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Drexel University

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Professor Jesse Ballenger

Professor Jesse Ballenger

College of Nursing and Health Professions

Health Administration

Assicuate Teaching Professor

One thing Professor Ballenger had to say about the Yellowdig experience:


“The discourse environment of Yellowdig has been everything I had hoped for. It is engaging. I don’t get posts that are repetitive. In a blackboard discussion forum, most posts do not get any comments on them. Students approach it less as a discussion than an individual assignment. I’ve counted this, and in the typical Blackboard forum only 5 or 6 percent of the posts will get a comment from other classmates. In Yellowdig, this is flipped. Almost all of the posts get some comment. There is real discussion going on.”


How Professor Ballenger Uses Yellowdig:


Professor Ballenger used Yellowdig in four courses over the last 3 quarters (Spring ’18 – Fall ’18).  They include students at most levels (new undergraduates to graduate students). The classes are online and Yellowdig is used in place of what might normally be in-class discussion.  All point categories were active in Yellowdig and students earned them for 5%-10% of their course grade. Professor Ballenger’s Yellowdig instructions are relatively open-ended in that they allow students to choose the topics of posts and don’t prescribe how students should earn their points.  In talking about Yellowdig participation he emphasized to students the importance of them actually discussing posted content. Given this implementation, his students earned many points by reading, commenting on, and discussing existing content rather than just generating Pins. In addition to using points for grading, the weekly point maximum was active and “nudge” notifications were set.


Classes with Yellowdig Boards:


Spring 2018 – HSAD 500: Historical Influences on the US Healthcare System

Online (Graduates) - 18 students asked to participate across 10 weeks

105 Pins & 419 Comments = 2.91 posts per student per week; 3.99 Comments Per Pin


Summer 2018 – HSAD 346: Mental Illness in the Media and Arts

Online (Mid-Level to Advanced Undergraduates) - 34 students asked to participate across 10 weeks

221 Pins & 741 comments = 2.83 posts per student per week; 3.35 Comments Per Pin


Fall 2018 – HSAD 500: Historical Influences on the US Healthcare System

Online (Graduates) - 25 students asked to participate across 10 weeks

5 weeks into the course: 98 Pins & 397 Comments = 3.96 posts per student per week; 4.05 Comments Per Pin


Fall 2018 – HSAD 210: Health-Care Ethics

Online (Low- to Mid-Level Undergraduates) - 22 students asked to participate across 10 weeks

5 weeks into the course: 78 Pins & 215 Comments = 2.66 posts per student per week; 2.76 Comments Per Pin


Student Feedback:


“It is already tough working and doing online classes… It seemed very much like I was in a classroom. The assignments opened my perspective to a whole new look of how I view people and most importantly how I view myself.”


“I enjoyed the format of the Yellowdig discussion board and the weekly readings were very thought provoking and encouraged critical thinking/analyzing. Definitely one of the most interactive courses I have taken since starting the online program.”


About Professor Ballenger:


Professor Ballenger teaches health care ethics, history of health care, and health services for the elderly. He came to bioethics from a background in the history of medicine and the interdisciplinary field of Science, Technology and Society. After working for more than a decade as a nursing assistant, he earned a B.A. in History from Kent State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Case Western Reserve University.  He then did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He has lectured and written extensively on the ethical and policy implications of dementia. His research primarily focuses on the ethical and policy implications of the history of medical, social, and cultural responses to dementia and aging.


University of Florida

Case Study
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An Instructional Designer, James Kocher uses Yellowdig in 26 online courses within the College of Nursing. Learn how James incorporates Yellowdig in his online course design to facilitate case study discussions and ethical conversations between students.

Fort Hays State University

Case Study
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Fort Hays State University participated in a pilot program where Yellowdig was used across four marketing courses. Three professors at the university studied the effectiveness of Yellowdig in increasing student engagement and improving student learning. Yellowdig was used for two purposes: (1) as a way to create a community inside and out of the classroom, and (2) as a means by which students could create and share course-relevant content throughout the semester. Their research was published in the Global Journal of Business Pedagogy.