LTI Integration, How it Determines Grade Passback, and Allocating Points to Yellowdig in your LMS Gradebook

What are LTI and Grade Passback?
Grade Passback via LTI
Why does it matter that grades are sent as a proportion?

What are LTI and Grade Passback?

Yellowdig relies on Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards to communicate with different learning management systems (LMSs). The power of LTI is that allows our technology to integrate with most LMSs. The downside is that we do not control these standards or how different LMSs use the information passed to them using those standards, so our LMS support is limited to the Yellowdig side of the LTI exchange. Support for your LMS is usually available from your institution or directly through your LMS provider.

In addition to receiving information via LTI, Yellowdig also passes information back to your LMS via LTI. Yellowdig passes back grades via LTI to your LMS gradebook. Below, we explain how this works, why it matters, and what to look out for when troubleshooting.

Grade Passback via LTI

1. The grades that Yellowdig sends to your LMS gradebook are percentages that measure what a student is on pace to get by the end of the Community.  

Yellowdig grades are calculated as follows:

Yellowdig grade equals student's current point total divided by periodic target times current grading period

Say, for example, that a student is taking a ten-period course where the periodic target is 1,000 and the periodic max is 1,200. If, at the end of period 2, this student had 2,000 total points, Yellowdig would send back a proportion of 100% (2000/1000*2) to the student's LMS at the end of period 2. If this same student had 3,200 points at the end of period 3, the student would effectively have a grade of 106.7% (3200/1000*3), though LTI standards dictate that the grade is capped at 100%.   

When the student's Yellowdig grade is passed back, it is multiplied by the points allotted to Yellowdig in your LMS gradebook column for Yellowdig. For example, if 50 points are allotted to Yellowdig participation in your LMS course, the student would have 50 LMS points at the end of period 2 and at the end of period 3. If, however, the student neglected to post or comment during period 4, the student would have a Yellowdig grade of 80% (3200/1000*4), and the student's LMS grade for Yellowdig would be 40 points (80% of 50 points).

LMS grade equals Yellowdig grade times LMS points allotted to Yellowdig

2. A student's Yellowdig grade at a given time faithfully represents their rate of progress toward the 100% participation goal. It does not represent their absolute progress toward the 100% participation goal. Students and instructors cannot infer their absolute progress from their LMS grade, but they can see their absolute progress at any time within Yellowdig on the My Participation page.  

3. Gradebook syncing occurs intermittently; LMS grades do not update in real time. Grades pass back approximately once per hour. The most up-to-date grade is always inside the Yellowdig platform.

Why does it matter that grades are sent as a proportion?

1. Aligning point systems is unnecessary and confusing. Yellowdig passes grades back as a percentage that reflects a student's rate of progress; Yellowdig does not (and cannot) pass back raw points. Hence, if the points allocated to Yellowdig in your LMS gradebook equal the Total Goal in Yellowdig, the points students see in the LMS gradebook won't match the points they see in Yellowdig. Yellowdig points are a different "currency" from course points, and clearly differentiating these currencies is necessary to prevent confusion.

We strongly recommend making the point differences between Yellowdig and your course extreme. Set your periodic target to 1,000 or 10,000 points, for example, so there's no way a student will mistake Yellowdig points for LMS points. Besides, it's always fun to get more points!

2. Yellowdig does not support 0-point "extra credit" assignments. In some LMS courses, instructors give extra credit by creating an assignment worth 0 points and then entering grades that are higher than 0. This method of providing extra credit is not compatible with Yellowdig. Because Yellowdig grades are proportions that are multiplied by the points allocated to Yellowdig in your LMS course, any Yellowdig grade that is passed back to a 0-point assignment becomes 0, since anything times 0 is 0.

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