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The Experience of Today's Learners: Navigating Education in an Uncertain World

Watch the full webinar here

Melissa Braun 0:13
Hi, everyone, Welcome to Speaking we'll get started in like two minutes is just to account for everyone coming in

Brianna Bannach 0:43
as everyone's settling in, please feel free to introduce yourself in the chat. It's always fun to see where everyone's calling in from what schools what what climates, I know, jealous of the people who are in Florida or California somewhere warm, right now.

Melissa Braun 1:24
We're gonna get started in just a minute

some welcome, everyone's looking at the chat at different places. I'm gonna go ahead and get started. My name is Melissa. I'm a current marketing intern here at Yellowdig. And I'm also a current senior at the University of Delaware. And I actually was a Yellowdig student a year and a half ago in the fall 2020 semester. So I'm super excited to be leading this webinar on the student pilot today. So I'm going to take this opportunity to introduce some of our panelists. So Lindsey do want to start us off and introduce yourself with one second sorry, your names school, the subject that you studied with Yellowdig and work if applicable.

Lindsay Grainger 2:23
Sure, of course. Thanks, Alyssa. So my name is Lindsay. I work for dignity, health, global education. And I'm currently not a student. But I have been lucky enough to take two different programs with Yellowdig. One was in association with Duke CEE and the other was with the University of Arizona there eller executive education. And I'm currently in the higher education sector with my colleague Jeffrey. And we're both looking forward to chatting with you today about the Yellowdig platform.

Melissa Braun 2:56
Awesome, thank you. So I'm gonna jump to Jeffrey then since you kind of already mentioned him. So Jeffrey, if you want to go next thing, thing. Name, we're starting at the subject that you studied with Yellowdig and work for

Owain Alexander 3:09
sure. Well, let

Geoffrey Roche 3:09
me just say I work for Lindsay and so but but obviously, I have the privilege of working with Lindsay at Sometimes I work for her depends on on the day. But But Geoffrey Roche served alongside Lindsey as part of the senior leadership team at dignity, health, global education, and have been privileged to actually now I'm on my actually on my my, my my fourth program with dignity, health, global education that's going to use Yellowdig. But most recently, within similar to Lindsay with the mini MBA in healthcare through eller College of Management, and I'm a health care person. And so look forward really to talking about how Yellowdig is truly the solution for health care professionals as it relates to the learning experience.

Melissa Braun 3:50
Awesome, thank you so much. Looking forward to that. Why don't we have a wait, do you want to introduce yourself same thing, name school year, and then your major because end of the year, a traditional student right now in school and goals.

Owain Alexander 4:03
Hi, I'm Owen Alexander. I am a student at the University of Vermont. I'm a history major. I have you used Yellowdig a lot over the course of over the course of the the height of the pandemic during quarantine. And it was and I don't know if my work is applicable but I use it in two different two or three different classes. I'm pretty sure to I can't remember if there are any more but it was a interesting experience and I'll be talking about today.

Melissa Braun 4:36
Awesome. Great to hear. And then last but not least Lacey if you want to introduce yourself again, same thing name school year, what you're studying, that kind of thing.

Lacey Miles 4:45
I'm Lacey. I'm going to school at Arizona State University. I'm majoring in psychology. I have used Yellowdig in like four different classes now. And so I've really enjoyed using it much more than that. A typical discussion posts on canvas.

Melissa Braun 5:04
Yeah, so I used logic for a political science course. And it was also a calm course was kind of a mixture course. But I thought it was really interesting because we didn't have a lot of time to discuss in class was a really good platform to use to get to know, my peers in my class better. I'm wondering what your kind of overall experience was with Yellowdig. If anyone wants to start off, that'd be great. I know that we're all coming from also different subjects, which I really love. So I kind of have the political science side of it. So if someone Jeffer I know, you mentioned the healthcare side of it. So if you want to start us off, that'd be great.

Geoffrey Roche 5:40
Yeah, so you know, from my perspective, and let me just say that I've had the privilege of seeing Yellowdig from from a learning perspective as a student, but also seeing Yellowdig as a facilitator in one of our dignity, health, global education programs, in which we partner with Yellowdig. And so, you know, throughout my time, and also serving as faculty at two other academic institutions here in the United States, Yellowdig, from my perspective, is what I have clearly experienced to be the most effective way of truly engaging students in a virtual, you know, experience. The, you know, the discussion posts, the dialogue, I always say it's more about mentorship and coaching than anything, was what I really see, not just from not just within the programs from the facilitator, but also from the other students. That's not what I experienced on traditional canvas. That's not what I experienced on the old blackboard. And so from my vantage point, particularly when we think of our healthcare professionals, who love to be around other people, when they're not in a program, where it's in person, the opportunity to still engage and feel like you're actually there, but you're still virtual is powerful. And that's what I would say Yellowdig has done.

Melissa Braun 6:51
Awesome. Thank you for your insight. Lacey, I'm kind of wondering if you could jump off that because I know you said that you use it for a few different courses, but you're a psych major. So what's your experience been like with Yellowdig? Especially because I know that you are not on campus? So what's that? Yeah.

Lacey Miles 7:08
Yeah, I'm a long ways away from campus. So like, just like laughing when he was talking about this, because like, I'm in two different classes, I just finished them, but one had Yellowdig. One did not. And you can definitely tell like, when we were doing like traditional Canvas discussion posts, like nobody, like you're just doing your responses. But like with Yellowdig, like there's much more comments and people are interacting more. But with like traditional canvas, let's just like we're just getting it done. And like that's all we're doing.

Melissa Braun 7:39
I definitely felt the same way. I had a two poli sci courses at the same time, one with the canvas discussion, and one with the Yellowdig discussion. And I mean, being online, I'm such a people person. So I love talking to people and having that other discussion where it was just like, tell me about this event and write a paragraph about it and then like,

Lacey Miles 7:58
and then do your to respond to your peers. And

Melissa Braun 8:01
it's just like, I don't want to, yeah, felt sorry, girl. So I always like because I could get

Lacey Miles 8:07
my Yellowdig discussions done in like no time and get all my points and be good. And it's just like I would dread having to do these traditional Canvas discussion posts every time. Yeah.

Melissa Braun 8:20
And oh, and I know that we kind of before discussed about your experience with Yellowdig. Can you tell me a little bit about that and how you were able to interact with students even if it was for like, even to challenge viewpoints? I think that that's another thing. It's not all about agree with people that sometimes you have to challenge viewpoints. And that's the good thing about Yellowdig Can you speak to that a little bit?

Owain Alexander 8:41
Yeah, um, so it was it was mostly as has been as the as the other speakers here have said it's, it was much easier to interact with people, you actually, you actually felt like there were kind of people there at least virtually, Blackboard feels like much like a wasteland. It's, it feels like you're kind of stuck in a box. But I was able to actually have a conversation. It was a fairly short conversation. But we were just in a sociology course, I was discussing, we were discussing the topic of LGBT representation in the media and I was actually able to get a into a somewhat passionate discussion regarding the issue, which is something I have never experienced in Blackboard before. In Blackboard that is very much I always feel this atmosphere of, you always have to respond to classmates comments, and and when you and it's the it's a very simple difference, but the interface is much harder to actually see other people's response. You just kind of roll the dice, pick one and pick one to reply. But in Yellowdig, it was actually much easier to find, actually see what the other ones were and at least give me an option to see what other people are thinking. And that made a very crucial difference. And even if it's one conversation was short, I felt much more There's much more passion in the conversation than than I've ever felt in any other sorts of Blackboard engagement.

Melissa Braun 10:06
Yeah, thanks. I love that insight. And then Lindsey, I kind of want you to speak to your experience a little bit. Because before, like, offline, you had said that you always were in person for classes, and this Yellowdig experience was kind of your first time being online. Can you speak a little bit to that? And what that felt like being online for the first time with Yellowdig?

Lindsay Grainger 10:24
Absolutely. So I'm your typical traditional student, I did my undergrad, my masters and my PhD in person in a lecture hall, and you know, out in the field, so. And Melissa, like you, I'm very much a people person, and I thrive off of other people's interactions, energies, everything like that. So I was a little skeptical when it came to being told that it will feel like a cohort based on the discussions in Yellowdig. And so I went in with an open mind, and was blown away. And I was so happy with it. And, you know, it did feel like a cohort, I did get to know my peers, you know, especially I'm up in Canada, and not anywhere near any of them anyway. And it was a wonderful experience, I really did feel like I had those interactions, even though they were online. But I was kind of like Wayne said, I was able to get those passionate discussions in in a really respectful way. And I just I loved my experience with with both of the programs that I took.

Melissa Braun 11:29
Awesome. Yeah, that's great to hear. I know that. For me, it was the same thing. I mean, going online was kind of crazy to me at first, and then I ended up using Yellowdig. And I kind of felt so close in a class to people. And that's never happened to me in person. I mean, there's people that I befriend and like, text, and I'm like, Cool. But in this class, I think everyone really got to know each other on a different level because of the conversations we were having in Yellowdig. So that kind of leads me to the next question that I have is that, you know, before using Yellowdig, I know sometimes group work was always a thing of stress, and not a big fan of things. But in peer to peer like, or social assignments. What was your perception of things like that, before Yellowdig, and then maybe working with people after Yellowdig? Did you see a difference in that experience. So if anyone just wants to jump in and speak to that, first, I'd love to hear about

Lindsay Grainger 12:23
I'll dive in first. And I'll I'll fully say I do not like group work when it comes to academic material. I'm not a big fan of it. But again, pleasantly surprised when it came to this, because there was serious collaboration that had to happen. And also everybody who's taking these programs is there for a reason. You're not being forced to take these you're not, you know, it's not an elective course that you have to take in order to finish your undergrad, you're taking this from an intrinsic motivational point of view. And I found that to be a wonderful motivator when it came to the group aspects is that everybody was just genuinely there to learn from each other. And again, Yellowdig provided that platform for integration, collaboration, and all in a related kind of respectful manner. So my viewpoint of group work changed, because of Yellowdig. Pretty much.

Melissa Braun 13:20
Awesome, that's great to hear. I mean, I'm the same way where I take my work very seriously. And sometimes group work is just like, ah, but with Yellowdig, I was the same way as well, where I was actually looking forward to working with peers and all that. But I have a question also a winner, Lacey, if you want to jump in here, because the Dignity Health kind of programs that you guys were doing, as you said intrinsic motivation. So everyone was there for kind of that reason. But I mean, undergrad, it's kind of a little different. Some of these courses we have to take, and we're required to be there. So I'm kind of wondering what your experience was with that from your end. Either one of you if you want to jump in?

Owain Alexander 13:59
Yeah, in my experience, because a lot more people were forced, I'm not sure if we had decade group projects or more if it was just decade group discussion, like these assigned groups we would have throughout throughout the semester. I didn't know that. When there were disagreements in the groups Well, again, unlike Blackboard, there were actually disagreement, you kind of got a vibe even if it was a bit skewed because on the web, you know, ever everything's out everyone sounds a bit harsher than they actually are on the web. And so things might be a bit skewed, but there was much more of a feeling of group interaction, which was similar to a classroom setting as in you don't like it you're you're stuck with these people that no one wants to work on but the fat but so it's not the exactly the brought together in this term. It's more speaks to its effectiveness as a communications platform. It's able to simulate that that era 10 in the classroom much better than much better than black quarter or other, other other services?

Melissa Braun 15:05
Awesome. So at least you're Jeffrey, if you have a comment on that, I'd love to hear it. If not, I can move on to the next question. Just let me know. Anyway,

Geoffrey Roche 15:15
yeah, you know, I would just share, you know, a story that I had from one of my students, most recently, where when I facilitated our certificate, healthcare leadership, which obviously also uses Yellowdig. And, you know, this was a student who actually was from the UAE. And so, you know, given that, you know, dignity, health, global education transforms the healthcare workforce at a global perspective, you know, we have the benefit of seeing through through, you know, the Yellowdig platform, global learners. And so, you know, let me just first say, to our undergrad students, we salute you, because, you know, we've been there, and I can't imagine having to go virtual, you know, in the way that you did, and so we need to, we need to call that out. But this student shared with us, particularly after they, he just concluded his 12 week program, that, that, you know, specifically what the experience that was in the course, through Yellowdig, is what allowed him to actually truly learn from his peers. And I think that that's a really powerful element, because not only did he learn in the course, but he got the benefit of truly what the learning experience should also be, in that you would get, as Lindsey talks about learning in person, you would get that in person. And so oftentimes, virtually and online, we don't get that, but because of this solution, coupled with how we've built our learning platform, the students shared that, and that's powerful. And so from my vantage point, what I think is unique is that whether it's group work or individual work, it doesn't matter in the Yellowdig platform, because you're still gonna have that engagement from start to finish. And I will say, even, even in my experience as a student, and as well as, as a facilitator, faculty member, there was debates, they were always respectful, they were always thoughtful. And what I loved is that you would see other students actually react, and you know, pump up one another, give support to one another. That's the power of Yellowdig is that, you know, in our world today, we need more empowerment, we need more coaching. And we mean, we need more support, when you have a tool that provides that, just imagine the impact that that has on a learner.

Melissa Braun 17:22
Yeah, that reminded me of like, kind of my experience as well with I mean, I love school. I'm a nerd, like I love taking classes and stuff. But when I would have my black or excuse me, Canvas discussions at my school, when I would have Canvas discussions, I was always pressing refresh, just to wait for like, like 10 people to post a discussion. So I didn't have to be the first one, I didn't have to be the last one, I could be in the middle and kind of hide. But then with Yellowdig, I was going constantly just to like, see if someone posted something interesting to read. So like something I could comment on and actually be interested in instead of going to see where I can hide myself in the crowd and not be seen. So it was definitely an interesting transition for me. So then, I guess, Lacey, my next question is going to you, if that's okay. Everly, right. This is your

Lacey Miles 18:12
monkey on my shoulder.

Melissa Braun 18:14
Once I enter this, too, that's okay. I don't know if she's Yellowdig. But as a student, what was the biggest challenge when we first used Yellowdig for the first time.

Lacey Miles 18:23
I mean, just like figuring out how it worked. But it was really simple to figure out how to use it, it was very user friendly. I found it much easier to navigate than trying to do the canvas discussion posts. Oh, sorry. What do you think? Bad bad. Okay. Thanks. Thank you. But I like I like how it's like easy to integrate, like an article or something into your like, you can actually see it and like, click the link. And instead of just like a hyperlink does hiding in your Canvas posts, like, you can actually like, see the image way better. And for a link, if you did like an article or something like that, it was much easier to add those sort of elements into your post, much more than canvas.

Melissa Braun 19:18
Oh, and do you want to hop in on that? I see.

Owain Alexander 19:20
Yeah, yeah. That's something that that's always been a challenge for with Blackboard is that I, I will miss things in Blackboard all the time because of various things ranging from I didn't scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, or because they were stashed away somewhere. In in, in Yellowdig, it is simply way easier to see it because being able to sort through the categories is a huge improvement, being able to actually find what I'm looking for and actually find if there is an assignment at all. I have had classmates comment that it is a bit difficult to try and balance but weren't managing with Blackboard yet. We'll dig because that's what that's what UVM usually does. Which that might be not as that might be more of a problem with, with UVM as Ben Ben Yellowdig itself. In my experience, Yellowdig has been much easier to manage things, even if it's even if it has some flaws, because Blackboard is far more when it comes to this.

Melissa Braun 20:20
Yeah. Lindsey or Jeffrey, do you have any comments about like the first thing that challenged you when you got on Yellowdig? And how you adjusted to that?

Lindsay Grainger 20:30
Honestly, I didn't have too many challenges. Everything was was pretty self explanatory, which was nice. I know, again, Jeffrey and I are a bit biased, because we also have the developmental side of the actual program with us. But from a user perspective, and again, as someone who had never taken an online course before, I found it just very user friendly. And I'd really didn't have any challenges with

Melissa Braun 20:56
it. Awesome, cool. tech savvy, because I know I mean, I'm, I mean, I'm, I shouldn't be tech savvy, because of my age, but sometimes I'm not. But Yellowdig even though sometimes I have a problem with technology, it was really easy for me to learn as well. Awesome. And then Jeffrey, if you have any final comments on this topic? And then if not, I'll move on to the next one.

Geoffrey Roche 21:19
No, I would say, you know, from what I've seen, particularly, you know, as a, as a faculty member, I did not see challenges with with Yellowdig. I actually, you know, if there's one element, out of all of what I've seen from a learning solution, that is the one thing that did not see challenges, I've actually seen more students have challenges with Canvas, at times than than ever have reported to ever have with Yellowdig. So, you know, I think, you know, there's a difference, because you've developed it with students, you know, literally at the center, instead of developing a solution that probably has been developed for educators, you've actually developed for those that are being educated. And that I think is really important. You know, when we think about that,

Melissa Braun 22:05
yeah, awesome. Thank you. This next question, I guess it's kind of more for Owen and Lacey? Because it has to do with kind of the undergrad experience. But do you think that anything has changed for better because of the educational experience with COVID? I know that obviously, there are many bad things that have happened. And all of that is valid. But are there any things that you kind of don't want to go back to in a normal world of education or something like that?

Lacey Miles 22:33
Let's see. I started during COVID. So I, this is all I know. Yeah.

Melissa Braun 22:40
That's very low. And if you want to jump it,

Owain Alexander 22:43
yeah. So I was in college, but before before, before the quarantine and after, and I think it was, I think it may have been, I think it was my freshman, second semester, I had a prof who was looked about in his early 30s and had the technophobia of a 70 year old. I mean, this man refused to even put grades on Blackboard, his Blackboard page was blank. And, and it was it was a mess, that stressed me out to no end he was that's the sort of thing the quarantine was a huge kick in the pants for a ton of props, who are just being incredibly stubborn and refusing to use basic services that we actually really need. Because this prof didn't even know enough about not doing good calculating, putting grades on Blackboard, there are people well, I have a learning disability. And that can make it difficult to to, to find demands, manage my time and stuff, especially if I need to, like calculate my grade or something doing that manually can be a bit of a bit of a challenge, especially because I might I might be missing something. And a lot of these prompts had definitely had trouble with computers. And this is something that shows that this is this was not a this was the computer trouble was not caused by COVID. I know that this frequently people would blame it on COVID. But I remembered no, these were things that happened before COVID. This COVID was it was, of course very bad. And it also was a mold, like many things in the world was showed that there was a very, very big problem people have been ignoring for years. I mean, the Earth has been around for 30 years, at least depending on who you ask. It's, it's ridiculous that these these professors who are supposed to be higher education is supposed to be pretty, pretty forward thinking from my understanding, and there's still some of these problems are still stuck in 1972. And so, as So COVID had many, many drawbacks. And this one benefit is that it showed we really need need better tech savviness and I do not want to go back to that technophobia of before like before quarantine.

Melissa Braun 24:53
Yeah, and I mean, the advent of technology in education. I mean, Lisa, you're in a very different state than Arizona. I'm taking classes at ASU. So I mean, you definitely benefit from that technological standpoint. Yeah.

Lacey Miles 25:08
Yeah, without it, there's no way like, I don't even know how far the nearest college is for me, like I live in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming.

Melissa Braun 25:16
And that's, I mean, I had to take classes. So I was actually studying abroad when COVID hit. So I was I was in Spain, supposed to be there until like late May. And then obviously, everything got shut down. I came home in March. But I was taking classes in Spain virtually still. So I mean, I wouldn't have you been able to graduate or have any of my credits without technology, because all of that would have just been kind of thrown in the, in the dump. And I would have to retake all my courses if it weren't for the technology that allowed me to do that. So just one more question before we go into audience questions, because I see there's a lot in the chat. So if you could give a professor or a moderator for Yellowdig, one piece of advice on how to use Yellowdig. What would it be? Because I know sometimes there were times professors might post a lot or like too little something like that. So if you could give a professor piece of advice, what would it be for you want to start?

Geoffrey Roche 26:15
So I would just say that, you know, from my experience, having been that Professor, what I learned having had other, you know, multiple individuals that I, you know, had the benefit of learning from as a student was that, you know, all students regardless of their journey, and regardless of whether or not they're in a certificate program, or a degree program, we always have to remember that we don't know what they're going through, particularly when they're in that program. And so what I particularly and with a with an emphasis on the fact that the last two and a half years have been nothing but trauma for everybody. And so what I have specifically seen work, and it's not just because I did it, but it's because I've also seen others do it is posting motivational quotes, posting motivational videos, I put up a video once, most recently in the, the class that I was facilitating, that was about motivational is a video called motivational, no excuses. And with a with a learner's particular in healthcare, they loved it. Because it was all about, you know, that that we we as learned as leaders shouldn't give excuses. But we should always be encouraged, empowered, coached and motivated to always strive to be our best. And I will tell you that. Yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing Magic Johnson speak. And one of the things Magic Johnson said resonated with me about, you know, the Yellowdig platform, particularly when we talk of learners is that even if you're a leader, every leader needs other leaders to make them even better as a leader. And so when we have a platform like Yellowdig, I can't highlight enough that we've got to use it from an inspirational perspective, we've got to help our learners see where they are, regardless of where they are in their journey. It's our responsibility as faculty to lift them up.

Melissa Braun 28:11
I love that. Anybody else want to speak to a piece of advice they would give to Yellowdig? Professor?

Lindsay Grainger 28:18
Well, I'm just going to kind of piggyback off from Jeffrey a little bit here, because, and this is, you know, I hate to be biased, but I think a lot of facilitators and professors could learn from someone like Jeffrey, because he, he really has done an incredible job with the students and treating them like individuals, and putting the effort in to get to know them as individuals to support them as well, which, again, is a very surprising factor when it comes to this. And I think, you know, he makes a really good point that you still need to motivate your students, regardless of whether they're in person or it's online. And it's those little small things that, you know, I'm sure Lacey and Owen can attest to that makes all the difference is those small bits of effort. And, you know, that's that's kind of what I would I would hope for facilitators and professors on on Yellowdig is to really put that effort in to seeking out the individuals and motivating the cohort to be successful.

Melissa Braun 29:22
Yeah, I definitely my professor, I think did a really good job at that when I took a course with theology, as I said, was fall 2020. So everyone was kind of collectively going through it, including my professor and like, I think the openness and the vulnerability that everyone had within the community made everyone like feel so connected and also like a safe space for sharing things because it was a political science class and we were sharing a lot of things about news and kind of current events and people's takes on it. So I think was a really safe environment to express what you wanted because the way my professor handled that, oh, and really see, do you have any piece of advice that you Do we give a professor? If not, we have many audience questions that I can start going to. So, first, I'm going to go to sorry. Amanda had asked, Can you speak to how specifically Yellowdig Mays collaboration and motivation easier to achieve? So, I mean, I could start this off, so about collaboration and motivation. So I think that, I mean, I definitely, as I said before, when I went on campus, and would refresh and go to wait till like 10 people posted and then post myself in the middle, I was kind of vulnerable to like peer pressure, and in a academic sense, and trying to perfect what my professor wanted in that way. But I think, with the Yellowdig community, and how collaborative and like kind of free thinking everything was and go with the flow, I didn't feel that pressure anymore. And instead, I wanted to see what people were saying and wanted to comment on it and wanted to react to it and see what I thought about that. And then I was motivated to go on the platform and kind of participate more than I was in another platform because of the interface and because of kind of what it gave me. So if anyone else wants to speak to kind of how they found motivation in with environment. Yeah, I have one

Lindsay Grainger 31:23
quick thing just to add to that. So I personally, when it comes to motivation, and collaboration, I found it really humbling, that I could see that other people in my program, were also struggling with some of the topics that I was, and that we could try and tackle these together, the facilitator would get involved and help us. And, again, it's hard to feel those human emotions when you're not face to face with people. But it was easy to see that eight of us were having a hard time with unit five. And we all tried to then work together, collaborate, motivate each other, find outside resources, the facilitator would also catch wind of this. And that's where I found it, maybe some of the struggles. That's where you collaborate and motivate each other kind of the most throughout the program as well.

Melissa Braun 32:12
Yeah, that's a really good point, I think, because I mean, nothing makes me feel better than if I'm struggling with something. And I don't know anyone in the course. And I'm just thinking that I'm the only one in that boat, but knowing that there's a community of people that also need help with something, and maybe I can help them with another subject, and they can help me with this subject. It's so like, relaxing, I think. Anyone else have any insights on kind of how they found motivation? We're collaboration in Yellowdig?

Owain Alexander 32:49
I, as I've said before, I didn't have any group projects. Well, it was it was definitely nice to have more of a better sense of other people being there in the classroom. Collaboration wasn't maybe this, maybe was just because of the classes I was taking. But collaboration was I wouldn't say there were there were strip collaboration, so that there are still times where you could post and no one would, no one would reply. It. It did feel like more of a classroom setting with all the challenges that that that that brings in the you know, the issues of someone might just could isolate or something. And so I suppose there I suppose. I guess I'm just saying that it's good for simulating a classroom very effectively with all the flaws of the of the traditional classroom included. I suppose that's that's what I'm trying to make.

Melissa Braun 33:55
Awesome. Yeah. Lacey. I didn't know if you were talking before, I think you were muted. He wasn't sure. Oh,

Lacey Miles 34:01
my child was asking me about a million questions. So I was like, well, let's mute.

Melissa Braun 34:05
That's okay. If either of you want to add on to that, feel free to jump in at any time, just about motivation, collaboration, that kind of,

Lacey Miles 34:13
I just found myself to be more motivated to do the Yellowdig participations. And I guess it's because like, you can see more from your peers. And it's like you could kind of feed off theirs. You didn't have to like directly make a post like you could earn your points making comments on other people's posts. With like, traditional canvas, it's like I always know I always have like this freak out, like trying to do my first discussion posts. Like I'm going to do it all wrong. And we can never like see anybody else and see can't just like, add on top of that, or I don't know it just it feels Oh, I don't even know how to put it.

Melissa Braun 34:50
Yeah, I definitely agree with that. Yeah. Oh, and if you want to jump in, I see.

Owain Alexander 34:55
Oh, there's something there's something to be said for the point system. I believe There's been research that, you know, video game style point systems are pretty useful for learning and stuff like that. And so I, I experienced a similar thing of feeling a little more motivation. Even if it was only a tiny amount of wanting to do this more, just because it had the point the point system was pretty useful, just just like logically. And it was it was just, I think just the slight, slight being slightly easier than Blackboard definitely made a huge impact on on wanting to be able to.

Melissa Braun 35:29
Yeah, that kind of brings me to the next set of questions that someone had, Tristan had asked about our experience with, like, points and that with participation. Jeffrey, if you want to answer this one, because you didn't answer the last one, if you don't have to, but what was your experience with points? Like? And how did you feel about it affected your learning experience? Or teaching experiences? Well?

Geoffrey Roche 35:50
Yeah, I mean, so I actually think that, you know, in the way that Yellowdig has been designed, I always tell people, it's almost like, a gamified way of engaging learners. And so the point, the point system, I think people feel good. I mean, you know, you do your work, and you get automatic points. It's not as if you have to, you know, necessarily wait and assume now, again, that may be different undergrad, you know, but But particularly, in, you know, in the programs that I participated in, you know, you would you would do years of discussion post, you know, and then you would automatically see, the points, you know, be attributed at some point in a within that near term. I think the other thing that's important there is, is, you know, it's almost like instant gratification, but then it's also additional gratification, because then you see your, your your fellow students commenting and reacting to your posts. And, you know, that, to me, is really what's most powerful about this. I don't, I did not get the sense. But again, I could be wrong as both a student and as someone that's facilitated with students, that they cared as much about the points, I think they cared more about the engagement, and particularly about the fact that, you know, as they would comment, others would comment, but more importantly, others would give advice. And so, you know, I had students who would say, Hey, I'm dealing with this practice management issue. And then someone would say, Hey, I dealt with that exact issue. And here's what I did to solve it. And then someone else would chime in. And sometimes I didn't have to chime in at all, because I could see others were doing you know exactly what I would what I would have suggested. And so, to me, that's the power of this

Melissa Braun 37:28
great answer. Does anybody else want to kind of speak to their experience with the point system, maybe Oh, and release you because kind of the undergraduate sense of it.

Lacey Miles 37:40
I didn't mind having to do the point system, I found it was a lot easier to like, you could just tell me like, you could jump into like five different conversations and have your points done, like write them. But you like could still keep talking. And it didn't, I just found it really easy and simple, and much less stressful than like traditional Canvas discussion posts, like where you have to like wait for your grade. And it's just like, instantly there. And I found like, our instructors, like always interacted with us more through Yellowdig than I've never had, like a professor like mentioned anything on any of our discussion posts on blank canvas. But my last class that I had to use Yellowdig for he was posting stuff weekly, like sometimes a couple times a week, and you could like ask him questions and discuss stuff. And it was, it was kind of nice. So you're able to get points in no time.

Melissa Braun 38:33
Yeah, I have the same experience. And then there were I mean, to be honest, I think I went over points every single week,

Lacey Miles 38:39
I went over points all the time, there was never a week where I didn't go over points.

Melissa Braun 38:44
I mean, because I there were conversations after I earned my points that I was like, this is interesting, I want to comment on this. So definitely was like over earning. And that's not even you can't over

Lacey Miles 38:57
cut you off after a certain point.

Owain Alexander 39:01
In the classes and the classes that I had, I think the cut offs were a bit more stringent, which may have been a challenge I'm not sure if that I'm not sure what to say about that. But um, but I in Blackboard, I have never had even the mild disappointment of not being able to participate in a conversation most of the time because, as I've said before, the the format makes it impossible to even see it. And but Yellowdig I've fulfilled the points and been in Metasploit with bad and there have been times when I was willing, but I was actually feeling a little disappointed that I wasn't able to participate more. And I that that and as someone who was I feel like this would be at the end of the day where I'm like, I just really want to get this done and just go and do something else fun. That's that's certainly speaks to that sort of experience that that there's that crucial little difference.

Melissa Braun 39:53
Yeah, definitely. I mean, once I posted in Canvas, I was like okay, never looking

Lacey Miles 39:57
at that again. But yeah, With posts, my discussion posts, get my replies done. And like, that's where it went to die. I would never go back. Yeah, no.

Owain Alexander 40:05
Yeah. Blackboard, Blackboard, I've almost never gone back to see what people's responses are people

Lacey Miles 40:11
commented on my discussions, I just I'd never even went back and checked, I was like I'm done.

Melissa Braun 40:18
So kind of the next set of questions are have to do with the role of the instructor in the community. So how did you feel about the instructor in the community do like when the professor is like more active in the community or less active or kind of like a shadowy role? What was your experience like? And kind of What's your preferred experience with that?

Lindsay Grainger 40:43
I think for me, it depended on the program, frankly, that I was taking. And I took two very different programs. One was more, you know, economics budget, type based, and the other was more self reflection about leadership. And so I appreciated the feedback on the one that had more to do with budgeting and economics, because that's a little more foreign to me. So I appreciated that there was more feedback, so I could learn more. Whereas in the the other program, I really didn't need that much feedback, frankly. And I know that's a very individualistic thing to say. But I think it does depend on what the content of the program is, as well. And the more you put into your assignments, and the discussion, I feel also triggers the facilitators to also put more effort in and I, you know, again, I can speak to Jeffrey, where he put in so much effort with those students who really wanted to learn, and if anyone had any extra questions, Jeffery would be right there. And so it really is kind of a give and take between the student and the facilitator, if you look at it that way. Yeah.

Melissa Braun 41:58
Does anybody else have a comment on that kind of where you would appreciate the instructors kind of role in the community?

Lacey Miles 42:09
I always liked that our professors would like sometimes the beginning of like, whenever our points started over and rolled over, they would like kind of put out a prompt and then get you thinking, like you could interact with them or do your own posts. That was kind of nice. And then like, sometimes they would like your posts or like the TAs would sometimes get in there and make comments. So that was always kind of like I guess, more motivating than if you didn't hear anything from them at all.

Melissa Braun 42:36
Yeah, and I think that there is that like, also happy medium, because there have been experiences I know where people, professors, just like all in the community, and like kind of prompting posts and stuff and sent him

Lacey Miles 42:46
like a free report, he would, he would like, kind of put something at the beginning of the week. And then he'd kind of like, fill in stuff here and there. But like he wasn't, like, overbearing you with like, this is what you have to talk about. Like it's kind of like, if you found something interesting within the chapters that you wanted to talk about, or during a video, like you could comment on that. He kind of just give you guidance, but wasn't like some of these other discussion posts on Canvas, where it's just like, This is what you have to talk about. And like, you can't stray from that. Yeah, questions? One, two, and three. And then yeah, like your answer this? Yeah.

Melissa Braun 43:20
And then Jeffrey, I know that you had jumped in to say something sort of? Yeah.

Geoffrey Roche 43:24
Yeah. I mean, so you know, let me just say, and I've always been known to, to challenge my colleagues and faculty that, you know, I think it's a responsibility, particularly for the faculty, irregardless of whether it's a degree program or a certificate program, to be super engaged in this in the platform. I think that you know, every learners journey is different. And to know that a faculty member has read their discussion posts commented and or at least reacted, goes a long way. And I've always said, you know, as, as someone that teaches at the graduate level, I've never taught at the undergraduate level, but you know, have also taught it and then supported at the certificate level, through dignity, health, global education, that the power of the faculty is to be engaged in the community. And you know, we're going to truly impact each and every one of the learners, then we've got to live that out ourselves. And so I tried my my, every day, to at least react to every single post. I'm sure if you audited, I did not. And honestly, I feel bad that I didn't. Because it was always important to me that each and every one of learners felt the same attention that all the others received. And so you know, I think we all know we can always do better and that's one thing I would, you know, would continue to strive to do. Should I have that opportunity in the future? But But I will say responsibility goes both ways. And so if we're going to expect our students to respond to posts, we also have to

Melissa Braun 44:57
Yeah, appreciate that answer a lot. Um, I know that lacy your time, I know that you have to leave a little bit early. Um, there's a question in the chat that I wanted to get to, because I think it's important. So we're talking about these like good things about Yellowdig. So someone had a question about what the exact difference is between Canvas or Blackboard and Yellowdig. And kind of why, why is Yellowdig like this? And why are we saying these things about Canvas? So if anyone can speak to their experience, in that that was from Wilmer and Nicole, by the way, those two questions?

If not, I can speak a little bit into it. I mean, I think that just in general, when I started with Yellowdig, the interface was welcoming and new. And I was like, this is fun, this is different. And then seeing how the points work and seeing that I am not getting graded on the content of what I'm saying. But the fact that I did it in general made me want to write better things. Because knowing that I'm not getting graded on how perfectly I answered this question. I was able to kind of learn more and reach out and kind of break the boundaries of what I thought the topic was, and the subject was, and it was a really beneficial experience for me to kind of open the doors of education doesn't have to be so like, 123 strict, because I've always been like, kind of like that and abide by the rules until I took like a class with Yellowdig. And saw that. I actually learned more when I have this like free environment to think and talk. Yeah,

Lacey Miles 46:35
yeah, I enjoyed having the freedom of being able to discuss what you wanted to discuss versus just a traditional, like Canvas discussion post, or they just give you the prompt and like, if you answer outside of that, then you're just gonna get points deducted because you didn't answer it the way they wanted. So I liked having the point system. And like, if there was something interesting you found in class and you wanted to like research that further, you were able to put that into your Yellowdig post. And like, kind of like, ask how your class felt about it? Or like, your instructor could like, comment on it, but like you were free to do what you wanted to discuss it within the realm of your class, as long as it wasn't like too out there.

Melissa Braun 47:17
Oh, when did you want to jump in?

Owain Alexander 47:18
Yeah, I can't speak for the for the experience with cannabis. But um, but one thing about one of the key differences between Yellowdig and Blackboard is simply Blackboard feels a bit like like an like an artifact of the 90s. But not in the same way and we're throw away like it. Like, you need so many screens to click through so many screens in order to get to various things in in Blackboard, there's you know, you can find course materials, you can find a discussion board thing which no one ever uses. You can find there's a home you can you can get everything mixed up, you can you can find your assignments in one place and find the bill the way you're supposed to put it in the other I have had cases where I have actually not been able to find a assignment because I didn't realize that the link that was not properly formatted was even a link with and Yellowdig is just much simpler format, you just need to click through fewer screens you if you want to see everyone's everyone's interaction on Blackboard in a discussion board in an assignment discussion board, because you'll have like 10 different people. So that's 10 different pages, because you can't, they aren't all on the same page, you have to click on each one individually. So you have to see you might have to open 10 tabs or keep going back and forth, you might lose track of which one you're you're looking for. And it's just, it's just completely overwhelming. There's I did find to my disappointment that Yellowdig does not have a ctrl f function because I was trying I was looking at notes this morning to try and preparing for this for this panel here. But unfortunately, the Ctrl F function doesn't do the whole whole page. But that's a mild thing on because on Blackboard, you just can't even see the things you did. It's just, it's just much easier to interact with the only thing that is with Blackboard just much simpler.

Melissa Braun 49:09
Yeah, with Ctrl F I'm also I think our dev team is kind of working on something like that. Just uh, I'm, I'm also not on the dev team. But I feel like I heard that in a conversation before. But yeah, Lindsey, did you want to speak to that at all? Or?

Lindsay Grainger 49:25
I mean, I agree. I don't use Canvas too much. I used to use Moodle quite a bit. And, you know, that's, again, kind of a little archaic compared to this. But, you know, I don't have too much else experience when it comes to comparing anything to Yellowdig because it's just so good. So we don't do anything else.

Melissa Braun 49:46
Awesome. So I know that with there's a lot of questions in the chat about kind of demos and how the platform actually looks and works. So in a few minutes of one of our team members Natalie's gonna come and do a little bit of a short demo. Oh, Natalie's here. Now, when did you want to start the demo now? Or? I didn't know what your timeframe is like? No, this

Natalie Ramos 50:12
is this is wonderful discussion. I'm so excited to join and jump in here. And I see Devin and a couple of familiar names. And Andrea, thank you, sir, for starting our our pilot with Yellowdig. But there is a question someone had asked in the chat about accolades. So I just wanted to get the student responses before we jump into the demo. Yeah.

Melissa Braun 50:34
Also Lacey, thank you for coming. Lacey does have to hop out a little early. But

Brianna Bannach 50:39
um, yeah, so I see the question. Let

Melissa Braun 50:42
me go up a little bit. Okay. Yeah, motivated. So actually, I don't believe that when I took the course, my professor did not use accolades. So I can't really speak to this, that well, but have you ever taken a course of the three of you with an accolade? And kind of what was your experience? Like, where you're trying to get an accolade? What was the motivation, like affecting from that?

Geoffrey Roche 51:05
I mean, I've used the accolade in their most recent program that I facilitated, really, because I just thought, Oh, that's a new, it's a just an additional way to express recognition, particularly for those that went above and beyond in an assignment, or with their post, as well, as students who, you know, in a 12 week program, I saw a lot of growth, from where they started to where they finished. And so I did use it from a for recognition standpoint.

Melissa Braun 51:40
Awesome. Yeah. So I yeah, I think that the tool was not there when I, when I take an ELD course. So that's a nice way to use them, obviously, to motivate, oh, and as a student, or Lindsay as a student as well, in either undergrad, or in a certificate course. Did you have any athlete experiences and kind of how did that affect you?

Owain Alexander 52:01
I don't think I don't think either the class didn't use them. I'm not remembering correctly, or I or they did and I just didn't notice, because or maybe it was maybe it was an older, older, does I first start using it in 2020. And so maybe that was that was a problem. I just, I just don't I just, I suppose either we didn't use it, or I just don't remember. And I don't even know if I, I just either I didn't notice it. So so I can't really speak to this.

Melissa Braun 52:30
Yeah, I think that if I, I'm in the same boat where I don't think that I had available during that time. But I feel like now if I were to take a course, that did give out athletes, I mean, I am. I'm competitive. I definitely like winning things. So I feel like the ability to get an accolade for something that I posted or have people like react to things that I posted would kind of like boost my confidence a little bit and kind of make me feel more secure in my learning. And also, in addition to that, kind of like see what what the professor Mark does a really interesting post and kind of a new development. And then I would see what that person posted and kind of be able to react to that and get a new take on everything.

Brianna Bannach 53:11
Lindsay, have you had an experience with the accolades?

Lindsay Grainger 53:14
Yeah, I did in the last course that I took. And like you, I'm very competitive. And so I loved it, I would be the same as you, I got to my 1400 points. And I would just keep going because it was, I don't know, it's also just motivating. You have so many people, you want to respond to that. It's almost tough to have that kind of glass ceiling where you can't go any further. But I thought the accolades were done really, really well by my facilitator. They were thoughtful, and they were warranted when they happened. And like Jeffrey said, it was really kind of a nice way to let those students know that when you go above and beyond, I'll also go above and beyond as your facilitator. So I think you know, it's the cherry on top. But if you are a competitive person, you make it you make it part of the day, pretty much.

Melissa Braun 54:04
Awesome. So thank you too. I mean, Lacey has a lot. But thank you to the four of you all for participating in this panel. We are at like five minutes left, and I did want to have time for Natalie. So Natalie, if you want to take it away?

Natalie Ramos 54:19
Yes, we're gonna jump in. We're gonna look at our Yellowdig platform here.

Unknown Speaker 54:26
Here's our screen. Wonderful discussions. I am very thrilled to hear all of the features brought to life as everyone is talking from a student perspective. And thank you to our instructors who have used us before kind of navigating that chat and sharing your experiences as well. And so for those of you very new to Yellowdig, I am showing a couple of things here. One we can a couple of questions about integrating into an LMS This is a canvas discussion. Excuse me, Wow, a canvas for dashboard. Basically Have each of your courses can have a community of Yellowdig. And they launch into a separate window as seen here. And it creates, it has a separate browser for each community. As an instructor, what you have on or your TAs, you'll have access to everything on the left side here to navigate all of the students kinds of data captured within the platform. And as you can see the single scroll feed, very colorful. The most engaging posts that I've seen so far in our pilot communities are ones that there is there's just, there's a lot happening, yes, but there is thoughtful discussions created around these posts that have accolades or topics tagged to them with or without points. So there's different features you can add to have the gamification aspects, emojis, and of course, you can award these accolades here in in comments. So I know that was one of the questions. So let's just typically, we kind of go through all these features, but since we only have a couple of minutes, so I'll just highlight the ones that were brought up in the chat here. And so I'll go down to how you can format your accolades. Since we just talked about it. Andrea mentioned too, she enjoyed creating our own accolades within her course. And you can create your own assign as many points, or as few points. And they can be for any type of

Unknown Speaker 56:33
response that you want to award. I'm going to open up the chat here, just so I can kind of move this demo with what we're what we're thinking about what we'd like to show. Excellent, excellent. And the other thing, too, with Yellowdig, that does distinguish it I think from a typical discussion board or group me, I recently had an instructor, you know, me, oh, my gosh, where was it? We always share great things. But it was like, this is like Group Me on steroids. And I hope this is better than Group B. So one of the things that differentiates this is ours, our point systems. So these are ways that you can allow points for topics and accolades. And you can configure any sort of points settings for for each of these, here. And one thing that also distinguishes us is our topics, you can make topics required, suggested they're optional, we recommend that they are required so students can navigate and filter through understanding what was what was said, what was talked about, and filtering for any of that. And you can also like unassign, some topics. Did you guys have anything like that? Just curious. Did you have any topic that were not assigned points that were more for, like hallway discussions or anything? I haven't seen it yet. That's why I'm asking. Yeah, I

Brianna Bannach 58:01
haven't had that experience yet. Oh, man.

Natalie Ramos 58:03
Okay, hopefully it upcoming courses.

Melissa Braun 58:07
And maybe, yeah, we the I know that we had a question about kind of how people are connected. And maybe the network graph would be a good example. Oh, perfect. That.

Unknown Speaker 58:19
Yes. And that's the other thing is there's so much to show and look at and the thing about Yellowdig is every every part of the platform has a little icon, where it'll help explain what this feature is about. You're never just given Yellowdig from the start. And, you know, here it is, like make sense of it. We all have everything explained. And of course, you work with our pedagogy team. So let's go to network graph. And here's a visual of how students can be connected in the community. And you can kind of pull out some struggling students who might need a little more love and support to reach out to them. And if you hover over each one, you can see a little more on details in terms of how many people they've responded to receive responses from and when they've last connected. Just another visual representation. Awesome, thank

Melissa Braun 59:14
you. Now, we do have a minute left in the webinar. So I feel like we showed a lot of the great features. And there are obviously more ways to get a full demo. Natalie, if you want to do that for a second.

Unknown Speaker 59:31
Yeah, I will go ahead and I believe our demo link is listed in the chat. I know at the end of this webinar, if that is something interested, I will drop my email. If you're interested in moving forward with a pilot version of this, you can reach out to me.

Melissa Braun 59:50
Thank you, Natalie. So I want to wrap this up and thank everyone for coming and watching this webinar. I mean, I had a really good time. This was the first webinar or that I've ever led. So that was exciting. But yeah, thank you to our panelists for being here. Anyone have any last thoughts? They want to say? That's okay. Well, thanks, everyone. I'm gonna go ahead and close this webinar for everyone. But thank you so much for coming. And yes, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thanks.

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