Yellowdig Client Office Hours (July 8th, 2021)
Watch the full webinar recording here
Bob Ertischek 0:12
Welcome to yellow digs July office hours and fewer people are trickling in here. As you probably already have noticed, this session is being recorded. I'm bobberts check. I'm yellowdig, Senior academic liaison, and I'm joined today by Dr. Brian ver dine, our head of client success. And john Martin, who is our onboarding specialist here today. And there have been as is usually our format. These sessions, we've asked for questions to be submitted in advance, because that makes for more organized session. And there were several questions. Submit in advance, and we will address those. But I believe we will probably also have time to address any additional questions that you may have. That being said, you can ask any questions, I would actually direct you to the q&a, which should be at the bottom right of your zoom screen. That's probably the most efficient way to answer your questions, as opposed to placing them in the chat. But john will be monitoring both. So we'll figure it out one way or the other. Um, and I guess without any other further ado, we should jump right in. So Brian is running the slideshow. So we'll go there. Yeah, just go straight to the actual Brian, what's this new, exciting website you're sharing?
Brian Verdine 1:51
For some reason, it's my taking on my home screen. But we just wanted to quickly highlight for everybody in case you don't know how to find some resources for yellowdig, we recently revamped our knowledgebase and our support ticketing system. And I just wanted to highlight for everyone those mean resources. So you can go to help by yellowdig.co without the M. And that's where our knowledge base currently is. And we've updated and tried to forward all of the links from the old knowledge base to the current one. I believe we've we've, you know, found all of those and everything should be working well with the new system. So if you're looking to get any questions answered about yellowdig, you can can do that in the new knowledge base, there's a section with popular articles. And we've also sort of rearranged some various things based on how much people were using them before. And we really try to keep that as updated as possible as our single source of source of truth. Honestly, both for our clients and internally, so it's a great resource to check out if you haven't seen it. The other thing I just want to highlight quickly for everyone, if you haven't.
Bob Ertischek 3:22
oh, I was just going to say that if for some reason you forget help that yellowdig. co you've nosotros, the yellowdig main page under Resources, and you'll find that link there as well.
Brian Verdine 3:35
Yeah, and you can access these from the avatar menu within the platform as well. And if you need to submit a particular you can do that right up here at the top right. So we're going to continue to add a couple of additional links and things. But this is a great sort of starting point. For anything you would want to find and then learn by yellowdig. co is where we have, you know, arranged various pieces of sort of courses were modules for people to learn about specific things. So that's a great place to find our instructor certification course, and some additional modules around building other types of communities. So without having been said, I guess I will jump back to our slides and and switch to.
Bob Ertischek 4:36
So our agenda today, basically, like we said, is going to be your questions that were submitted in advance. And like I said, I believe we'll probably be able to get to some additional questions for people were here. But we thought we would share just a few things that are that have changed or in the platform recently or other improvements that are coming soon. And the most prominent of those probably is the new reminders. Brian, you want to share a little reminders?
Brian Verdine 5:04
Yes. So within the the platform, there is the reminders feature now. And that the concept of that is basically to allow you to configure some sort of nudges for students, for your community. And so if you go to settings within a community event reminders, student, you can configure how long it is before a student will get a notification for low engagement, and then how often that notification will be repeated. And how many times total. So by default, we turn these on for active communities to send the first notification after five days of inactivity. And then to repeat that once a week, for a total of four times or four notifications. And below is a sample of what those notifications like in an email. And then within that feature, you can see which students who are set to receive a notification, whether they actually have the notifications turned on or off. So whether they will actually receive them. And then, you know, an accounting of students that were recently sent some of these reminder notifications. So it's a great way to sort of monitor students that are maybe not participating as much. And you can configure how those are sent.
Bob Ertischek 6:44
Brian, just a couple of clarifications and sort of a little bit more depth on this. So as you can probably see at the top of the screen, you can enable or disable this feature at the top of your window with a little check mark there. And you can also customize the cadence for the notifications. But I specifically wanted to mention that students do have the power to disable those notifications. And Brian, what are some of the reasons behind that?
Brian Verdine 7:16
Um, I mean, basically, I mean, most technology design, students or individuals would have the right to decide not to be notified. And so we've kind of followed that framework. And so notifications, overall, students can opt out of any of the notifications that platform does, and, and they can opt out either within the platform, or the email notifications right now as well. And that basic framework has been applied. And recently, we made it so that you will be able to edit notifications for individual communities, that would be exceptions to global defaults, right. So you can still go and change your global notification settings, to control all of these overall. But if I wanted for one specific community, to shut off a specific notification type, I could go in and edit those. And I would stop receiving that specific notification for that specific community. And so that gives you a lot of configurability in terms of being able to opt out or opt in to specific notification types. And then if you go to your overall notification settings, you can see that these global settings have been overridden, and a single community now would be able to change it from there. So this will allow you to really easily, you know, make different decisions about your notifications in a community and your students have the same capabilities.
Bob Ertischek 9:08
So Brian, I noticed that we're already getting questions in the q&a. And there's a quick one, I think that we can just quickly address as soon as we're done with the, with the new features. So I just want to be clear to the people in the audience that we we may not get to your questions right away. We want to just finish this part of it, and then we'll get to that. So standby, but let's talk now about the community walkthrough. Setup walkthrough.
Brian Verdine 9:42
Yeah, so I don't have actually anything to show for that right now. But I did want to just bring everybody's attention to the fact that we are creating a community walkthrough. When you first land in a community, you'll be able to sort of go through a quick checklist of the things that you have to configure, which would include You know, the start and end for the point system. There are a quick topic setup, and we're making some additional changes to how the topics are set up and configured so that you can rearrange them. And then that walks through sort of ends with some quick videos about how to start out the community and some suggestions about ways to get the community going really quickly. So that will be coming soon.
Bob Ertischek 10:30
Oh, go ahead. I'm just gonna say and thanks to john, who was very much responsible for that feature as it comes up.
Brian Verdine 10:42
And then the other feature I wanted to quickly mention was a draft saving feature. So at the current time, when students create a post and start creating a post, we do hold a draft, that they if they were to close it out or something, and they would be able to sort of recover it, we are building a draft feature that will allow you to see drafts and decide to post them and sort of edit them. So it's certainly there's more visibility into the drafting process in the auto saving process. And you will also importantly, be able to access those drafts from any device once they're created as an auto save. So there is a pretty interesting feature coming as well.
Bob Ertischek 11:28
Fantastic. And so now before we head into the the questions, part of the thing, there is one quick question from Debbie, regarding a place where you can see all student activity as in the earlier version of yellow dig, and I'm assuming that we can quickly show the activity feed as probably the place to see that.
Brian Verdine 11:54
Yes, the activity feed is one place that you can see everything that's happening in the community sorted directly by date, and you can access any of those things that you want to. So that's one place that you can do though. Um, you know, in terms of overall student behavior, a lot of that would be inside of the reports area, there is a point report, you can see a log that will show you each student's individual activity. Or you can come up here to member report. And you would be able to download a report for each student that will show a line for each student and sort of how much participation they have been doing. And there's hundreds of different data points here. So you'll be able to get a pretty clear picture of how those students are participating.
Bob Ertischek 12:52
Right? And feel free to let us know any more information on that. But at this point, I think we'll jump into some of the questions we received.
Brian Verdine 13:02
So a lot of the other questions were related to a focus on conversations or weekly topics. How do you get students to move on from specific topics? Or how do you build rubrics and more meaningful engagement, better controls and learning periods. And I wanted to try to address those as a group of questions and then allow for a little bit of follow up after that. And some of this is sort of talking through a little bit of what we believe yellowdig is trying to do for our community, or for for course, right and we think of reality is really trying to complete the educational experience overall. And specifically to add that element of social presence into into a course and into a community of inquiry, where students can really maximize that educational experience. And so we sort of follow that community of inquiry framework by garrison Anderson Archer as one guiding light around why social presence is important and, and, you know, what we're doing. So the ability of participants to, to to project themselves socially and emotionally as real people through the medium of communication being used is is an important aspect of adding vast social presence. And so from that standpoint, we really view the role of yellowdig in trying to add social presence overall. And from that standpoint, we see that a lot of times social tools, were physical proximity are being used to assume that social presence is already part of the educational experience.
And so a lot of times heavily directed discussions are really adding more teaching presidents were more cognitive presence, they're not really allowing students to sort of project themselves socially and emotionally into that course experience. A lot of times social tools are used without students actually using them, right? So they're offered to students, but they're not really used as a meaningful aspect of the course we're on are really, you know, the students that may be most mean to us, will tend not to, we see a lot of times that people assume that just because students are on a campus that they will have social presence built in. And while that may be true on sort of social stuff, it's not really true on the social aspect of learning and learning about a specific course, or material. And the other thing is that a lot of times assessment, we're building an assessment into this social part of the tool will actually sort of make the instructor not a social partner, or will prevent students from thinking of each other as a social partner, and all these things kind of chip away at the ability of social tools that are added to a course, to actually add social presence. And so we really want students at the end of the day to be of identify with their community, communicate purposely in a trusting environment. And so it's important that we add that sort of a presence. And I don't know about if you have anything you want to add?
Bob Ertischek 16:28
I just wanted to, you know, say, thinking about the social presence a little further, what does that do for your students, it gives them a chance to reflect on the learning to share their perspective with another student, and maybe learn a little bit more from that other students perspective, because they may not have gotten the same thing from the instructor to ask and answer each other's questions. This can be really important as far as a learning tool goes, as far as processing, do I understand the material? Do I understand it well enough to to communicate it back to somebody, these are things that the social presence really add to, to the, to what's going on to the learning experience, as well as being able to bring in relevance and and real world events and personal experiences, and related to the material. And so I think it's really important to have that social presence. And like Brian says, It's often assumed, and I would just quickly add that, in your discussion boards, really, that's a many to one conversation, again, it's it's to the teacher is where those those conversations are going. And in the classroom, you really have the same thing. And the five minutes before or after class doesn't really create the opportunity when people are sitting together to sort of have that full social presence. So that was all over the map. Right?
Brian Verdine 17:45
Yeah. Yeah, so that's, that's helpful. And so when we think about sort of the typical circle assignment for courseware, we've typically seen is that instructor will sort of ask a question, or assign some type of thing that is supposed to propel student interaction between each other, there's a deadline, and, and then shift on to the next topic in the next week. And that's a really typical sort of cadence. And, and there's some downsides of that, that I wanted to talk about in terms of in terms of answering those questions. But but the model that the model that we're trying to build here is something that's a little bit more free flowing, a little bit more likely to encourage students to come back more often participate in more conversations. And for those conversations do feel a little bit more fluid dynamic blend first topics together, and get more of the advantages of an actual social interaction with good back and forth conversations.
And, and so one of the things that I wanted to talk about here was to consider the positives and negatives of focus time bound assignments, specifically on social presence and on community formation. So when we think about the positive aspects of that sort of more rigid framework, where you want students to talk about a specific topic, in a specific timeframe. So that's sort of the course is all aligned around that topic. The one clear benefit is a focus on topics that are important to your teaching, and that you think students need to learn. Maybe one of the other sort of benefits is that there are some students that like to be told exactly what to do, and are sort of more than happy to respond to those assignments and you know, and do what they're told and get something out of it. From our perspective, of risks, we see a lot of damaging aspects to that. And the one thing I'll say is I think all of this is a balancing act. And, you know, people are going to be making decisions around what they're seeing in their communities, and the outcomes they got.
But some of the damaging aspects that we've seen from a behavioral perspective on the student side is that they conceive of discussion boards, where there's only one topic to talk about. And it has to be the topic that you send to them as being truly single purpose. So even if you invite them to talk about other things, or even if you tell them sometimes that it's okay, to ask questions, a lot of times students will only use those communities to respond to your weekly assignment weekly prom. And so that really constricts the overall value proposition of what that community could be. Um, some of the other things that we tend to see is that students will actually not share things that are really interesting, really relevant, either because the topic came up, you know, in their professional career, or in something they saw on the news, and they won't share it, because, you know, the only way that they're allowed to participate in the community is to respond to a prompt that you've given them. Another damaging thing is the deadlines that it creates.
So when you tell students that they have to participate by a specific deadline, what do they tend to do, they tend to wait until right before that deadline. And if you think about interactions between people, they take time to unfold. So if everybody comes right before a deadline, you really can't have good interactions. So that definitely tamps down how much of a social assignment or a social experience that students can have. Maybe one other really important thing is that by giving students one deadline, each week, you also reduce the sense that they might miss out on something that's happening in between, so they won't come back more often, right, they'll just come once a week, and the entire community is active only once a week, I may, I may sort of don't have that FOMO reaction of needing or wanting to come back more often. so that you don't miss out on something.
We also see that in response to prompts, students will overproduce posts, so they won't read as many, or they won't read all of them, and they won't talk about them as much, right. So you get a whole lot of posts in those communities and nobody to actually talk about them. And then it also influences students assumption about their role, right. So you know, in a standard discussion forum, where they're talking to prompts, they'll respond to the prompt, they think that that's their only role in the community. And they don't really think of their job as actually having good conversations with each other. And then I would just also say, for for any other students that doesn't want to be told exactly what to do. There are a lot of students out there that crave some freedom. And many specifically, because a lot of other parts of your course are regimented, or they're being told what to do. Specifically, students might enjoy having a part of the course where they have some of that freedom. So so as we see, those are sort of the damaging aspects of primes. And I think it's, it's kind of important that you think about what those are, and think about ways that you can avoid them. As you might try to be a little bit more directive in your communities.
Bob Ertischek 23:51
We're gonna help you out with that right now. Yeah. So So what should you do? How should you approach these things? And? Yeah, well, yeah, let's stay on the slide for just a minute if we could.
Yeah, so now I'm gonna, I'm gonna go with them.
Brian Verdine 24:16
Okay. Um, one thing that I would say is we talk a lot about students having freedom and having some choice in what they're doing. That certainly helps with sort of self determination and sort of owning part of their learning experience. But as we're saying that I think a lot of times people interpret that to mean that you shouldn't have rules, or you shouldn't give feedback. Or you shouldn't be a little directive of student of student behavior. Um, what we've clearly seen in our data is that students do like freedom, but they also still want to know that you're there and that you care about what's happening in the community. And there's a couple of things we think that you can do. That really helped amp data. So first of all students enjoy getting reactions and comments from instructors gives them a sort of bump, they know you're paying attention. Hopefully, it's positive things that they're getting. If it is, they'll probably try to do more positive things. And the idea being here that that students, you know, really do, you want to know that you're paying attention to what's going on, and that you care about what they're saying and doing.
One other easy way to really make it clear that you're paying attention is to bring posts or other resources that are shared into the community into synchronous sessions, and maybe sort of highlight or put on a pedestal those students that are, you know, sharing those things, and maybe, you know, try to drive additional conversation around that. bringing things from the community in the other aspects of your course is a great way to tie your community back into the course, without having to be directive about everything that's happening there. And it does encourage students to try to make better content that will be recognized, or used in those in those courses session. And you can also recognize good content with accolades right in the community. And one of my favorite things to suggest is to do something like create a weekly digest, with the post permalinks, you know, have three or four posts that you thought were exceptionally good that we can just send them to students say, Hey, here's a couple of posts you should check out is a great way to focus students on important content without demanding that they, you know, post in response to a question of yours.
Bob Ertischek 26:50
Yeah, and so the other thing that sort of goes along with all this is, is and we're gonna talk about this in the next set of bullets is setting expectations, but I think it belongs here as well, you should tell the students explicitly what what the purpose of the community is, and what your role in it is going to be. Let them know that you're, you know, the community is a place where we're going to have course relevant discussions, and that your role in the community is to be a member of the community as they are that you're going to share some of your passion for the subject matter, you may occasionally comment, you may occasionally post but they shouldn't expect you to comment in posts on everything. But you can rest assured that I'll be there speaking as you in the community, you know, making sure that we're having good discussions. So I think that's the one of the first steps at the outset of the course that you can use to sort of let students know you're there. And then as we'll transition into this other part, to make sure that your conversations are actually what you're looking for works. Right.
Brian Verdine 28:00
Yeah, and I think expectations are really important to establish upfront, you know, both in terms of their acts, expectations about you, your performance in the community, or your your engagement with community members. But having established expectations then allows you to enforce them without sort of having as many judgment calls or whatever. So it definitely makes your job easier to have those expectations establish upfront. And a couple of other things that that I guess I wanted to highlight is basically students are often current and annoyed as much by off topic content, we're phoning them as you are. And that tends to sort of hamper the overall community experience for everyone. So there are a couple of things that I think that you can do in, you know, administering your community. One is to look for students that are participating hosting, but where no one is really reacting to their content. And there's a couple of reasons to look specifically at what those students are doing. The first is, you know, if that student is sort of struggling to engage other students, you know, maybe they're having trouble communicating, and maybe you can give them some pointers to help them communicate better. But another reason that students will not react or not, you know, talk to another student is if they are phoning it in, or if they're, you know, posting things that other students don't want to engage with. And so that that can actually be a signal of like sort of a student that isn't doing great. And that's one way to help you identify that and possibly address that behavior. And the other thing that we've seen work pretty well is that you can invite students to self.
Brian Verdine 30:00
They're on community. And in fact, if you highlight for students that you can fly content, and they know that other students might report their content, they're going to be less likely to do things that would get their their posts live. Because you will be able to then see the post as being a problem. So that's another thing that can kind of help head off. Some problem behaviors and things that people might be talking about when they want, you know, more meaningful engagement.
Bob Ertischek 30:34
in one other practical in platform item that you can use to keep your conversations on on topic is, oddly enough, something that we call topics, and you probably discovered them. And by default, in new communities, they are now required. In other words, students can't create a post without choosing a topic. But um, so that that helps keep them on those topics, as long as you create those thoughtful topics related to your subject matter that are, reflect the conversations that you want students to have in the course. So you know, that'll that'll keep to some degree, extraneous things out of your course conversations. So
I think that's really important.
Brian Verdine 31:24
And the other thing, I wanted to run through quickly with some advice that we've been sort of working on, and and thinking about how we can answer this question. So basically, you know, when an instructor or somebody would say something into, like, I still feel like I need to increase focus in my community and might have more focused conversations. How can I do that, while still avoiding most of the downsides, of of that sort of old rigid discussion framework that we talked about. And, you know, one of the things that we've started discussing with a lot of people that are using yellow D, is the notion of the conversation beam. And some of the ways that you might be able to take those discussion prompts from a old weekly discussion, and build it into the sort of yellowdig framework in a way that will get you a little bit more focus, but will still allow students some of the freedom that really helps them, you know, see value in participating in the community and really be able to build up that value proposition.
And so one way that we've talked about doing this is sort of adding this passage onto the front of a weekly discussion from, and basically it says, you know, if you're looking for ideas, on what to talk about, feel free to address the conversational themes I've offered below. And those would be something similar to use those the discussion prompts that you've seen, worked pretty well in prior discussions. But then sort of add on that, you know, as always, you can choose the host, a start to a new conversation on these themes. Take part in a conversation, someone else started or create an entirely different conversation of your own, as long as it's relevant to the course. And again, sort of establishing expectations really clearly. And to sort of refocus students on on the goal, the goal is to have course, relevant conversations, share articles, share examples that are relevant course topics, and remind them that you're more likely to receive reactions, comments and accolades, if you do that. And then also, talk about the fact that there doesn't need to necessarily be a deadline to this, it's not, you know, post on this topic here, and then stop talking about it.
Post on this topic here, what we find is that when you have multiple topics and conversations moving in parallel, students are reading and, and interacting with that content a lot more, even if they aren't responding to that conversation. So the notion of allowing conversations to continue, if there's still things students need or want to talk about, is something that actually ends up being a net benefit, students actually end up reading a lot more of that material. Um, so so. So that's the sort of overall suggestion. If you feel like you really need to have a sort of a more regular theme. And maybe the other suggestion I would make is that, just don't put them in there at exactly the same time every week. Either, you know, post multiple times per week at different times. or post those themes sort of randomly or only as needed. But if you don't give students a weekly guideline, where they know that this new theme is going to be released, and they have to sort of get their participation in before that theme, students will start coming to the community more often, at different intervals of time. And they will participate more regularly for sort of fear of missing out on things that are interesting going on.
Bob Ertischek 35:32
The only thing I want to add, Brian is that, I think it always bears saying that that commenting, is at least as valuable as posting the other day, when when required people to post that, that sort of lowers the threshold for for creating actual conversations. So letting people choose those conversations they want to be involved in, whether it's posting or commenting is going to create those better conversations I was looking for.
Brian Verdine 36:01
And just to give a really concrete example of that, this is a post from from our platform, by one of our users. And it's sort of follows this the style of of a conversation theme, you know, that we sort of created a form of but but this is, this is a good example of somebody that is is is allowing flexibility, but still suggesting themes to students that they can and should be talking about throughout the course. So again, I'm a sort of, you can always use some of my questions to consider from lecture notes. To participate. They're meant to get your critical thinking juices flowing, right? Here's one from something we talked about in class this week. Don't just answer with posts. Use this as a broad question to guide your thinking and posting, feel free to ignore this question and post something different as long as it's relevant. And even better if you post something, you know, specifically about that topic. And then she sets that expectation that she's not always going to pose these questions. She would like people to bring their own conversations, ask their own questions. And that this is primarily to get the ball rolling. And if you were to do something like this, and am posted, you know, semi regularly, and I invite students to do some of that other more flexible posting, you will tend to see students really taking and, you know, still talking about and reading things that are important for your topics. But also still, you know, not experiencing the downsides of that being the only thing that.
Bob Ertischek 37:56
Brian wanted to point out, we got about 15 minutes left, so I want to just get us moving things along a little bit was there.
Brian Verdine 38:08
think that was about I had to add, um, there was one specific question about controlling of earning periods. And I guess maybe I would want to just quickly address that specific question. Um, the way that the earning periods work in yellowdig, is that there's a weekly maximum that's established as you set up the point system. But all of the points that students learn are added to their total, it's not like you're filling a weekly bucket of points. So there's, there's sort of one assignment reality and one giant bucket of points. And the only thing that that weekly rollover does is put a maximum on what students are, so that there's a minimum on what they kind of have to learn throughout the course. And so that they can't just do all of their participation at one time, either in the first couple of weeks, or, you know, in the last week. So, one thing, you know, we haven't allowed as the adjustment of those different grading periods, because because that is really just a sort of a limiter on what students can. And it's not really meant to be used as a deadline for assignments. It just limits stress management limited for what they earn in individual week. And if you include the buffer and add a buffer, you know, students, you know, can earn ahead or fall behind. They don't have to participate in a specific timeframe. So that that whole point system is meant to be really flexible to sort of fit alongside of the flexibility in how we talk about students participating and coming more often.
Bob Ertischek 40:02
So, um, I noticed that there was a question in the q&a about the date for resetting points. And, you know, we often share that Sunday is not when we want to have the points reset, and people are asking for the reasoning behind that. And what are your advices?
Brian Verdine 40:22
Yeah, so the reasoning behind the suggestion not to put the the rollover day on Sunday is because students do treat it as a sort of deadline. And in fact, in sort of general best practices for online course development, a lot of suggestions are coming out not to put it on Sunday, because students will tend to procrastinate during all of their work until the weekend, rather than sort of spacing that work out throughout the week. And what we've seen in our platform, and while we've heard from various people around how those deadlines work, I always suggest very early Saturday morning or late Friday night reasoning being students don't wait until midnight on Friday to decide to do their their yellow day assignment those days out participating more throughout the week. And in order to have good back and forth conversations, you need students to space out their participation and experience in the community. progressing deadlines is one of the deadliest things as far as hampering Good, good community health and good student participation. If everybody comes in one block time, they're not really interacting with each other. They're also not reading nearly as much stuff. They're just posting to get their points and they're leaving.
Bob Ertischek 41:50
So we have another question from Debbie. And it's a great book, what is the benefit of grade? passback? If there is a different point system? I'm not sure I quite understand that. It seems like it might be better to manually move all the points at the end of the semester. Thoughts? And, Alright, go ahead. Yeah, well, so I'm not sure what you mean, by a different point system, you mean that the point system in yellowdig is different than the grade point system in your in the amount of time the amount that you're awarding for participation? Are we Great, okay, now, and thank you for the clarification, Debbie. So, the point system and yellowdig like you say it is not equivalent to the point system, the grade, right yellowdig is a single assignment over the course of the semester that students are required to earn a certain number of points to get that full participation grade, right. And the yellowdig points are designed in a couple of First of all, to avoid confusion with the with the gradebook grade, and also to prevent to to have enough granularity to make it so that actions can have a measurable yet you know, definable a smaller effect on on things as they want. So, points, comments, reactions, things like that, the social points and all that kind of stuff.
Brian Verdine 43:22
just to clarify that. If If, say, like most course, grade books are set up so that, you know, yellowdig might be worth 10 to 100 points. If we imagine that yellowdig is only worth 100 points for the semester. And there are five different ways that you can earn points in yellow day, and there are 10 weeks for a semester. That means you only have 10 points per week, you know, if you want students participate all throughout the semester, to allocate, and then you have five different categories with which those 10 points can be earned. Which means that you'd have to get like one point for a post and, or you know, or two points for a post and one point for comment. It doesn't give you enough freedom enough points to sort of allocate to the different ways of earning points. So that's one reason that that Bob was talking about. The other reason is purely technical, which is weak we add the grade that we pass to the learning management system has to be a proportion. It can't be points can't be raw points. So there's automatically a conversion. And, and art rate can only be between zero and one when we pass it there. So so one method for calculating that points would be at the beginning of the semester. To start with zero points. You have to get to 1000 points in yellow day by the end and as you climb towards that, that Your grade goes towards 100%. The problem with that system is that you would have zero the first week, you would have like a 10%, after a couple of weeks or the, you know, the first week. And so students when when that calculates into the gradebook, students look like they're failing completely the yellowdig assignment through almost the entire semester. So that's why we calculated the grade a little bit different.
Bob Ertischek 45:26
In so Debbie, I think that the, the answer that I like to share generally is, first of all, in yellowdig, there's something that we call the point modal on the top right hand of every other big community that shows students exactly where they are on their pace for earning their full participation credit over the course of the semester. And that should be the single point of truth for students as the semester goes on. Now, to get to your point, specifically, at the end of the semester, yellowdig will calculate the accurate grade for that students have earned in participation according to the formula of however many points you award to participation. So you should not need to manually move things into yellowdig. Instead, what some professors do is they mute the gradebook column in their learning management system briella dig for during the semester and point them to the elevated point modal. That's where students should be able to look, I hope that makes sense.
Brian Verdine 46:22
Yeah, just to add quickly, on top of that, yellow is grade, up until the last day up until the course and Canon will fluctuate. Or I should say, up until the last week, you know, canon will fluctuate. So you know, until students either reach 100%, or they're in that last week of the course, their grade can go up and down. It's not until the course is completed that we would say the greatest finalized, right, and I am awarded as a complete grade. So if you find that students are being confused by the LD Craig, that's being passed back, you can absolutely mute that in the gradebook and just have students earned their points and pay attention there.
Bob Ertischek 47:12
So there are two more questions that I see in the in the q&a. I guess I'll read one, the top one is from Brent, the issue with walk yellowdig. Choosing how the periods are broken down can create issues with different course times six weeks, seven and a half week 15 week courses. For instance, students get loaded into the course three days before the course starts, I would like to have them be able to start earning points then before the course starts. Okay. However, then what happened was a full two weeks, and then it does not end cleanly on the last day of class with enough time for the final earning period. It feels as much as yellowdig is supposed to be giving learners freedom to interact. Validate is limiting the instructor for students to set for their setup. So we probably have a few ways we can help you right?
Brian Verdine 48:01
Yeah, so we do have our freeform point system that's built into the platform, that's one thing that you might be able to look at for specific, unusual course designs or different types, of course setups. You know, one thing that I will say is we are looking at adding additional limiters into that system to sort of get past the weekly rollover concept. And to allow much more flexibility in setting those up. So there are some additional changes that we're looking at, in terms of our point system, and enabling more flexibility. You know, a major downside to allowing reconfiguration of all of these weekly deadlines and things like that are the setup overhead required to do it. And we've been trying to avoid some of those problems. So we definitely hear you on that feedback. And it's definitely appreciated. We're working our way towards, you know..
Bob Ertischek 49:12
and splits specific specifically the problem that you mentioned, of starting, you want people to start beforehand and then finish on a final day of class. I don't know if this would work for you. But potentially, you could move your start date a few days earlier, and then that first few days would would create the week cut off that you're looking for and make even earning periods that you might take my word for it. The next question, Oh, go ahead.
Brian Verdine 49:44
I was just gonna say we see a lot of people sort of adding the time on at the beginning. I'm just making the first period a little bit longer to extend past when students will have access to the course though I start pushing sort of limitations that you're bringing up otherwise.
Bob Ertischek 50:05
Absolutely. Um, and then there's another question that I know that I can't answer when you combine it really john can. That is what many of our instructors do. I'm assuming you're talking about muting the gradebook instructor report that students sometimes see their score. After even though the grade column is muted, you know why this might be happening.
Brian Verdine 50:26
I don't know why I would have to be in Canvas, I mean, we could certainly take a look at the individual report of that, and try to figure that out. But if grade passback is on it will try to pass it to Canvas. And if it's displaying Canvas, that would that would be a canvas setting, I imagine.
Bob Ertischek 50:50
Um, we've just got just a couple minutes left. I believe I know that I'm available to stick around the Brian is as well if anyone wanted to hang out. But I also wanted to mention that next week, we have a webinar, where David Blakeslee, an English professor from Clemson University will be talking about his experiences using yellowdig in English classes, and how to get the most out of it, I believe that is on the 12th that to leave the link for that, can we, I meant to grab that beforehand to do that, so I'm embarrassed. But we can share that with you. Um, and we also wanted to let you know that coming up, and you'll be receiving probably some email about this, we will be having a series of fall kickoff webinars where we will try to, we will, you know, invite new instructors to sort of come in and get a walkthrough of yellowdig. But we'll also be answering any questions anyone may have. And you'll see those coming soon. They'll be a series of six of those in August and September. And in addition to that, office hours are now officially a monthly thing. We will be having them every month. We are trying to stagger the times a little bit so that people on the east coast and West Coast and wherever else are able to make them. So watch your emails for those. And, you know, I guess that's the end of our plan session, but please feel free to stick around if you have any other questions.