Use this script in an email or Yellowdig Post to introduce Yellowdig to your students. Note that all the red text needs to be changed to your specifications and that there may be good reasons to pick and choose pieces from any of the samples.
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; almost 20% all student posts mentioning "Yellowdig" are simply asking whether participation is a required part of the course grade or not.
If you need any help in thinking about how to introduce Yellowdig or instruct your students in using it, please reach out at email@example.com.
This template assumes that you have all of the point categories turned on and have awarded points for both Upvotes and Comments on Posts, which are highly recommended. Assuming you have not done so, you will need to edit this template accordingly. This template explains to students why the point system has point settings set up the way they are and gives them some ideas about how they can maximize their point totals. That is very intentional in that it will also steer more students to behave in ways that will ultimately produce a more vibrant discussion (e.g., students coming in at the beginning of the week is very good for a Community).
It's my pleasure to welcome you to Yellowdig, your online discussion platform for the duration of our course.
Unlike typical [your LMS] discussions where all of you would respond to the same prompt, Yellowdig lets you find and share real-world content (articles, videos, etc.) that YOU feel is relevant to lectures and readings. As you create Posts and make Comments, and as other students up-vote or comment on your posts, you will automatically receive participation points. Just to be clear, using Yellowdig is a required part of the course, and the points you acquire count for 20% of your course grade.
The points you earn in Yellowdig are passed to the [your LMS] grade book for your discussion credit. To learn more about how points work, see the "How Points Work" link on the right sidebar. 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 Friday, the weekly maximum points will reset and you will again have until the following Friday to get up to the weekly maximum. If you are having a fun discussion you can always keep posting even after you have reached the weekly maximum; you just will stop earning additional credit toward your grade until the next Friday at 4:00 AM.
I really want you to read what other people are thinking and to have a real discussion 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 upvote 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 upvoting 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 early and I can see you are contributing to a vibrant discussion.
This week, I'd like you all to get used to using Yellowdig by introducing yourselves. Please 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 click on the "Introduce Yourself" Topic on the right 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!
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 (see top nav bar) for tips and info on different features.
- If you have any technical questions or are having trouble, use the Help button in the bottom-right hand corner of the Knowledge Base.