You are encouraged to use and modify the following templates to introduce your students to Yellowdig. Note that all the red text needs to be changed to your specifications.
One thing that seems helpful to communicate very clearly to your students is how Yellowdig fits in as part of the rest of your course grade structure. That may seem obvious, but it generates a surprising amount of student confusion.
If you need any help in thinking about how to introduce Yellowdig or instruct your students in using it, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's my pleasure to welcome you to Yellowdig, your online community for your course! It is an opportunity to build connections with peers and the professor, ask questions, and get help from the community, all the while being rewarded for doing so!
Unlike typical [your LMS] discussions where all of you would respond to the same prompt, Yellowdig was meant to let you talk about the things that matter to YOU and your peers. You can find and share real-world content (articles, videos, etc.) that is relevant to both the course and your life. We know it is important that you can talk about what is happening in the world right now, rather than something designed into your course years ago. Another major difference is that you can ask questions or answer other students, allowing you to really talk out the things you feel like you don’t understand with someone else or getting clarifications about things in the course. In Yellowdig the important thing is that you are having useful conversations about course-relevant topics, not that you are checking a box on responding to an assignment. As you create Posts and make Comments in your community, and as other students read and react more to your thoughtful contributions, you will automatically receive more participation points. In Yellowdig, you get rewarded for being a good citizen of your community. Your instructor will also be able to easily contribute and interact with you as well, recognizing your exceptional contributions with accolades, reacting to your posts, or jumping in with their own posts, comments, and answers to your questions.
The points you earn in Yellowdig accumulate to a total goal for the course. This feeds into calculating a grade which is passed to the grade book for your discussion credit. Although Yellowdig is a required part of the course, and the points you acquire count for 20% of your course grade, the hope is that you will find value in the community and want to participate regardless of the points!
To learn more about how points work and how many you can still earn, on the links below your Points Earned in the point display. Each week you can earn up to 1,000 points of the 10,000 required by the end of the course. There is a weekly maximum of points you can earn, which is set at 1,200 points. That means you will need to participate during a minimum of 8 weeks of the 10-week course to get a 100% for your discussion credit. You are encouraged to participate weekly to earn points, but I wanted to give you some flexibility. At 4:00 AM on Saturday, the weekly maximum points will reset and you will be able to start earning points again. At this time your grade will also recalculate and likely go down in the [your LMS] gradebook. That's because your grade is showing you your pace toward the Total Goal for your course and it will be accounting for points you'll need to earn in the current week to be on pace to reach the Total Goal by the point earning end date. You'll have until the following Saturday to get up to your Period Maximum again. Because the Period Maximum of 1,200 is a bit higher than the 1,000 points you would actually need to get each week, it is possible to earn ahead or to catch up if you fall a little behind. If you are having a fun discussion you can always keep posting even after you have reached the maximum, but you will stop earning points toward the Total Goal until the next Saturday at 4:00 AM.
-----Student-Payment Communities Only-----
For communities that are student-paid we recommend adding this additional piece here to explain the cost and why you think this is a worthwhile investment:
Below I have gone into a bit more depth into the behaviors that I will be looking for, but felt it was important to explain why I’ve added Yellowdig to our class and why I feel that it is a worthwhile investment. I understand that you are paying for this service yourselves, but unlike an expensive textbook or homework tool I believe this will be an exciting tool you will want to use and that there will be a lot to gain from using it, especially if we take full advantage of it together. [Insert personal anecdotes that are specific to you and your course here.] No matter how hard we try in other aspects of the course, I know many of you have questions that may go unanswered, insights that go left unsaid, or important things you’d like to talk out with other people -- Yellowdig fills in these blanks for about the same cost as a few cups of coffee. It may be nice to know that one reason there is a cost to a Yellowdig license is because they will not advertise to you and do not sell your data to anyone.
I do understand that this cost could be a burden and I do not want that to block access to these benefits, so if you are someone who is experiencing a financial hardship or are unable to purchase Yellowdig for our class, please reach out to me via email and I will do my best to accommodate you.
So what should you do in Yellowdig?
I really want you to read what other people are thinking and to have real discussions about course-relevant content. Therefore, I’d like everyone to pay attention to the fact that you will earn quite a few points when other people react to your Posts and Comments. Your Posts will also get more points if they get a good conversation started (i.e., if people comment on them). So think about your audience when you are posting (i.e., your fellow classmates). Also, be sure to recognize good posts by reacting to them and talking about them.
It is also helpful to realize that you can’t get points from people interacting with your posts if you don’t have posts up for other students to see. Therefore, coming in earlier and getting good conversations started can actually save you work. I (or the TA) will also be dropping in occasionally to give Accolades to Posts that are exceptionally good or thoughtful. You’ll definitely increase your odds of your posts receiving that recognition if you have them up and I can see you are contributing to a vibrant discussion.
Our Community will thrive when we treat each other with respect and sensitivity. We will be adopting Yellowdig's code of conduct for this course. I also remind you of our institution's policies around student conduct. [Link to or list additional ground rules]
For the first week please feel free to use the "Introduce Yourself" Topic and share a bit about who you are and what you are hoping to get out of taking this class. If you filter your feed by the "Introduce Yourself" Topic or search for my name, you should be able to find my introduction and some ideas about things to post. Don't forget to share pictures, videos, or interesting links about you and your accomplishments! In subsequent weeks please discuss anything relevant to the course and things you think others in the community will benefit from talking about.
A few pointers and recommendations:
- Review the student section of the Yellowdig knowledge base.
- Take advantage of features like #hashtags and @mentions to bring the discussion to life!
- Use the Help section (in the menu under your avatar or just visit help.yellowdig.com) for tips and info on different features. There is a link at the top of that page where you can contact support.
-----Student-Payment Communities Only-----
For clarity on student-pay courses, it may be helpful to also include more information that explains how payment is processed. We would recommend the following:
You will be asked to pay for Yellowdig for this course. The following information may be helpful:
- Cost: $9.95 for the term.
- How to Pay:
- When you access your course in [your LMS] for the first time, you will see a link to Yellowdig within the course navigation.
- Upon launching the tool for the first time, you will see a payment window asking for credit card information which will be collected through a reputable online payment site called Stripe.
- After processing payment, you will be given unlimited access to Yellowdig for our course for the duration of the academic term.
- If you have questions/issues while making your payment, please reach out to Yellowdig Support at this link or by emailing email@example.com.
- If you are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to purchase access to Yellowdig for our course, please reach out to me via email and I will do my best to accommodate you.
Yellowdig is an online conversation platform for [your course]. You receive points for participating in Yellowdig conversations, and the points you receive in Yellowdig factor into your final grade. Each week, you can earn up to [weekly max] points. To get an "A" in Yellowdig, you must have at least [100% participation target] points by the end of the course. If you reach the weekly max by the end of each week, you are guaranteed to get an "A" in Yellowdig. The grading period for Yellowdig will begin on [starting date] and end on [ending date]. Your Yellowdig grade is worth x% of your final grade.
You receive points for interacting and engaging with your peers in the following ways:
- Writing a Post of at least n words (x points)
- Writing a Comment of at least n words (x points)
- Receiving a Comment on your Post (x points)
- Receiving an Accolade on your Post or Comment:
- [Accolade 1]: x points
- [Accolade 2]: x points
- [Accolade n]: x points
- Receiving a Reaction on your Post or Comment:
- [Emoji 1]: x points
- [Emoji 2]: x points
- [Emoji n]: x points
You are encouraged to reward your peers for producing excellent content by commenting on and reacting to their Posts. In addition, I will reward particularly exemplary Posts and Comments by giving Accolades. To earn as many points as possible, you are strongly encouraged to contribute to our Yellowdig Community early and often. Just keep in mind that, once you reach the weekly max, you cannot earn additional points until the weekly reset deadline ([deadline day and time]).
Yellowdig passes back your Yellowdig grade to [your LMS] as a proportion that represents your current pace toward getting an "A" in Yellowdig. Therefore, the points you see in Yellowdig might not match the points you see in [your LMS]. If any of this confuses you, just remember: if you end every week with a Yellowdig grade of 100%, you are guaranteed to get an "A" in Yellowdig.