STEM Professor Succeeds using Yellowdig as a Help Forum

Updated: May 26


Dr. Vicki Hart of University of vermont

Dr. Vicki Hart, Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont, has been using Yellowdig for two and a half years to teach her graduate courses on epidemiology and biostatistics in the master of public health program. Classes for this program are 100% online and asynchronous, so students are never in real-time classes together.

It was still very important to find ways for these students to be able to connect, collaborate, and converse. That said, assignments in discussion boards and the LMS can deteriorate into check-the-box tasks that students do halfheartedly to get the grade. She wanted her students to have relevant and thoughtful interactions. Then she discovered Yellowdig. “We all have different ways of making this tool work for us.” Dr. Hart found Yellowdig to be the perfect solution for her diverse roster of students, many of whom are working professionals with busy schedules, demanding careers, and familial obligations.


Dr. Hart used Yellowdig differently than other discussion boards. From the beginning of every course, her syllabus encourages students to not only use Yellowdig for discussions, but also as a Q-and-A forum where students can rely on their peers for clarification and guidance. Not only do they usually get a response quicker (there are only so many hours in the day for Dr. Hart) but they also get to foster the kinds of relationships that are often missing from online courses. You could see results for yourself by giving Yellowdig a try in your classes next semester as a part of our limited pilot offer.


Yellowdig helps students to grasp complex topics and engage in a meaningful way.


Quote from Dr. Vicki Hart

How did Dr. Hart use Yellowdig's virtual classroom software in her high level, science-based courses?


She encourages Q-and-A interactions by mentioning the forum often in class and by providing a lot of Yellowdig’s Accolades to students who are participating.

Dr. Hart noticed that students make full use of Yellowdig’s comprehensive features. They don’t just go back and forth on a message board. Instead, they post pictures, upload equations, handwritten annotations, and generally display a penchant for creativity. This resulted in a high Conversion Ratio (comments per post) which is the greatest indicator for overall engagement as it implies there’s back and forth conversations occurring. Take a look at an example from her forum below.


Example from yellowdig's virtual classroom platform as a help forum

When Dr. Hart went to quantify whether or not posting in a Help Forum had a positive impact on final grades, she discovered that there was a significant positive association in the final grade with asking, answering, or commenting on a question.


Chart of results from using yellowdig's online class platform

We could not have been more pleased with her results. If you think that Yellowdig could function in a similar capacity in your classroom, take advantage of our free pilot program to try it in some of your courses.

This post is a summary of a webinar hosted on 10/29/2020. If you would like to learn more about Vicki Hart's experience, watch the recording here.

If you loved what you read and would like to test out Yellowdig in your classroom next semester, be sure to sign up below for one of the limited spots in our free pilot program.

Sign up for a yellowdig free trial



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