Salem State Webinar Transcript Featuring Professor Gayle Fischer

Watch the webinar recording from April 2021 about building community as a deaf spectrum professor in a virtual classroom: Watch here

Gayle's classroom is also featured in Yellowdig's e-book: Download the 2021 E-book featuring instructors from around the globe

 

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig 
 
The webinar has started Hello, whoever is here. We are just getting or not started yet. This is that awkward period of time before we start. We're all in zoom and, you know, don't have too much to do that's relevant. So if you want to just share in the chat and say hello and where you're from, or you know, whatever, that would be awesome. I will share with those of you who are now here that I'm in Rochester, New York, and that it's going to snow between three and seven inches tomorrow. Yay. So that's exciting for me. I see a few people I know john cable. Hello, john. And let's see. Laurie, Laurie and Laurel and Jeff and Bethany and that. Annalise welcome and that up from Salem State what a What a coincidence, our speaker so Salem's to hate. How about that and that. And so, you know, we just wanted we're going to give people probably until two minutes past two to get in because sometimes people and you know, having trouble zooming in and then we will jump right in. Anyway. So, you know, normally during these awkward silences I like to sing in, you know, but I'm not going to and I really don't like to sing. But again, I'm just trying to make you smile in the audience in my very language. 72 degrees. That is cruel. You're You're just saying that to make me upset, Andrew, you know. But, you know, rest assured in Rochester, New York, even though it'll be 30 degrees tomorrow, it'll probably be 80 on Saturday, and then 20 the next day, so on and so forth. But 70 degrees. Sounds really nice. Andrew, where are you again? in


By the way, just going to mention right now, before we start that this session is being recorded, I'll probably say it again. But those of you in the audience, you know, this is you're just wanting to make sure you knew so you all act appropriately, or anyway, it is now 2:02pm. So I think we can actually get started. And I think we will welcome to our Yellowdig webinar today featuring Gayle Fischer, of Salem State University. And welcome Gayle. Well, we'll get into introductions and things in just a moment. Bree, if you could move the slide along to the next slide. Here is our exciting agenda today. So we will share a little bit about yesterday because sometimes people come to these and they have never heard of yellowdig. So it'll probably add a little bit of context, have some idea of what we're talking about here. Then Gayle will share some of her thoughts on using Ella diggin being on the deaf spectrum and talking about how it's worked for her in that range. And Gayle and I will also have a bit of a discussion about her experiences using Yellowdig. And then if there's time, hopefully it will be time we'll take some questions. And now I guess we can move on to the next slide. What is Yellowdig? This is the question that's been pondering people in pondering for millennia, or at least for the last minute or two. So Yellowdig in case you don't know. And even if you do know, Yellowdig is a digital learning platform. It's a learning community tool that creates vibrant learning communities. It uses gameful learning and sort of familiar social interface to to really motivate students To get into community to create really good, vibrant conversations that are relevant to whatever the course topic is, and interesting to, to everyone in the course. And the point system that is involved in the game learning part of the system really motivates students to get in earlier and to create better content. And then the social frictionless sharing features, and some of the other special design pieces of yellowdig, allow conversations to ebb and flow with what's interesting and important to students, as that semester goes on. And certainly, I believe we have another webinar coming up. In a, I actually don't want the date of it is, but it'll be at the end of the presentation, where we'll talk a little bit more about the pilot opportunities that we're offering. And we'll go a little bit deeper into the platform itself. But suffice it to say that yellowdig, again, is a learning community built up from the ground up for higher education that really works to grow student engagement, and keep students interested and excited about what's going on in your course. So I think we can move on Gayle Fischer? Well, I'll start by introducing myself so that you know, I'm Bob E. I'm Yellowdig's, academic lead. And I work with our partners to help them get the most out of Yellowdig to share best practices and pedagogy and provide ongoing support. And I'm going to introduce Gayle Fischer now, Gayle, why don't you tell us who we are.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  

So I'm a professor at Salem State, my undergraduate degrees in theater, my master's degrees in women's history, and my PhD is in US history. And I'm a yellowdig groupie, who just discovered yellowdig this past summer, and fell in love.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  

So So Gayle, um, you know, let's start by asking, you know, what made you decide to use yellow dig in the first place? What? Well, first of all, let's go back half a step. You're on the deaf spectrum. Right? And, and and,

you know, how does that impact what you do in your courses do not cut not withstanding yellowdig? In general, how does that impact what you do in your courses? And then we'll get to, you know, how did you end up using Yellowdig?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


So in a classroom, I haven't had very many, my accommodations, my primary accommodation has been a classroom that is carpeted and live with the doors in the rear of the room to limit sound as much as possible. But my sprint students think, I, I never know if I'm gonna be able to hear them. And I found myself over the years withdrawing, encouraging, speaking in my class, less than less, because sometimes I have to get like this close to students, and ask them to repeat, you know, for the third time, what they just said, because I still in like, understanding or hearing all of the sounds, I've gotten to a point where sometimes they actually have to ask students to write down what they said, because I'm just not getting it. And so it can be frustrating for students. I may, it really puts a damper on discussion. I sometimes it's not uncommon for me to answer a question that wasn't asked but answering a question that I thought I heard, rather than a question that was asked. So it's a challenge in the classroom.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


You know, and I want to say that I understand in two ways, first of all, my in my own family, my father has had hearing loss, you know, throughout my entire life and beyond, actually, and as I get older, I'm starting to encounter hearing loss and in my time in the classroom, although certainly, probably not as profoundly as you, I had trouble hearing my students, especially as they were sitting towards the back of the classroom. So I know that that can be frustrating for all around. So but but you had made the classroom work, and you know, in whatever ways and then what happened 2020 happened and what happened in 2020.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


So, my classes were canceled at spring break, and we had to get them out. I did that semester that spring semester 2020, I just tried to get as much of my material online as possible. It wasn't thinking about anything. I just, I having them read and quizzes, forget any kind of engagement. And then when we learned that we would be remote in the fall, I started to read online, how you teach, how do you teach online? And almost every book article that I read, said, the first two weeks, you must build community. So I'm racking my brain, how do we build a community. So I'm, meanwhile, our IT department has supplied us with a list of, you know, apps that they recommend. So I'm checking those out. And I actually decided on two of those one was flipgrid, which is sort of a fun video out so students make short videos, they watch one another's videos, and they respond with video very well, if anything, it's gonna make community that will do it. Okay, love it. But that in my Silver's then my I hypothesis, which I use before in the past, but um, I, I thought I could work it in a different way, this time. So first semester, so the semester begins, I opened Meanwhile, I had happened while I'm at yellow, dig in my searches, and it looked good. But I thought, I just can't learn another app right now, I've found nice to talk to Jim. And I said, Maybe next semester, when I have time to really look at this. So flipgrid, I had 80 students in the classes total in students in the classes using flipgrid. So that means I had to look at AB students videos, watch ed students respond at so all of the students are supposed to respond to the other. So at times 80 is I said, Okay, this is not going to work.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


Little overwhelming.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


Then in on hypothesis, which is supposed to be kind of discussion oriented, but around annotating a document among students. I said the same thing. And it was like crushingly boring. I said, Okay, this isn't gonna work. Maybe I should go back and check that yellowdig thing that seemed like it might. So I got in touch with Joe. He had me do a tutorial they teaching

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


you're talking about? Yeah, you're just just for people who are not aware. You're talking about our wonderful education partners. Representative. Jimmy Adolfo? Yeah. Okay. And so. So you went through, you went through our instructor certification course.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


And it was easy. I, I can do that. I mean, was it like, the other apps, I didn't want to use canvases, we use Canvas as our learning management system. And canvases discussion is just, it's sort of less, it's more towards rest, then process.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And torture is not what we're going for in the classroom.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  
I don't want to be torturing my students, but I don't want to be torture.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So so you, you, you, you went through the instructor certification course. And you thought that this will do some things in my classroom that these other tools wouldn't do. So what was it that you were hoping to get out of yellowdig at that point?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I some discussion going some engagement between students? I, I just got it was even more apparent this semester than in the fall is in the fall. We were all I think, I'm very aware that this is remote learning. And I mean, this is new for many of us, I mean, talking about students as well as so they were to certain extent, patient with you know, trying so here I introduced them to these two apps and they said forget it, we're not doing those. But they were willing to go along with the I guess the inclusion explosion of apps not working So then introducing yellow dank, I, I used it for my women's history class. And I What happened was I met really quite amazing to me. Because if students really took ownership of it might not have been what I had imagined would happen, it would happen. But I followed all of the best practices that yellowdig recommends. So I'm not going to say this works, I'm going to relieve them, click that button. And I, it was a an historic year for women's history First Vice President, a female vice president. And there were also moments coming Barrett, my Catholic, conservative woman being named to the Supreme Court. So students were bringing in a lot of current events, and things that interested them into the conversation. And I found that I was joining in the conversation that I

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


was able to contribute to the conversation in so you know, going back to your, you know, being on the deaf spectrum, and some of the issues that you already shared with us that, you know, you faced in the classroom, the difficulty and in having conversations, you know, so this, this felt different to you. This,

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I made so different that I asked my ADA officer may, if this could be one of my accommodations, because I, for the first time ever, really, I felt like I was able to engage with students to communicate with them, with no barriers with my inability to hear not being an issue, and I could focus on what they were saying, I'll be in print, but I see there were exchanges. Right. I will make comments. He will respond to my comments, they would post posts, and I might respond to those. I, it was, like, such an amazing experience for me. I've never had that before.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So you know, I think in our previous conversation, the term you used was that it was helpful in breaking down communication barriers that yes. And, um, you know, how did these conversations have evolved? I mean, what did did? What did you share with your students to get started?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


Being the assignments or the introducing them together?

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


introducing them to Yellowdig? Yes.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


So I'm, in the fall. I think I did a better job in a spring, having had a semester of your dig under my belt. And a fall? I think we may, I all kind of just, I jumped in, and weren't sure exactly. What would happen. I, I'm not sure that I prepared them adequately, in the fall, but they really weren't great a group and jumped in with me. And they're, I guess they have they use social media much more than I do. So they immediately were able to make the connections with like Facebook, and it can seem foreign to them and the way or artificial in the way that I like the canvas discussion where I might post a question and then the instructions would say, student has to respond. Students have to respond to the question, and you have to respond to at least two students responding. It was, what happened in yellowdig was much more organic than that. In some of my doing, I wish I could take credit for that. But yeller to get set up.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And, you know, did you feel like you maybe got to know your students in a way that you hadn't previously?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I mean, that is one of the wonderful things about your logic is that there may students concur real, which is funny because my classes are asynchronous. So I don't have a zoom component because we didn't have Have a closed caption saying, it's really it's really difficult for me to use zoom without closed captions. So I, so we weren't coming together as a class in a zoom like, you know, video conferencing, who aren't seeing each other's faces except on your diagram, I asked them to, you know, make sure they posted their picture in their profile. And I, so, so we got to Yes, I got to know them in a way that was very different their interest, depending on what they posted their their my insights into, it became real people, I wasn't focused on grading, and wasn't focused on chipping off of rubric making sure they said this, they said that the way would be in a canvas discussion where why we post a question and expect you know, them to make certain connections in, in yellow deck, I, really they have a hearing, say I'm a bourbon and they talk to me they, they'll say something, maybe several students will say something, and then I might chime in, and then they might respond to me or disagree with me. I feel like they were students from war felt less inhibited, and about expressing themselves. Awesome.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And so do you feel like, you know, one of the senses that I often have in my face to face classes was that while you know, I, as an instructor was doing my best to engage with everybody, the students were only engaging with, you know, the few people next to them, and maybe you know, and not really be on it, did you get the sense that students were also finding it as a way to interact and communicate and create community with each other?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I mean, they were actually made this semester, there is really some different some delightful man posts. So one young man, this was fairly early in the semester, I may, we were talking about the pandemic, and he was talking about how hard it is to make friends, and how he was transferring to you, mouse and amhurst. And he was worried about what it would be like, you know, how would he meet people and the other students in the class are just sort of encouraging him giving him advice, it was incredibly endearing. I see the eye, the students connect with each other in class. And I'm a often I would have, I often have exercises, read them in small groups. So they do interact with one another. But then you try to get them back in the bigger group so that they then interact with the whole class. I still, now having experienced yellowdig. And looking back at those experiences, it seems to me that that still sort of rings false, that the students, I mean, I don't tell them that they have to interact with anyone on yellowdig. They do.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And so, you know, I mean, so that they're building this community, they're interacting with you, they're interacting with each other. But then again, we have to go back to the course itself, you know, what did yellowdig add to women's history? or What did yellowdig add to, you know, your other courses history this semester? US history? Yeah. So So I mean, you know, what was what was the role that yellow played yellowdig played in, in, you know, facilitating learning, I suppose, as the question.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


So, one of my big things is my connections, right? So often students, I can go in, do the reading, do the homework, leave and forget it. I wanted them to, I always want them to be able to connect with what's going on in the classroom. That is the wider world in their own lives. And I, we've been given me amazing examples of how they're making connections. without even realizing and I don't think they realize that they're making these historical connections until they have to choose a topic. Right they make. So I wrote, you know, I have topics, and they're required to put a topic on their posting.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So I just want to clarify for people who may not know, yeah, really quickly. So, topics in yellowdig are tags that are defined by the instructor, whoever creates the course, that students then can be required to add to each and every post. And this allows conversations to ebb and flow to be able to find those conversations to have them reemerge when when things come up, that are irrelevant. And all that but but again, the primary part is it is it makes it easier to find find those conversations, but it also makes students, Gayle right, Think about what what they're bringing into the community and where in the course it belongs. It's really one of my favorite things in yellowdig, as far as facilitating learning goes to talk about it. And so that's what we're talking about when we mentioned topics. And I was thinking, you know, since since we're on that, sort of, you know, actually, before we get to some of these, so your topics, what were they? What were your topics? Like? What are some examples of topic names that you use just for benefit of the audience.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


And this is a this were, you want to according together game, you want to have your topics before your class starts. So you really have to think because you don't want them to be too specific. So one of the topics is historical connections.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And, and so I think that we have a slide showing some of how that worked. And yeah, so this is from a post in yellowdig. Gayle, this Yes, yes. So why don't you tell us what's going on here.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


So in some ways, it's self explanatory, this student so this is a student who posted, this is her post. So some students will write paragraphs and paragraphs, this was fairly short. And she's talking about reading about Ethan Allen in the textbook. And she then makes a connection to the furniture store that she passes on her period, which is girl, I had never made this connection between the Ethan Allen furniture store and Ethan Allen. And I says, Then, she although it's not include in this particular post, she then goes on and researchers to find out if these and Elinor Cook's book is in any way connected to the ease and ellen of her of the store that passes and discovers that, in fact, there is a connection. But I'll let you all discover that on your own. But she also answered as your post with questions to her classmates, and they made i i this is the amazing chili killer deck. If a post resonates with students, they respond. And so she's asking her classmates, do you know of any other businesses like that? Is there any other historical figures that you can think of? And so then they may I, you know, respond if that never occurred to me, or they listed some other figures that came to mind. But I had a very popular post. And she chose historical connections, which is exactly.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So so just for those of you in the audience, who I'm going to show off my very incredibly limited remembrance of Ethan Allen, he was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys, a militia that fought there in the revolution. Correct. And, you know, so this got that student thinking a little bit deeper about that, that student will never forget Ethan Allen again, and, you know, who knows, maybe buying some furniture in the future, too, for all we know, but but the connection has been made in their mind that there's some sort of relevance related to, to the subject matter that you're talking about. And I'm, I kind of want to move on to the next. I think it's the next slide. The one, Andrew Yes, that's the one you know, and I thought the first one was cool, and that it creates a connection between then and now and, you know, but but this one this this post about Andrew Jackson, and certainly, the thoughts about Andrew Jackson are all I mean, people have various opinions of Andrew Jackson for various reasons. But But this post I thought was interesting. Particularly because not only does it relate to a historical connection, but it's a historical connection to the politics of today, I thought is that? And um, you know, can you tell us a little bit more about this particular situation?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


So we, again, with no prompting from myself, the students may drew me a historic connection between every day from the textbook, and what's going on, in what was going on in the elections. And what started is the discussion and it's actually still ongoing. I, about I, the discussion has evolved into a discussion about a presidential candidate being out of touch with the client people. So Andrew Jackson, they're talking the responses that, you know, he's one of like, the common person or in this case, he says, unconventional. I be in talking about a current president. Students, we're trying to see how come they're all rich now. Right. Although Andrew Jackson was wealthy as well, a bit, I, I hear at least fostered that kind of common person identity, and students weren't seeing that anymore. In candidates, it's a any brought up a thing. May I, George Bush, man, Nixon, my comes up, I, the hour of Trump, of course.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And so the students followed up on this, they had a conversation about it, it wasn't just this initial post.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


Right now they're both as a ma examples you're seeing here are a post that had not only do the students make historical connections, that they also generated a great deal of discussion among the students. points here, because the one of the things I students want to post interesting posts, because the more people who respond to write their posts, they get the poster gets points, as well as the writer of responses.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So that's great. That's exactly where I was gonna ask. Talk about next year, you mentioned in our conversations that you enjoy the fact that the the the discussions were, were grade free, but you didn't have to use a rubric to find, you know, to grade every post, but but students do get, they are still measured on those posts to some degree and through the points system. And in order to achieve whatever the participation grade in your course was, they had to earn enough yellowdig points to get that. And if I just want to ask really quickly, what was the percentage of the participation percentage that you are the percentage of the grade that went to yellowdig? Yeah, I guess it's

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I, I've always been a big advocate of participation and attendance. So when I that cease to exist in the remote classroom, I use the same percentages that he used to use for those with my deck, and that's 25% of the grain.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So it's a big chunk of the of the of the grade. Students, I assume, understood that that that was important to getting a passing grade in the course to be in the yellow in yellow, dig in. It seems to me that based on what you said, that the point system starts off as the extrinsic motivation to make sure that they're there in the platform. But they learn because of the two types of points and yellowdig. And this is, again, for the benefit of the audience to some degree. There's the participation points, which are the points that people get for typing a certain number of words for a post or comment. But But what really makes the difference and probably lead to and you can confirm this or not creating better posting better, more interesting posts were the social points, the points that they get, when other people comment on their posts. That that's what

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


Yeah, yes, yes. Because if I'm May I? Just like with may there always students who object to participation attendance may great. They don't believe that they can learn from their classmates Yeah, that they should only be learning from their professor. And to there are students who resist something, why do I have to rely on others? were my grades? I say, Well, I mean, you don't really have to rely on my others, you could you don't ever have to create a post, you can just respond to my other posts and accumulate your points that way. But I, it's it's really exciting. I when a post does take off, and then the original author also gets reengaged gets involved in the discussion that develops from their original post. I think I just from the positive comments, students have given me this feel important. You know, somebody thought that their what they had to say was worth reading and commenting on it makes them feel good. I think.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So actually, Bree, if you could bring up I think there's a slide that relates to some of the feedback that Gayle got, did you want to pull that one up?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University

 
He's just, um, I. So I rarely. I rarely create a post. But every now and then I might, I can't remember what I shared with them. But they really liked it. But he also mentioned, I hope this won't be my last time experiencing Yellowdig. I really enjoyed working with Yellowdig after I figured it out and stayed on top of it. And that was with it has been one of the things I've I thinking about when I go forward into the fall is that on canvas, I students often rely exclusively on the calendar. And may I have one. Again, following best practices and your deck, one Yellowdig conversation assignment. I have many links to that one assignment. But my due date is technically the last day of class. And so I remind students of posting an announcement in Canvas, reminding them that they need to post a Yellowdig. I've even sent individual emails to students reminding them that 25% of their grade is on canvas. I recently posted a on a Yellowdig, saying Yo, I'm going forward in the fall with killer dig. I, those of you who are on yellow dag, obviously, this doesn't apply to you. But how do I get everyone in class to participate? Ie? How come some people aren't participating Nordic any suggestions for how to get them to sign up and contribute? so far? It's I just posted it. So the only response I have so far is, um, it's an assignment. Yeah. Like, if I find that why aren't they posting that the student was like dumbfounded. She said, This is fun. It mixes social media and historical content. I don't know why they aren't posting.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And I mean, so. So I mean, I think it does start with sort of that extrinsic motivation. I think to some degree, you know, it's incumbent on the instructor to share at the beginning of using yellowdig what the purpose of having this yellow day community is and what the the role of the you know, of the instructor is going to be in there as well as, you know, what the expectations of the students are and sharing that upfront can can go a long way to doing that, but that makes me sort of want to ask you um, you know, what, did you see your role? What did you see as You're in the community, what what, you know, how did you approach that?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  

I met it's not more like a member of the community than

an instructor. I'll tell you in a minute about my attempt at formal assignments, as I said, in general, I will, and I might encourage students to comment on something that we do in class on yellowdig. Very rarely. I've only tried to follow assignments and then a week. Next success, I saw myself more as a member of this community, participating in discussions. So that or bringing in an alternative view or perhaps correcting a misinterpretation, but doing it in a way that I wasn't saying you're wrong, you know, we're doing it in a conversational manner, really friendly manner that a student doesn't have often feel offended. I have you? Have you ever thought about this, or? That's, that's an interesting perspective. But I always thought or using language to encourage students to continue to think, but perhaps correct.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


Some other errors. So So, you know, it seems, again, that you're sort of following at least you know, what we consider our best practices in that, yes, my Bible, in that we consider these communities to be instructor modeled, rather than instructor led, the instructor has a role in the community, as a citizen of the community, and certainly, you know, a little bit more knowledge about what's going on there. And, you know, students do want to feel heard, and I think that you've sort of achieved that balance in there. Um, and the other thing that sort of strikes me is that, you know, it sounds based on on everything you've said that having this community really did mitigate your any communication issues. And that doesn't necessarily mean only your hearing issues. I mean, it you know, the issues of students, you know, understanding what you're saying, and having the ability to easily have you address them, you know, whenever if necessary, or did you allow students to answer each other's questions as well in the community? Or did you encourage that type of behavior?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I really have. What you saw with the two historical connection examples, students asked their classmates questions in original posts, then in so my, my thing like, we were talking about a historical. I was in a museum, it was an historical site. And they asked what is your favorite Massachusetts historical site? And then somebody mentioned something. I've never been to Plymouth Rock. So then there is this big discussion about Plymouth Rock because some people have danced in my head. And we have and, and I joined gangs because I was I saw it when I was can. And there you go, and you look down and there's this rock. Wow, yeah. My students, I'm so quite moved by that rock. I really wish I I so it really is a conversation. I would never get this in a classroom. If I asked her a question, I guess three answers and say any other thoughts. Anyone else have any? Yeah. And we're all sitting now What can I tell the they're talking to me? Right? They're not talking to each other. Even though you want your, you're hoping that they will. And sometimes you get it but not often. I'm on Yellowdig. It's mostly made them I made pipe in when something interests me or they say something that I want to respond to. But It's really their driving, sort of fashion.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So the one thing that we haven't talked about yet that I think is, at least from my perception is really important is what did yellowdig do for you as an instructor? How did it shape what you were teaching? In other words, did what the conversations and yellowdig inform your teaching and caused you to take particular types of actions to address, you know, what you saw happening?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


So again, I want to remind you that I'm still, I'm still a newbie. It's only my second semester. And so am I, but I am already thinking about my, what have I learned this semester? What will How will I do it differently? In the fall? No one ever things I tried were a couple of formal assignments. Right? I was going to, I had excerpts from a textbooks from different countries talking about the US Constitution. And I was going to make that a regular assignment on canvas where they, each student independently on their own had to read those and answer the questions. Let me say, Hmm, I wonder if this would work on Canvas? I mean, excuse me on on Yellowdig? Um, it was gonna say the answer is no. Except today, before we met, I looked, and I went through yellowdig and posted the most active topics. And even though this question was like, six weeks ago, some reason now the students are reading and responding to it, even though I bought all right, this is, this is something that didn't work. I maybe I just maybe needed time to ferment with them? I don't I don't know why they're suddenly picking up on that assignment and answering. So what I have to think about, I'm less than semester and this semester, I really let students determine how we would use Yellowdig. I mean, thinking about ways that I might admit I, without this sort of this balance without interfering, because I love how much they own. I'm a yellowdig, I sort of guide the discussion, sometimes, yeah. direction. And so I may be looking at at the Olympic examples, other people how they use that. And looking for suggestions.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


So if I may, I just want to, you know, come on, I think that's great. And I think that you should feel free, I think any instructor and yellowdig should feel free to, you know, ask the questions that are interesting to that instructor in the community and be a person in the community, just as a student would in that regard. Obviously, you have a little bit more power in that you can direct, you know, sort of where you want that to go. But, but you know, one of the great things about a community like yellowdig, is that you get to share a little bit of the passion that you have for this subject matter. Right. And and, you know, commenting on on students posts is a great way to sort of do that or to ask the question that's specifically related to, you know, your your very own interest. And then finally, before we move on to questions, and I don't know the answer to this question, so I, you know, I don't know if you had the opportunity, or if you tried using any of our data tools, the community health platform or the network graph, you know, did you wear a

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


look to see how students how many times students have or which students have interacted

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


with the community, the community health area shows you a number of metrics related to the strength of your community on in on sharing, listening and interacting relative to other yellowdig communities. The network graph can show you exactly who is interacting with who and the strength of those connections and you can often find outliers and use that as a tool to to bring them back into the conversation. And I don't know that if you you know, as you were relatively new to the platform, if you had Fully had the opportunity to explore those.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I would like to use them more I have used them to, to look at the students who hadn't been contributing, or I have two sections of US history, one section. When I looked at the difference in the data from one section to the other section, I was horrified. That's why I setting the other section. Oh, my God, what's going on with? The other section is just you know, running a riot over the eye. They're fun, they're engaging there. You will learn I'm participating in yellowdig. Yeah, start participating a 25% of your grade. And that class, so I have a, I have one class, it's much more engaged than the other. They were are made great contributions in both classes. But it's clear that when classes clipped in a way, with one another in a way that the other class hasn't. And it's not surprising that the one that hasn't clicked a strong way, is the one where I have had to nudge students more.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And you can use some of that data to tell you that jumping. So I want to get to questions, because we only have about 10 minutes left. But I want to just clarify something for myself and for the audience. Moving forward, when you're going back to face to face courses, do you intend to use yellowdig in your face to face courses?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


It's now officially one of my accommodation. So I because of the way it breaks down the barriers to communication. I and because it's the way the discussion is able to walk them on your deck. Even if it wasn't one of my accommodations. I went against the plan. You'd better be around for a long time. Because I plan on continuing to use yellowdig. I can't imagine now not using it.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Gail. And I think we do want to take some questions that we have a little bit of time. And then I think there might be a couple of other announcements that we might want to make about upcoming events also. But let's I guess, right, get right to the questions. Jim, do you have anything that you want to surface to us on from the chat because I haven't had the opportunity to really be in there? There was one question about it from I can't remember, but it was can you comment on how you as the instructor balance giving specific prompts, that you want students to respond to with having topics and letting students direct the discussion as they wish? Yeah, so that's a really good question. The really simple answer to that is that we really don't encourage the use of sort of weekly prompts and yellowdig we, you know, we want yellowdig to create an organic community with real conversations, as opposed to the feeling of the need to have students responding only to the instructor, and really what becomes ultimately, you know, a publicly submitted written assignment that's for a grade. That being said, you know, as I think we've we've mentioned, Gail and I, to some degree, you know, it it is fair game for the instructor to go out there and and to ask whatever questions are important to the instructor, but but without the expectation that students are going to need to respond to that specific post, I mean, in my mind, when you're using your logic community, if you want to have a student response to a specific question, and have all students respond to that, perhaps that should just be a different assignment. That and and, you know, you can you can surface you know, those into in the elevate community and vice versa. But, but, you know, we view yellowdig as as a learning community, rather than, you know, something that is for where you to submit those prompted discussions, I hope, I hope that makes some sense. I strongly urge Anyone who wants to learn more about that than I can share in this very short period of time to check out our instructor certification course, which is free, free, free and only about an hour, your time and maybe Jimmy can pop that link in in the chat at some point.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I agree with you about the AMA prompts, it changes the whole nature of yogic it becomes more like canvas on discussion, because then you must answer this question. And you have to make sure that all of the students respond, even if you ask him exciting am a question may? students answer might send the discussion in a totally different direction. Right? I mean, I, I, because the students are reading each other's responses.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


Cool. So I see a net it unless you had something else you wanted to serve as gem, I see a net posted a question in the q&a area. And I'm gonna respond to that, if that's all right. I had a lot of success. Initially, when I invited students to introduce themselves after that, a lot of students asked what I should write about and yellowdig are there other types of General Post invitations that move the community along, or at least members, those members who don't take too naturally. And, and, and that, you know, again, I want to go back to that idea of instructor modeling the what types of behavior you want. And I think it's especially important as I think I might have said earlier, that at the outset of any yellowdig community, that you as the instructor, share what the purpose of the community is why you've brought it in here and, and share as well as what your role in the community is, and what you're expecting of the students. And part of that could be using that the posting mechanism to create an initial video in that and as a first post that you perhaps pinned at the top, where you take that opportunity to humanize yourself a little bit, and maybe share the type of thing that you want them to share going forward. And for further examples of that, you know, I would be explicit and telling students, what I'd like you to do is share things that you find relevant, that are happening in the real world, share your own life experiences, they are relevant to the conversation, and to you know, that that conversations don't have to end at any particular time during the community. You know, that's the value of the topic tags, as the conversations can ebb and flow. You know, in a history class or my own political sciences class, you know, that's especially true because things happen in the news all the time. And you may have talked about it in week two, but that conversation then can reemerge in week seven or something like that, because something happened. So I hope that's a, you know, a very basic answer to what you were looking for a minute. Anything else you want to surface, Jim? Or do you have any comment on that? Gail?

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


I mean, it's been I think that Oh, man I being made in the first weeks, as the instructor, I'm a responding to student postings in a really encouraging way seems to also make students less fearful because this is it's very different from any other kind of discussion that they've engaged in. And they're afraid of doing it wrong.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


I mean, it's different. It's different from any kind of classroom discussion. Right. Right. not different from from other times, you

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  
know, a good point. Yeah, good point.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  

So we've only got a few minutes left, I want to invite Bree back to share what we have going forward, if that if you'd be able to do that.

And here it comes. And so we have a demo webinar. For those of you who are new to yellowdig. I think I mentioned at the outset, I wasn't sure the date, but now I am may 1, and you'll get a much more in depth view than the two seconds that I spent on the platform. Today, you'll be able to see exactly how it works and why it works and our pedagogy and best practices. And we also have a brand new ebook that we encourage you to download and take a look at its instructor perspectives on how they've used yellowdig and what results they've gotten. And we'll leave this up so that you can use your iPhones or Android phones to scan those QR codes to get to them. Um, but before we go, I just want to thank Gail very much for for sharing her story and her experiences with yellowdig and You know, I, you know, it's it's reaffirming for me as someone who works the other day to hear stories like yours, but because because it really does point out exactly, frankly, why I'm at this company because because this tool can expand the classroom in ways that you're not going to be able to find otherwise, that it can really create opportunities for learning that you don't get 15 minutes three times a week in a face to face class. And it can knock down some of the barriers, whether it's related to hearing or the fact that someone's sitting in the front of the class with the cool kids. And someone's sitting in the back of the class with the with the cats. Yes, I don't know. I think they're all cool. But But yeah, so, uh, thanks, again, for being with us, Gail. And I hope you'll keep in touch and let us know how it continues to go.

Gayle Fischer, History Professor at Salem State University  


Thank you for having me. It's been great, fun. Pleasure.

Brianna Bannach, Associate Marketing Growth Specialist at Yellowdig  


I just wanted to jump in and mention that Gail is also featured in the ebook. So if you want to read a little bit more about Gayle, make sure you jump into that book.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


And anything else we want to cover today, or shall we call it a day?

Brianna Bannach, Associate Marketing Growth Specialist at Yellowdig  
That sounds great. I think there was one question about a one minute pitch for what makes yellowdig different from a normal discussion. And I think we have about a minute left. So if you want to tackle that, Bob as a quick sales challenge.

Bob Ertischek, Academic Lead at Yellowdig  


Let me take a deep breath and answer. So So unlike a discussion board, yellowdig creates a vibrant learning community allow students agency to share their own life experiences, to to highlight what's relevant to them related to the course discussions related to what's going on to the course, and and to, you know, be able to be in or out of the class 24 seven, whenever, whenever it comes up, whatever it may be, and to interact with people beyond those few people that they would normally in a in a face to face class or even frankly, in a standard online course. So that's my quick real pitch and to do it in a way that they're actually going to like and feel like it's not a forced conversation where it's I think the word Gail used was organic. So I guess we'll leave it at that. Thanks, everybody. See you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai