Sanjay Sarma is the Vice President for Open Learning at MIT, and the co-author of Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn. Along with Luke Yoquinto. Their book is a fantastic resource for teachers, professors looking for cutting-edge learning research, and parents evaluating educational opportunities. “Grasp takes readers across multiple frontiers, from fundamental neuroscience to cognitive psychology and beyond, as it explores the future of learning.”

He and I have been chatting about cognitive strategies in education and the realities COVID has revealed about our education system. …

Talking to instructors who are new to Yellowdig, we often find there are a number of misconceptions around student participation and the role of the instructor. We have compiled a list of 8 myths and debunked them with the reality we have seen across our company partners below!

Myth #1 — Students need prompts to create good discussions and focusing them on a single topic is the only way to drive good, focused discussion about course-related topics.

Reality — Prompting students too much kills conversations, constricts learning, decreases motivation to participate, and gives students deadlines, which typically increases procrastination.

  • Unprompted…


When groups were enabled, you could only work in groups. When they were public, students in other groups could interact with your posts, but all original posts had to go to a group.

In my face-to-face classes, I’d look around the classroom and try to intuit whether or not my students “got” what I was talking about by asking pointed questions, listening to the responses of the one or two students I had time to call on, and then looking for glimmers of recognition in the eyes of everyone else. I had to take this very limited feedback to adjust and decide whether or not to spend any more time on a particular subject. The feedback I received from assignments and tests and quizzes came too late to be of much use. …

At the end of the Fall 2020 semester we asked Yellowdig instructors to share a survey with their students, as well as fill one out for themselves. These analyses are based on over 200 student responses and 30 instructor responses. 88.9% of students were completely remote, 10.5% were hybrid, and less than 1% were in-person. Class sizes of the students surveyed ranged from less than 10 to over 400.

This blog post will be sharing results centered around 3 main topics:

How does Yellowdig compare to other discussion platforms?

For the following 4 statistics, the percentages…

Although Yellowdig is mostly used to build community and engagement in the classroom setting, we have seen a number of uses that were fantastic outside of the classroom. Student clubs, alumni groups, courses with rolling enrollment, and special events are just as critical to the complete student experience as typical courses. This is why we have designed our platform to enable students to partake in thriving Yellowdig Communities outside of the classroom as well.

Outstanding Examples:

University of Nebraska — Lincoln Virtual New Student Orientation

Freshman were eager to get involved in university activity and meet each other even though the pandemic made it impossible to do so in person. With…

At the center of Yellowdig is community and at the center of community are the learners. We value the experience and insights from students very highly, which is why we have put a lot of effort into making sure their voices are heard.

Recently in our student panel webinar, we had the opportunity to hear from 4 students with very diverse backgrounds.


Anthony, Arizona State University

  • Degree information: Political Science
  • Profession: Currently at American Honda as a Packaging Engineer.

Pallas, University of Vermont

  • Degree information: Master’s of Public Health, Harvard Undergrad
  • Profession: Project manager for the division of sleep and circadian disorders…

Yellowdig has always been focused on creating the best environment for any academic use case, from English to Biology. With this goal in mind, we have recently improved the LaTeX editor.

Why is the updated LaTeX Editor important?

  • It allows students to format equations correctly and more simply.
  • It helps students work together to solve problems.
  • It allows easily moving back-and-forth between “what you see is what you get” editing and seeing and editing the LaTeX code.

With LaTeX students can easily communicate their questions about problem sets to other students, instructors, and TAs. …

Dr. Ben Plummer got his PhD at the University of Michigan focusing on motivation and gameful learning. Now he works as a learning experience designer for the Ross School of Business, designing courses for their online MBA program.

Dr. Mika LaVaque-Manty is the director of the Honors Program in the College of LSA at the University of Michigan, and also a professor of political science. He is trained as a philosopher and has been working a lot on questions of autonomy and agency over the last 15 years.

An Introduction to Motivation in Education

As Dr. Plummer’s introduction comparing education…

At Yellowdig, we don’t claim for our technology to be magic. The real magic happens when you combine our technology with our data-backed pedagogical approach. We are an education company first, and we believe in the power of humans to power learning, with the enablement of thoughtfully designed technology. Our Instructor Certification Course is designed to educate the faculty who will be leading the Communities primarily on Yellowdig’s game-changing pedagogy and secondarily on the functionality of our technology.

Earlier this week, we sat down with two of the core contributors to the Instructor Certification Course to ask some very important…


Digital platform for student-driven, active social learning. Proudly based in Philadelphia.

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