Most instructors find it hard to promote discussions in class or with other online technology (e.g., LMS discussion spaces). These experiences lead many instructors to feel like they have to create hyper-focused weekly discussion questions and strict participation rules.
Yellowdig, on the other hand, obviates the need for strict participation rules and weekly prompts. What's more, we find that requiring students to respond to prompts and imposing quotas on the basis of participation type (e.g., "post once, comment twice") stifle community participation, stultify conversations, and lead to cookie-cutter contributions.
We recommend casually encouraging students to consider certain questions rather than making it a strict grading requirement. Instead of coming up with required prompts, use your time to model the behavior you want your students to imitate, and reward the participation you want to see with social points. With less effort on your part, you will see better, more authentic participation from your students.
Why? Learners will quickly pick up on what is expected and act accordingly. The social learning benefits of Yellowdig thrive when learners have some freedom to interact naturally and pursue their interests.