any meaningful discussion into buckets that students never reconsider or revisit once their weekly assignment is completed.  Yellowdig was carefully designed as a single running Feed with a point system that encourages more frequent posts and a more continuous and free-form discussion that looks and feels much more like thoughtful peer-to-peer conversations about course topics.  Most attempts to fragment discussions or to overly constrain participation with rules about exactly how to post end up producing less ideal outcomes for instructors and learners.

What should I do instead?  If instructors or administrators feel like they want weekly assignments we suggest they do that by creating a Pin for each assignment and marking it with a weekly assignment Topic (e.g., “Week 1 Task”).  Then students can view each assignment by looking at the Topic for each week and responding to a Pin describing the assignment, which you can post and "Pin to Top" at the appropriate time so that they will be highly visible to students.  Enabling and disabling points for these weekly Topics can also focus students on the specific assignments and ensure they only get participation points for responding to each week’s assignment.

If you feel you absolutely must have weekly assignments setup with separate links within your LMS, please contact us directly before setting this up (clientsuccess@yellowdig.com).  We really want to ensure you do not do unnecessary work or have problems with your gradebook.  Without carefully setting up links in your LMS or making changes to our system specifically for your course, Yellowdig was not intended to natively support multiple grade columns or allow multiple assignment links for most LMS systems.  What you will have to do to achieve your vision is not intuitive and, depending on your LMS, may not be possible without our help.  Trying to set up multiple assignments or gradebook columns is the most common setup problem that instructors encounter.

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