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Teaching a Women’s History Course — Thoughts about Yellowdig From a Professor on the Deaf Spectrum

Updated: Jun 24, 2022


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Speakers: Gayle Fischer and Bob Ertischek

Building a community for students to learn and listen to each other is an effective approach to teaching. Gayle Fischer, history professor at Salem State University, sat down with Yellowdig in April 2021 to talk about how she uses our virtual classroom platform for her Women’s History Class. Prior to using Yellowdig, she had difficulties teaching in class with limited accommodations to her hearing. Gayle found herself withdrawing and speaking less and less with her students. “It really puts a damper on discussion,” she explains.


When the pandemic started - right around the time of their Spring Break - she found herself trying to “get as much of my material online as possible.” Students logged on to look at readings and take quizzes, not truly experiencing an active learning environment. After looking and trying out different platforms, she stumbled upon Yellowdig, and fell in love with it.


What Was Different?

When Fall semester came around, Gayle’s goal with using Yellowdig was to get some engagement and discussion going on between the students. After introducing the students to the platform, she noticed that they were easily already making themselves familiar with the social media-esque platform. Instead of the artificiality of discussion boards on Canvas, which were based on prompts and not conversations, Yellowdig “was much more organic than that.“



Students enrolled in Gayle’s class were taught asynchronously without a video conferencing platform. This provides very little room to get to know students, but through Yellowdig, she was able to get to know her students’ interests, insights, and “they became real people.” She saw that students were interacting beyond classroom material, giving each other encouraging words and advice.


Topic Tags

On top of making personal connections in the classroom, Gayle wanted to see her students make connections with the course materials to their own lives.


Here’s an example of a student starting a conversation using the “Historical Connections” tag that Gayle created for the class: