Yellowdig Offers Genuine Community for Learners and Educators
Interview with Terry Schmidt
March 2018 Interview with Terry L Schmidt DrHA MBA (MPH)
Program in Public Health and The Paul Merage School of Business
University of California, Irvine
Terry Schmidt, DrHA, is a lecturer in the Economics and Public Policy academic area at the University of California, Irvine, The Paul Merage School of Business. He teaches three courses: Global Health Systems course at Paul Merage, a Public Health class, and lastly, a course outside of UCI that involves students from Tokyo, Taiwan, and New Zealand.
The International Course, "Global Health Live"
"I teach a class that's called Global Health Live. It’s a synchronous course that is held at the same time, irrespective of the country or time zone. The course is held by me, but each university adopts the syllabus. It is an accredited, graduate course in each university and includes a faculty person in each classroom in every university. Think of yourself, sitting in your classroom, with the class being connected through computers and cameras just like we are now. We have guest lectures every week and we have assignments which are completed in groups. The class is created to be cross-cultural. We have students from Japan, USA, Taiwan, and New Zealand but we all speak in English during the class."
How Yellowdig Benefits His Classroom
"Yellowdig has changed my ability to be an effective instructor, and lecturer. It also brought audiences together. The discussion board allowed me to post discussions on each week’s topics. It’s gamified, and I use the point system. Each university in the international class now sees the accumulation of points by their students."
We also use Yellowdig as a learning management system(LMS) all on its own. Not every university uses the same LMS, and sometimes some of the systems are blocked in different countries but Yellowdig acts as one repository for all the course documents. I have five assignments during the quarter but with different systems in different countries. Yellowdig allows me to deposit the requirements and the documents in one spot. Previously, you were not able to do that before and we always had to rely on several different learning management systems to store all the documents.
To step further, working with this diverse audience means that the Yellowdig platform would allow the students to work with each other. The students had to create a video by the five different cultures and this encouraged them to come together and Yellowdig helped create this environment where students can share this easily. In fact, the final assignment will be posted on Yellowdig.
Yellowdig is so effective and reliable that I use it for about 25% of the course grade!"
How He Uses Yellowdig's Topics Feature
"The weekly topics allow me to focus the laser beam for the discussions for that week. Yellowdig also allows me to say to a different university “You’re in charge of moderating this week.” So the professor from Tokyo starts moderating the posts, watching the pins, looking at the comments, and every week the responsibility switches.
I had a selection of topics, and would select one topic per week. Let’s assume we had a guest lecturer that week on the emotional quotient (EQ), a social behavioral science. Each week I have a different topic and in that week I would have the discussion “EQ” and the students are required to be really on top of their game with lengthy, 50-100 word responses.
What Yellowdig has given me, is an accurate, independent, measurable, evaluation tool. It makes everything less subjective. Yellowdig becomes my rubric. Points are accumulated into this quantifiable and valuable rubric which we as academics try to achieve the most student success."
"The particular discussion occurred about the conflict in the Middle East and the topic that came up was refugees and their health. The students had such wonderful perspectives, with lots of mixed content attached. I remember that one distinctly. So look what happened, the discussion was initiated on Yellowdig first, and occurred in the class second! This is usually the opposite of what typically occurs on learning management systems."
Overall Influence of Yellowdig
"Yellowdig has strengthened my engagement with the students. They are very well aware that just because you show up to class, you’re not “done”. They are out there watching, participating, engaging and creating a much stronger relationship by using Yellowdig outside of class hours.
It also allows me to make my class high tech and high touch. We want the doctor-patient relationship to be high-tech, high-touch and that’s what you’ve done for me as a professor. Ultimately, it allowed me to have more good discussions to take place.
Also, next May I am taking the students to Geneva for the World Health Organizations. The students will be from Tokyo, Taiwan, and US. This will again be our platform."