Interested in Facilitating Collaborative Learning through Rich, Student-Driven Discussion?

Yellowdig is an online discussion platform designed to build community by inviting students to initiate discussion threads in which they connect their course material to real-world experiences, prior knowledge and their own ways of thinking. Yellowdig’s platform uses gamification principles to reduce grading pressure on instructors. Instructors set the guidelines and topics for posts and explain the expectations for participation, and Yellowdig awards points for student participation within the community.

Yellowdig’s Gamified Participation

Students earn points by starting a discussion thread or commenting on someone else’s discussion thread. Students are encouraged to create meaningful and interesting posts by earning points when others comment or react to them. Instructors can issue extra points by way of “accolades” to reward students who, for example, give a “verified response,” create a post that builds community or post something particularly insightful.

Students are expected to earn a weekly quota of points, but flexibility is built into this platform. So, if they have a lower point total in one week, they can make up points later in the course. One Yellowdig grade for the entire term is delivered back to Moodle as a percentage of total expected points earned.

Yellowdig has truly enhanced student engagement in both my distance education (DE) and in-person courses. I love participating in our online community and have learned so much about and from my students. Students ask meaningful questions, share experiences, resources, pictures and videos — all related to the course content. The user interface is very easy to use and is a great tool to facilitate meaningful discussions.

Remi Ham
Assistant Teaching Professor
Horticultural Science

Yellowdig’s Key Features

  • A modern user interface that mirrors what students are accustomed to in online social media platforms
  • Instructor-created topics to guide community discussions
  • Multiple options for creating posts, including attaching files, drawing, recording video or audio, posting anonymously, posting formulas, and creating polls for the community to participate in
  • Data and analytics that help instructors assess the health of their community’s interactions in Yellowdig
  • Auto-grading allows instructors to focus more on community-building rather than reading and evaluating each post


I have been very pleased with the level of engagement and interaction that has occurred in my Yellowdig community. It is a much more dynamic and satisfying platform than the traditional online forum and in many ways the engagement has been richer than observed in face-to-face courses in the past. I intend to continue to look for ways to use Yellowdig in other classes as well.

Mike Mullen
Professor of Soil Science

Ready to Explore?

Close up view of professor filming a class video

Yellowdig offers a unique approach to asynchronous collaborations in that it is student driven. I have found that the student-developed topics and discussions stay within the course focus and are more varied and deeper than any instructor-led techniques I’ve previously used. It also is largely self-grading and gets away from the more traditional formulaic model of “contribute 1, comment on 2” each week to earn the grade.

Peter Janca
Poole College of Management