Do These 5 Things to Set Up a Successful Yellowdig Community

#1: Set up points
#2: Make grading low-stakes, and enable grade passback
#3: Use our help resources, and share them with your students
#4: Set a generous point buffer
#5: Require topics for posts and create them before the course starts

#1: Set up Points

Use the point wizard to set up points for your Community. If this is your first time using Yellowdig, we highly recommend sticking with default settings, as our defaults have been intentionally calibrated for maximal student engagement. Later on, if you decide to alter the point settings, keep in mind that changing point values will change student behavior. Here are some ways to incentivize specific behavior patterns:

  • To promote content sharing, increase points for posts.
  • To promote discussion or debate, increase points for comments.
  • To promote quality, increase points for receiving reactions, comments, and accolades.

Why? Points motivate engagement. They also gently encourage learners to engage in specific ways without enforcing overly strict rules about participation. And social points—points for receiving comments and reactions—incentivize the production of high-quality posts and comments. Strict rules about how to participate tend to reduce the natural discourse that the platform was meant to encourage, and we see that as a strength of the Yellowdig platform in creating a genuine learning community via our gamified nudging system.

#2: Make grading low-stakes, and enable grade passback

Instructors commonly allocate 10-20% of their final course grade to Yellowdig participation. Regardless of your allocation, it is imperative that you allocate some part of your final course grade to Yellowdig. To make final grade calculations easier for you, we recommend integrating with your Learning Management System course (if you haven't already) and enabling grade passback

Why? Grades provide the extrinsic motivation that students need to start participating in Yellowdig, which in turn gives way to intrinsic motivation to keep coming back. In other words, extrinsic motivation is a necessary condition for intrinsic motivation and organic engagement.

#3: Use our help resources, and share them with your students

We work hard to make sure our Knowledge Base and materials for getting started are as up-to-date and available as possible. The Knowledge Base can be accessed through this URL link. It can also be accessed within Yellowdig by following these steps:

  1. Click your avatar icon (User Options) in the lower left-hand corner of the Yellowdig homepage. 
  2. In the pop-up menu, select Help.

Help button (under User Options) inside Yellowdig

Our support team is also available from 9am-5pm EST, Monday through Friday, to reply to any requests submitted via the Contact Us button in the upper-right hand corner of the Knowledge Base. If you highlight these resources for students, they will quickly find answers to many of their own questions.

Why? We all get by with a little help from our friends. When you and your students need help from your Yellowdig friends, don't hesitate to reach out.

#4: Set a generous point buffer

We recommend adding a generous periodic point buffer between 20-30% to the periodic point target. A 20% buffer would allow learners to make up for 1 week of missed participation by getting the maximum points during 5 other weeks. A 30% buffer would allow learners to make up for 1 week of missed participation by getting the maximum points during 4 other weeks.

Why? The point maximum ensures that learners interact with the platform over the entire course and cannot receive all of their participation points in just the last week of the course. In turn, this means that students who haven't regularly contributed throughout the semester will receive lower grades than highly active students. At the same time, the point buffer gives learners some flexibility in managing time, participation, and illness, and it will reduce the amount of time you spend addressing learners' concerns about grades.

#5: Require topics for posts and create them before the course starts

Instructors have the ability to require that students tag new posts with topics. In order to do this, instructors must first have Topics for students to choose. Aim to add Topics before the course starts so that they can be selected for specific course content. Topics work best when the title includes information about the content rather than only focusing on the course structure. For example, instead of using "Marketing 101" or "Week 2" as a Topic, use "Buyer Journey" or "Socially Conscious Advertising".

Why? We suggest requiring topics because they help learners find content and think twice about whether their contributions are relevant to the course material. And the "Topics" tab of our Community Health Dashboard—which tell you what students are talking about, what students aren't talking about, and which topics might need more coverage in class—are only valuable when topics are widely used.

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