A Student Perspective: Student Panel Webinar

Watch the Student Panel Webinar Here

 

Brianna Bannach  (Growth Marketing Associate at Yellowdig):


Hi, everyone, we're gonna get started in a couple of minutes. So we will be answering questions at the end, if you want to pop them in the Q&A. Now, while you're thinking of that, we'd love to have your input. Definitely want to make this as much about our audiences we can so that we can really take advantage of having our students.

Okay, I'm gonna pause the music now and get started so that we can get to the chat with our students. Great. So today, we will be having four wonderful students with us from four different universities to share their thoughts on Yellowdig and their experience throughout the pandemic that only a student can really share. So, to get started, our agenda is going to be a quick intro of Yellowdig from me, and then our student panelists will of course introduce themselves and then we'll dive in to our conversation with them. And then any questions you have, we'll be happy to ask the students and hear what they think. So you probably have no idea who I am, I am a growth marketing associate at Yellowdig, but I actually was very recently in the students shoes. I just graduated from the University of Delaware in 2020. And actually used Yellowdig in my last semester, as we transitioned online due to the pandemic. And I was a quieter student. So I actually love this because in our when we were in person, I really struggled to talk in the big class discussions, because there were just so many students trying to get in even though I had a lot to say. And then when we switched to Yellowdig, I was able to actually get to know the students better than when we were in person because I was able to reply to comments and really talk to them. But if you've never heard of Yellowdig before, I should give you a little bit more insight into that so that you know what we're talking about real quick. And this is not intended to be a demo in any way. So if you do want to see a real demo, we'll be sharing a demo webinar link that you can sign up for at the end of this webinar today. So our mission here at Yellowdig is to create communities where social interaction and learning, build the relationships and skills that allow people to thrive. So what is Yellowdig? We have a deep understanding of human behavior. And that is what has driven us to make a gameful learning platform that enables students to build communities that really enable their learning. And during the panel today, we'll mostly be talking about formal learning classes, where most of our platform is used usually, but we are also great for co curricular activities like business clubs or intramural sports even. And then it's also great for building international communities because our platform crosses time zones and languages and enables students to talk to people who are even not even in the same country. And then we can also be used for faculty development as well. building communities there is also just as important as in student classrooms. So if you've never seen Yellowdig before, this is what our homepage looks like, typically. And you will see posts from students, they can post their own posts and reply to comments, and easily track their points up here in the corner, so that they know if they're on track for their goal for the week or for this semester. And again, this is very, very quick, not a real demo. So please sign up for a real one if you've never seen it before. And then just some more information about Yellowdig, we are growing, we have one engagement every second every day. And we're pretty proud of that right now. And we are in over 100 different institutions. And of course, the four institutions with the students we are talking to today. And the impact we have seen with some of our partners is that we have grown engagement over two times with compared to regular discussion boards, and students are more likely to persist in their next course and also less likely to drop the course, as well as students are satisfied with their use of Yellowdig on average. Alright, without further ado, I don't want to talk any more than I have to, I would love to introduce our student panel. And we also have someone from our Yellowdig team named Bob here he is our academic lead, who will be answering any questions if you have them for the professor perspective. But for the most part, we'd love to just focus on our students today. So we have here with us Pallas from the University of Vermont, Michael from Drexel University, Anthony, from ASU and Ian from the University of Rochester. And I would love if Pallas, would you like to start by unmuting and introducing yourself? Sure.

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont) :


So I am Pallas Ziporyn, I am a Master's of Public Health student at the University of Vermont. I'm in my second year and pursuing the degree part time I've been out of school for about well, when I started I had been out of school for about 10 years I did my undergraduate at Harvard University. And then I you know, built a professional career in a life I work as the project manager for the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women's University in their sleep education programs for high school students and college students. And I also have two small children under the age of five. So I decided to pursue a virtual program and have really been enjoying it in large part due to the fact that they have designed it with tools like Yellowdig that have made the program really a joy.

Brianna Bannach:


Thank you Pallas. Michael, would you like to introduce yourself next

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University): 


Sure,  Hello, everyone. My name is Michael Gaskins. I am a graduate student at Drexel University in Philadelphia. And I'm studying television management and MSN and also an MBA. So it's a dual degree program. So my undergrad I did that at Temple University in broadcast journalism. I worked in television news for several years and then got out of that  and did some other nonprofit work and so forth them back in TV in the sense, and I'm also working right now at a college as a recruiter. So I can kind of speak to Yellowdig on the being a student, being a recruiter, and I'm also a father of four. So I have one college graduate and one on the way to college. So I can speak to educational and all those levels, so to speak. And Yellowdig is a tremendous tool, and I really enjoyed using it my last quarter in my social entrepreneurship class. So it was really great to be with all of you.

Brianna Bannach:  


Awesome. Thank you, Michael. Anthony, would you like to unmute and turn on your camera and introduce yourself?

Anthony Smith (Student at Arizona State University) :


Yes, well, I think that the camera is going but my name is Anthony Smith. I'm attending Arizona State State University online. I'm working full time at American Honda as a packaging engineer. And so I also have three children. And so time is pretty, pretty scarce. And, you know, getting into the classroom is not an option. I'm based in Ohio. So it's 100% online. And you know, it's just very, it's very nice to be able to engage with other students as well as you know, the professors and whatnot on Yellowdig. It's a more friendly atmosphere, it's quite enjoyable. For me, it's been quite enjoyable. And I look forward to using it again, here. My my last course before I graduate with my degree in Political Science.

Brianna Bannach:  


Congratulations on your impending graduation, Anthony. And next, Ian would you like to introduce yourself last but definitely not least?

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester) : 


Sure. Hello, everyone. So my name is Ian Arnold, I am a current freshman at the University of Rochester, studying general chemistry. And I think very similar to like the other panelists. And when we moved online, it was very difficult to participate in class discussions and participate with our various classmates. So I've really enjoyed the experience that yellowdig provides, in relation to participating in an online platform, but also just how to collect points and different things like that. So it's been a really a joy. And thank you for having me today.

Brianna Bannach:


Thank you for joining. So I'm going to stop sharing so we can see all your beautiful faces nice and big. And get started with our first question, which is just general one to anyone who feels like answering, can you explain your use of yellowdig in your class and, and what you liked about it?

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University) :


Sure, I'll go first, I used Yellowdig during my fall quarter, which at Drexel runs from September to December. And it was my first time using the platform. And it was in my social entrepreneurship class. And there were about a dozen students in a class graduate program. And it was a really cool experience. So for me, it was more like Facebook for, I guess, higher ed, so to speak. And we were able to communicate with each other real time or later on in the day, we wanted to overnight, it was just really cool. We could see our, our scores, and be able to keep track of that each week, our professor would communicate with us as well. And we can give each other a like or if we love something, we can kind of indicate that as well. So it was really, really cool to see the encouragement exchanged among all of this, students there. So I thought it was much better than being involved with the blackboard platform where you have to respond to comments, and you have to leave like usually, like 200 word comments, and you have to put, you know, where you found the information as far as with citing it and so forth. So it just Yellowdig just made the whole experience that much better for me.

Anthony Smith (Student at Arizona State University) :


Yeah, I, I'd have to agree, I think what you said was perfect, you know, the blackboard in the way that that is all that the, it doesn't give you that authenticity. And with the grading system that we have in the blackboard and stuff like that, you know, you might not get a perfect 10 out of 10, you get a eight and a half out of 10 or a nine out of 10. And you kind of wonder to yourself, Well, what in the world did I do wrong? Because sometimes the responses are so vague, you wouldn't the heck did I not have enough words, so on and so forth. But that's something that I found really neat about Yellowdig in my my food and culture course, is once you reach that word limit, you get awarded a amount of points. So it just kind of gives you that I guess drive to get some more words on there and really think critically, and it's just really neat to be able to get that that extra gratification for your work by getting that that light or that thumbs up and the you know, the emoji and so on and so forth. So for me, that was really big. It kind of helped in those dull, those dull periods where you're like, oh, my goodness, is this course almost over yet, as am I almost done here, you get a little bit of a zing, because, you know, we've all been stuck inside and you don't have that interaction between people like we used to have every day. So for me, it was just it was very helpful in that sense to get that outside interactivity, if you will.

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont) :


I will add. So I've taken some courses that were using the blackboard discussion forums and others that have used Yellowdig and my program has subsequently required that all courses Use Yellowdig. Because pretty universally, students seem to think it's a better experience. And I certainly agree, at least in my experience, the the format, the interface on Yellowdig is just a lot more intuitive. I think that when you're in a discussion board, it can feel very cumbersome to have to click into all of these separate threads rather than see more of a news feed style approach, which doesn't mean you can't filter content, it's actually quite easy to filter by topic. But the presentation is just a lot more intuitive and natural to use. I find myself much more interested in visiting my the Yellowdig discussion that I was about going into the discussion board, which really felt like a chore I enjoy being in Yellowdig, I think it's it's, it's just it's so easy. And you don't have to worry about just that navigation piece and trying to figure out Did someone replied at someone not reply, it's, it's so easy to use. And the other thing that I will add, that was kind of like a surprising benefit that I didn't realize is because Yellowdig lives outside of Blackboard, it continues to exist and be accessible after the end of the term. And what I found now that I've gone through a couple of semesters where the courses ended, and then I've entered a new class is that in the in my field, sometimes something I did in a previous class becomes relevant in a current class. And I found myself going back into the Yellowdig, archive for previous courses, to find references to material that I had pulled in a previous course. And bring that information into a subsequent class. And that archive has been a really valuable tool that hadn't has not been accessible to me, for courses that were hosted directly in the in the Blackboard, discussion boards,

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester) :


I would have to agree with all my fellow panelists, I really think they hit the nail on the head, the only thing that I would add is, as a college freshman entering during, or entering college, excuse me, during a pandemic, it was very difficult to engage with my fellow peers and meet different people. But through my different online classes, especially my really big lectures, Yellowdig provided a phenomenal, phenomenal interface, if you will, so that I could both interact and earn points toward my class, but also meet my different classmates and interact with them virtually, which was really great. And definitely the preferred socially distance option during our current situation.

Brianna Bannach :


Thank you all. So Anthony, briefly touched on this, and a couple of you did too. But would you be able to elaborate on how Yellowdig has helped you either personally or academically, during the pandemic, differently than maybe it might have helped if you if it wasn't forced, virtual or always virtual?

Anthony Smith (Student at Arizona State University) :

 
Yeah, sorry. Yeah, so for me, it was it was really big, doing the online school is definitely a new approach for me, as I'm sure it is for everyone. And it's not entirely what you expect, especially in my position, you know, I'm a very, I like to talk to people, I like to have the discussions with my peers, and it doesn't always have to necessarily be face to face. But for me, the face to face aspect really is, it's powerful, and I enjoy it, we can do that. Now, you know, and as I'm, I'm noticing with my, a lot of my peers who are younger than myself, and I have younger kids, and so on and so forth, I'm noticing things, you know, are becoming more virtual. And that connection is a virtual connection, it's not so much that, you know, I like to see face to face, this is the same concept for younger generations. So I think that's really big. And it's kind of allowed myself to evolve. And that sense, were no longer my able to see the people face to face. But I can still get that connectivity through this Yellowdig in working on this, because it does become you can build actual relationships and you get that it's it like I said before that gratification from that thumbs up or that that smiley emoji and all that stuff. It is it's it's integrated itself into what I feel is the direction that the world is moving. And it's so beneficial. It's so big for a lot of people, like you said, when you mentioned in your introduction, you know, you want to say things but you don't get the opportunity. This is giving everyone the opportunity to say something, and it's virtually in real time, you know, maybe you have to refresh it but nonetheless, you can have an actual conversation on here. And that's what's really helped me to actually have a conversation and and get to know people may not get that face to face and I don't get to put a face to the name but nonetheless, it's there. And I think that what school that's so important because you know a lot of people would think I've come to realize or learn is that people require a type of engagement to stay interested in their courses. And if you don't have that, it's kind of like a blah, blah, blah, you know, I've been through Blackboard, I've been through Canvas, and it is just kind of that, blah, blah, blah, you know, you're just going through the motions, this is an excellent break in that. And so for me, it's, it's just immense. And quite frankly, I wish that I was able to get into this in some way earlier classes, because, hey, maybe I would have taken a little bit more as I was going through. But hey, it's a like I said, it's pretty, it's pretty wonderful. And it's helped me keep that, that interactivity with humanity, if you will. 

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont) :

I'll just add, so my program has always been virtual, it was designed to be a virtual program. And because of that, there was a lot of thought and effort made into how it was designed for a positive virtual experience. And Yellowdig was one of the components that was selected. And I will contrast that to my sister who is currently in a top 20 Law School, which law school is is not typically online, and she was forced to move online this semester, like many others, and her program had not put much thought into that prior to the pandemic, because it was never something they considered. So they don't have a tool like Yellowdig. And seeing her go through her program and feeling so isolated and disconnected. They've tried to do their discussions via, you know, zoom, often with poor audio quality and a mess of students and coordination problems. It's been something that she has, she feels like her education is significantly compromised. And I really don't you know, and I come from, you know, I have an Ivy League education undergrad, and had that, you know, in person seminar experience during my undergrad years. But I feel like the level of conversation we have in my courses, because of the way they're set up. Yellowdig being a significant part of that not the only aspect, but certainly a large part of it, that we're able to get to, you know, really significant, meaningful conversations. And that's because the institution and my professors have put thought into building a positive experience. And and I think that effort really yields positive results for all of us.

Brianna Bannach:


While you're kind of talking Pallas, when we met previously, you had told us about how it helps you to feel like you're a part of a community. And I was wondering if you could talk to the community that you formed through Yellowdig a little bit?

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont) :


Absolutely, um, I don't want to say necessarily that, you know, I have made best friends for life in my, my program at this point. But I have built substantive relationships that have extended beyond the Yellowdig platform, sometimes they I mean, usually they have started there. And that's where some initial conversations popped up. A couple of examples in one course. We found out early on in the class via some side comments that there were several students, including myself who are interested in cooking. I had a classmate who mentioned she focused on making Persian food and I had recently attempted and failed at making a Persian dish. And we started chatting on Yellowdig and eventually exchanged emails, another student wanted to be involved. And we traded recipes throughout the semester back and forth via email and got to know each other personally. In other cases, there was another case where another student and I found out we lived very close to each other. And we started meeting up at a coffee shops locally, and really built a personal relationship that way. The initial contact However, in addition, first couple conversations were all on Yellowdig. So I've appreciated that my professors have not even you certainly the majority of content on yellow dig is related to the content of the course. But they have provided topic threads on yellow dig that have allowed us to build personal relationships, sometimes founded in the course material and sometimes founded on other things and ultimately, those relationships that have supported us through our program and are helping us build our professional network.

Bob Ertischek (Yellowdig's Academic Lead) :


Bri, I just wanted to let you know that there are a number of questions for the panel in the chat. And in excuse me, the QA. I don't necessarily feel like you should interrupt the flow that you're doing now. But I want to make you aware of it and so that we can pull them up for you when you're ready.

Brianna Bannach :


Perfect. Yes. I have a couple of loaded down, I'll make sure we get to them because they are looking like amazing questions. I do have one or two that I want to make sure we get to, and then we'll head on to those. So Ian and Michael, do you? Did you find it easier to connect with other students? And can you tell us briefly about that? I know we've kind of touched on it a little bit, too.

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester) :


Sure, most definitely. Excuse me. So as I mentioned, you know, I'm a college freshman. So this is my first kind of introduction to the college life. So I've never really had that in person, seminar that like Pallas was mentioning. So I think and as like palace was mentioning, you know, that ability to both interact with your coursework, but also interact kind of outside your coursework with other students in your class. It's really vital. And Yellowdig is definitely enabled me to do that. You know, even though my classes, excuse me, some of my classes are in person, the predominant amount of them are online. And I took chemistry kind of like one on one, if you will, online as well. And that's where we use 

Yellowdig. So I couldn't even meet any of my fellow students through that. But through Yellowdig, you really provide a great way to connect with other students, both in and outside the classroom and to form study groups and things like that, which was absolutely phenomenal.

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University)  :


My experience was pretty similar to Ian's. So with my television management program, I'm finishing up my capstone. So I'll be done with that, hopefully next month and get my MSN net. And I'm almost done with my MBA program. And interestingly, with television management, you would think we would use a platform similar to a Yellowdig, but we use more-so Blackboard, and most of my classes were, were pretty much on campus. And now since COVID, you know, we have synchronous and asynchronous classes happening at the same time with my schedule. But my experience with Yellowdig was, again, a very positive one. My professor was very engaged and involved in the process with us. She almost participated, like one of the students in a sense, and we built up a really strong community. And the experience was, was so rich for me that I presented it to my program director of the television management program at Drexel. And I also presented it to a few of my colleagues at the college I work at. So I just saw it as a way that it's almost like the next best thing sort of, like Anthony mentioned, as far as with, if you're not able to connect with each other face to face, this is another great way where you can connect with your classmates, and with the professor, which was a very interesting twist, so to speak. But I again, really enjoyed the experience. And it just it just made it that much more enriching for me, because the other platforms seem a little disconnected. Whereas with Yellowdig, there's that real connection, and you can really encourage one another. And I really enjoyed that. And it opens up the door for a lot of connectivity outside of Yellowdig, where emails, phone numbers are exchanged, and you're able to work on group projects and similar stuff that the other panelists mentioned. So again, it was a great experience for me.

Brianna Bannach  :


Thank you so much, you two. Um, so my last question of my questions, before we jump on to the q&a, is, if you could give one piece of advice to your professor about how they use yellowdig. What would it be? I know some of you have used it in multiple classes so that can can play into it to you.

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont)  :


I would say that I really enjoy it when our professors open up the topics to allow us to post on either content that relates to the class that we bring from external sources, and we want to just throw that onto the board that might not be related to a specific discussion prompt, or also threads that are about support in general, rather than necessarily specific to that week's topic, which provides opportunity to get to know each other on a more personal level and, and be supportive peers to one another. I've noticed they're very different styles and the ways that my professors have used Yellowdig. You know, some of them, really, you know, they give you a specific question every week and say, I want you to post on this question. I want to respond to you to respond to your peers, and I think that's fine. But I would just encourage professors to provide other opportunities to use Yellowdig because I think it can be so much more than that. And I think the other benefits are really huge for it from the student experience perspective.

Anthony Smith (Student at Arizona State University)  :


Yeah, just to quickly kind of add on to what Pallas was saying just the the engagement from Professor, I don't expect the professor to go through and read every single one, you know, especially, depending on where you're going, you could have hundreds of students in these things. So, obviously, don't go through each and every one, you don't need that type of like, gratification, if you will, but to go through a few of them, and you know, you really read them, let them let them know a few people that you're doing, they're doing a good job, like, it would have been really cool. Had my professor gone through and read and given me a thumbs up, or a like, or whatever it might be, then it kind of gives me that extra umph, like, wow, the professor's really paying attention, I'm going to engage, I'm going to make sure that I put forth my best foot because they really are reading this, you know, and like I said, I don't expect everyone to read all 250 students, but you get that type of engagement with the professor, you know, you have that one or two lucky students who get that that engagement with the professor, you know, it could spread, you know, because you get that engagement. And I could be like, Hey, guys, I'm just letting you know, the professor hit me with a like, I know what I'm talking about. They're paying attention, you might get some attention as well. So I think that would have been pretty neat.

Brianna Bannach  :


I think that's some great advice. Thank you. So moving on to more of our q&a questions, we did get a couple before the event. So I'd like to ask them. The first one is as students, what was the biggest challenge when first using Yellowdig? And this was from Justin at UVM

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester)  :


Yeah, so I think for me, it was just, you know, getting acclimated to the new interface of Yellowdig. As you saw in a previous slide that pre showed, it's a very simple interface to to navigate, and it doesn't take a lot of time to learn. But, you know, just being thrown this completely new program that I hadn't used in high school before or really, anywhere else. It definitely took a little bit of learning, okay, how do I earn points? How do I write post and comment, etc, etc. But I think once I kind of got past that, you know, week or two little stutter there, you know, it opened up so many doors to interact with people. Yeah.

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont)  :


I really can't remember feeling stressed out about Yellowdig. Other than maybe the first time I, I read that we had to use some external platform, and the idea of learning a new system felt intimidating for about 10 seconds until I logged in. And then every instruction was so crystal clear. And I think the design is, so it's like a combination of very familiar platforms. So it became, you know, like it, it presents as a newsfeed. So I thought, it's like Facebook, but it has like thread tracking, like a discussion board. So at least for me, who I would say is not a highly, I'm not a highly highly tech savvy person, I'm not on the opposite end, either. I'm somewhere in between. It felt it felt very intuitive. And some of the issues that I've had with other platforms, like not figuring out how to bold something, or insert a link, those things are just so easy to do on Yellowdig. I just, I couldn't imagine it being any more stressful than almost any other tool. I think, if anything, it would be a lot less stressful.

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University)  :


Thank you, I would totally agree. And I had the same experience. It was just getting over that, I guess that fear or whatever, hey, I have to learn something new. It was I was so used to Blackboard. And once I kind of like it was already mentioned that first week or so I was able to kind of move on and just look at it. Okay, this is social media, again for higher ed is just like Facebook, in a sense. So that's pretty easy for me to pick up and kind of forward.

Brianna Bannach  :


Awesome. That's great to hear. Thank you. So we have another question. That was how can we improve the skills of students with this tool? So if you guys would be able to answer how you feel like you felt like your skills were improved. If they were

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University) : 


I would say there is the temptation to because how our class was set up the social entrepreneurship, you could get 20 points which your response and I think 80 points and it was you only needed 20 or 25 words. So there you had that temptation to just put up whatever you want and just be done with it and get your points and move on. So it kind of forced you to kind of think beyond that and to be really creative with those words, if you were just going to stick to the 20, or if you want it to go beyond that. So for me, I always wanted to go beyond the 20 words, I just didn't want to say, Oh, this is wonderful, you know, great, great response or whatever. So I wanted to give something a little bit more in depth and kind of really show the previous author that was really engaged and involved with whatever they were posting. 

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester)  :
 

Yeah, I would totally have to agree with with Michael, I think the way we're using Yellowdig, in my chemistry class, now, compared to last semester is definitely different. And kind of tying into that question, if you know, how does this help engage students with learning? Basically, what we have to do in my chemistry class now is, every week or every couple of days, my professor will post an overarching question that we learned during our lectures. And then when we need to do is we then need to kind of almost summarize what he or she is saying, sorry, I have two professors. And then we then need to apply it kind of to to real life or to research that we've read. So we have to read different articles. And basically, it's that application part that Yellowdig allows in the discussion newsfeed that we were talking about that really kind of helps push that learning further to ensure that your students are actually interacting and learning the content that the professor is talking about.

Brianna Bannach  :


Okay, that makes sense. So I know you guys have been kind of singing our praises for the past half hour. But we have a question that is what isn't great about Yellowdig from Chris. So is there anything that we're always open to growing and we'd love to improve our platform, so we will definitely take any notes you have. So feel free to, to go ahead and share that.

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester)  :


I think for me, you know, putting it out there, I love Yellowdig. And I think interface wise, I think there's nothing that I can think of that can be approved upon, the only thing that kind of sparked my mind is because of you know, my rigorous class, classwork and different things like that. If there was maybe like a reminder feature, hey, you know, 24 hours before, you know, make sure you finish your Yellowdig, or you make sure you post this week, I think that's the only thing. You know, again, very minor that I could think of that maybe I think would help make sure that the students who might be slacking a little bit or, you know, we're extremely busy that week due to exams, you know, work, whatever, I think would be really helpful. But other than that, you know, like I said, I love yo dig. So interface wise, I can't think of anything.

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont)  :

 

I'm having I'm really struggling to think I actually agree with you. And when he said that about the reminder, because the Yellowdig week is different for all of my classes. So it can be confusing to remember which one turns over on Saturday versus which one returns over on Monday. So that that would I agree with that. The only other thing I can think of is so minor. And it's not something I care about, it was just a comment a professor made recently, which is that we're expected to use ama style citations, given that I'm in a public health program. And he said that he thinks that it that the Yellowdig interface change to it, he thinks we can't use superscripted citations anymore. So he said he will accept brackets currently, but it's like, clearly annoying him. But that's really like a trivial point. And it's it's the minutia, for sure. But I, you know, I think overall compared to any other platform I've used on a discussion board, the features in terms of like, text flexibility is, is they're really strong. But since it is using you being used for academic purposes, I think some more like citation oriented features over time could be helpful.

Anthony Smith (Student at Arizona State University)  :


I think also, I kind of just did it off the cuff every now and again, just to check to see what my status was, and so on and so forth. But I think mobile is kind of a huge thing. Even I know, there are classes that encourage you to not do things on your phone because it's not as technologically capable, if you will, as a computer would be. But I I found myself getting on Yellowdig through my cell phone. So I don't know if there's an app, I didn't even look for that. If there was a mobile friendly version for like, if you're on the go, and this is a small thing. It doesn't have to be because it is obviously a school thing, but being more mobile friendly to be able to in a pinch, right, right, your assignment, you know if you know what you have to do, but you're not able to get to your computer, whatever the case may be. I just found myself in that situation a couple times and it just wasn't as easily done. On the phone, so I'm but that's a not even a bad thing. I guess. So, but that's a not even a bad thing. I guess.

Brianna Bannach : 


We definitely hear you, Anthony and keep an eye out on that for the at the end of the quarter. We were, we're making some big strides in that in that area. Yeah. So our next question is we have quite a few questions focused around advice for professors. And so I'm going to read them off. And then if any of them speak to you, and you want to answer them, please feel free. The first one is from Kim. And she asked, How much do you as students want to hear from a professor? And in what way, as a professor, she is interested in interacting usefully but not squashing the student conversation? Can you help her and give her some of your experiences, pros and cons? And then kind of the same question from Matthew was how involved do professors need to be in order for Yellowdig to be successful?

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester)  :


Yes, so to answer those questions, and I think I was talking a little bit about this earlier, I think my my biggest advice to a professor using Yellowdig is whatever schedule you want to have, whether it be weekly, every couple of days, whenever you make one post, whether it be asking a question, or having reminder, and then that kind of allows, if you read it, you know, in a certain way, it allows your students to interact with your post, whether it be through a comment, or if you kind of set it up with Okay, we're talking about, I'm a chemistry major. So we're talking about quantum mechanics. So with this week, I want you to do to earn your 10 points. For example, if each of you need to write a post about quantum mechanics, and how it applies to research, either at our university or in the field, and then using the, the, I believe there are tags, so to speak, you can tag using breaking news or module one, whatever, your students can then have a conversation and then build those posts themselves. And because they tagged so using module one, quantum mechanics, you as a professor can then go in and read them and kind of check off okay, you know, student aided this student a did this or repeated this, oh, student c, he didn't do this, so they don't get the points this week. And I think the only con there would be, you know, that is a lot of students, you know, if you have a very big class, however, I do think you can probably, you know, do that quite quickly. If you set your system up correctly, I'm not a tech person. So I don't know exactly how you would do that, per se. But I think, you know, I think, again, you know, circling back to my main point, you know, if you set it up correctly, and you do one post, you know, that doesn't allow your students to or it doesn't, you're not minimizing your students interaction with one another, because they can still interact with each other's posts, as well as the post that you originally made.

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont)  :


I was just gonna say, I do not usually expect that my professors are going to engage with most of my posts. I don't I don't think many of us do. Occasionally, they will respond. And I'm always delighted when there is a response from my professor, but it's not an expectation. I think, as you know, Anthony was saying earlier, just like a thumbs up goes such a long way. And like, making you feel good as a student that you posted something. And I think that's like not very labor intensive as a professor, and it's not an expectation, if my professor doesn't give me a thumbs up, I don't, you know, feel like I was a disaster. But it's nice when it does happen. The one exception to this is that I really think it's important to be active on if there's a help forum. Because what I've seen in a few cases, when I've had professors who are not as engaged, is that someone will post a question because they don't understand something on a problem set, and other students will jump in with their thoughts. And if the last thought on that thread, or the general consensus of whoever is responding is not correct. And it just sits there, it kind of makes the class feel like that is the correct answer. Because otherwise the professor would have weighed in to clarify. And I feel like if there's one thing to monitor, it's that the whole, everyone doesn't follow the wrong line of reasoning with no resolution on a topic relevant to the class. Sometimes there's a TA who does the monitoring for my program, they do we do have some TAs, and some of the classes who monitor that form. It doesn't necessarily have to be the professor. But I do think that when there are disputes about how to approach problems, that that's an appropriate use of a professor being involved on the Yellowdig forum.

Yeah, and if I may, real quick, I don't I don't want to get too terribly philosophical with it all. But it's one of those things where, you know, you kind of have to ask yourself, How much do you want to be involved? Right? So if you want to engage your students, and you want to make sure that they're being engaged and they feel like this, then it's up to you to decide how much and for for me, all you got to do is say, Hey, I'm going to let you guys know in this course, I will be very active in these discussions in there. expect that. And to me, I think it's fantastic, right? Because, you know, I've been in the workforce I've been through the whole schooling stuff and as sounds like everybody, except for Ian, sorry, has been thus far as well. So the biggest thing for me is, everything is online right now show me that I'm not teaching myself. And I think that's a huge opportunity for professors to jump in and, you know, have the discussion with your students to show that you know, you do you care, right. So it is a universal feeling.

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University)  :


I totally agree with you, Anthony. Just having that engagement with the professors mean a whole lot and just getting a thumbs up or whatever, which was mentioned earlier. So helpful, because I, I've been in a few classes so far, where it really seems like I, the professor's not even around, and I'm somewhat learning everything on my own. Whereas with this platform, you have an opportunity to really engage with your professors on a whole nother level. So I totally agree with everyone as far as what the professor can kind of outline in the very beginning, how active they will be involved in a process, who will make things so much easier for all of the students to follow. Thank you all,

Brianna Bannach  :


kind of going along with that. Can you say a little bit about how much structure you prefer in a Yellowdig? forum? For example, what are your thoughts on being stimulated by a prompt from a professor? Or do you like to post without any real parameters? And this was from Caroline. So maybe one or two of you could speak to this?

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont)  :


Yeah, I guess for me I quite enjoy, I would prefer, I guess I can't say enjoy, I would prefer a prompt. Because, again, it goes kind of back to what I was saying. That shows me that there's some effort being put forth, right, because one thing if I'm being honest, that I've noticed in a couple of the courses that I've taken, you know, throughout the years, online, I noticed a lot of it seems to be a cycle. And this is a Yellowdig opportunity to have fresh stuff like, and you can put your your thoughts as a professor out there. And if each week it's going to be something different, and actually engaging. For instance, if you have a current current news or whatever kind, of course, then you can prove that kind of to me that you're paying attention, and you are engaged by putting current events stuff into that question. And for me, answering that question is nice. and allowing me to build off of it in a more free type manner, not just post, you know, my nonsensical illness, if you will, because I don't know, I'm not sure what the the effect or the quality of that would be. So for me, definitely a prompt. 

I would  prefer generally in it, I will say with a caveat, this really depends on the class, because different subjects, I think, are better suited to different approaches. But in general, I think my favorite model, and I've had professors that have done all sorts of things, but would be more of a guiding question, or a prompt idea, or a couple of ideas. Rather than something too specific. Sometimes when the prompt is too specific, what ends up happening is everybody writes like, very similar posts. And then there's a bunch of posts, and there's very little engagement, because you don't really have an incentive to reply on every single thread. And it like everything gets fragmented, it actually is destructive to back and forth conversation. So I think like, sort of like, either a list of ideas, or a general subject you'd like people to post on, that is more productive to back and forth dialogue. And, you know, there are professors I've had who've kept it very open, and basically said, use Yellowdig, for what you want. And I think for some students, that's really hard. But in certain some subjects it works, especially if you set expectations in the syllabus upfront of what kinds of material you want posted. But I think like you, you definitely should provide guidance upfront about how you want Yellowdig to be used and know that there are a couple of different ways that successful, but I think the most important thing is to lay out your, you know, expectation upfront about what you want it to be used for.

Brianna Bannach  :


And we will actually be continuing the conversation about the role of the instructor in Yellowdig. Tomorrow at our office hours that we'll be sharing out at the end of this if you're interested in joining that too. So then we have another question from Brent, and it asks from students and faculty perspectives, how do you feel about the word count grading so maybe one of you could give your thoughts on that?

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University)  :


I love it. It just makes things That much easier. Whereas with other platforms, you would just have to keep track of that yourself. Yellowdig automatically keeps track of it for you. And it just makes it so much easier again, but you do have that temptation just to go up to that count and to stop. But it's really up to you know how much you want to get out of the system. But, but I thoroughly thought it was a neat thing. I did not expect that when I was introduced to the platform. And, and that's part of reason why I shared it with several of my colleagues knowing that is a true benefit to the students and to the professors. Because that's a lot of their time, they can save not having to worry about counting and setting up points and all of that the system does it for them. And with the student, they can see it in lifetime, what they need to do and how many points more points they need, and so forth. So I looked at it as a win win. 

Pallas Ziporyn (Student at the University of Vermont)  :


I struggled with that a little bit like philosophically at first, because just because you write a lot of words doesn't mean what you say is valuable. And also, you can say something concisely that's valuable, that won't get any points. But ultimately, where I come out on it, I think is that the purpose of Yellowdig, like a large purpose of Yellowdig is to facilitate conversations and participation, I don't really think the job of the auto grading system is to evaluate the quality of the content of what you're writing, I think there are other components of a course that are trying to do that. So you presumably have an assigned assignments, you have quizzes, there are other things that are part of the class that you're being evaluated on, on the content. I think it's a, it's a sufficient proxy for participation, and frankly, is more objective in many ways than what a participation grade would be in a seminar course, where a professor usually recalls on their memory of how much somebody participated without any quantitative metric of how many times a student spoke and, and I often found that just soft spoken individuals often didn't get as much credit, even if they spoke just as much, because they didn't have as much of a commanding presence. And I think it makes the grading system for participation, much more objective. So, you know, I don't think you should see that as like the be all and end all of the grading system. But I think that for the participation aspect of a grade, it is a fair proxy.

Brianna Bannach  :


Awesome. That makes sense. Thank you, Pallas. So Have any of you used a chat platform like Microsoft Teams, slack or discord in your classes? And would you be able to compare contrast that to the community platform and Yellowdig, and this was from Kristin.

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester)  :


Yeah, so I used Microsoft Teams before, not too too much. We used it in kind of the end of my high school years, so I didn't get fully acclimated to it. But kind of relating Microsoft Teams to to Yellowdig. The one thing that I particularly don't like about Microsoft Teams, at least the way we use, that was that there were so many different folders and different things where you could put different pieces of content. And so I always found myself kind of getting lost. May it be you know, my, my high school teacher just didn't label things correctly, or whatnot. But I just I just personally did not like the platform as much as I did Yellowdig vs. Which Yellowdig like we've discussed, you know, there is that news, that news scrolling feature with all the posts and things like that, and also makes it a lot easier for students to keep account of their grades, like we were talking earlier with the word count for your various posts or comments, etc.

Brianna Bannach  :


Thank you, Ian. I'm another Have any of you done this question? Um, have any of you use Yellowdig as the sole communication platform for your course, replacing all LMS? Like canvas and Blackboard notifications and forums, emails to the class? Has that worked out? Well, for any one who's done that? I don't know if any of you have. So if you have please unmute then. Sure. No, city knows. Okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna think that maybe that hasn't happened. We I think that students still prefer emails in addition to the using Yellowdig just because it is a little bit more of a direct nudge. But Yellowdig is a good kind of back end chat to continue throughout and be a little bit more continuous and continuing the the class conversation as well. And then I believe I saw a question about Have any of you required videos in Yellowdig and posted it and shared that way. Would you like to share your experience with that?

Michael Gaskins (Student at Drexel University)  :


I did. So for my class, we had to come up with a social venture project. And for me being in television in production, I created a sizzle reel. And my project was on prisoner reentry. So I lead a nonprofit for about a decade here in the Philadelphia area. And I've always wanted to tell a story of prisoners and their reentry process and so forth. And I created a 92nd sizzle reel, and I was able to upload it on the discussion board there and all of my classmates, they were able to view it, my professor, they were all able to comment on it and add any links or any other videos, they thought they would be helpful to me and kind of building out my project. So and it was pretty easy to upload the video to Yellowdig, I didn't have any problems at all. And my classmates, they were able to click on it and to hear it and so forth. So it worked out pretty well for me.

Bob Ertischek (Yellowdig's Academic Lead)  :


Bri, I just wanted to let you know that there are about five or six minutes left. So I just wanted to give you that heads up.

Brianna Bannach :


Thank you, Bob. As our last question, I know we still have a couple left. So I'm sorry, if we didn't get to it. I would like to ask about one more question about the instructor. Let me see. I'm struggling to find it. Um, so I believe someone was worried about the connection between the instructor and student being worse with Yellowdig? Is this something that you see? Or is it? Actually the opposite? Is what I'm hoping?

Ian Arnold (Student at the University of Rochester)  :


No, no, I don't think so. I think if anything, yellowdig makes it easier for an instructor to engage with their community of students. You know, we've been talking earlier about you know, how there are, there are definitely pros and cons when it comes to, you know, Professor engagement, especially if there's only one professor with, say, 100 or 200 students. So I think, you know, coming from a student perspective, I think we already do expect that you know, the professor or as a professor, excuse me, you're already going to be a little, you know, tied up between, you know, the amount of posts that you need to either be looking at, or reacting to, or whatever. But I think, you know, like, as we mentioned earlier, you know, as long as you're going through, you know, whether it be once a day or you know, every couple of days, and you're reacting to a couple of students posts, whether it be with the thumbs up, like Anthony mentioned, or through a comment, like Michael and Pallas mentioned, I think the students know that you're going to be participating to that extent with them. And they're going to be, you know, just as happy with you doing that, as they would be you posting your own post every couple of days as well.

Brianna Bannach  :


Thank you, Ian, I just dropped in the chat, a couple of links to our upcoming events, I'll share screen to talk about them. Real quick. We have an office hours, that is coming up tomorrow, which Bob who has popped on and off this webinar will be hosting. And you can ask any questions you have at all about Yellowdig. There, and we'll be talking about that. And then, of course, a product demo webinar to get to know a little bit more about Yellowdig than what you heard here today. And if you'd like to register for a pilot, there's also some link to learn more about that. And if we have one more minute, we did do a student survey. And I think some of the results were pretty exciting. So I'd like to briefly share them. Most students say that the point system is easy to understand, as our student panel attested, and most of the students were in a remote format that we surveyed. And they also most said that they would rather use Yellowdig than a different discussion board. And that they want to posting more than they were actually required to to earn their grade, which is a lot of what Michael talked to about, and that they felt connected to their peers. And I'm glad that everything we talked about in our panel, kind of backed that up to and I am so thankful that we had such a wonderful group of students here to join us. You guys are amazing. And we love you. So thank you for joining. And if you have any more questions for us or the students that we could pass along, feel free to email Learnmore@yellowdig.com and we will get back to you. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your day and stay safe and thank you for joining.

Bob Ertischek (Yellowdig's Academic Lead)  :


Thank you everyone.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai