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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Interview with Shaunak Roy, Yellowdig - Innovators in E-Learning Series

People learn from each other and in online courses, the quality of interactions between students in their collaborative activities and with instructors is very important. Welcome to an interview with Shaunak Roy, founder and CEO of Yellowdig, a social learning platform that has been developed with the goal of enhancing the learning experience.

1.     What is your name and your relation to e-learning?
My name is Shaunak Roy, and I am Founder and CEO of Yellowdig, a social learning platform for education. I started Yellowdig with the fundamental believe that there is something magical about peer learning. Casual conversations, exchange of ideas, or occasional debates help form meaningful bonds with other learners, which make learning more fun, and real. As I look back into my own MIT and IIT days, I realize that I have learned as much from my peers as I have from my favorite professors. Some of those bonds have lasted well beyond those formative years and have morphed into lifelong friendships.

Shaunok on the video program, LifeEdge

2.     What is Yellowdig and what does it do? 
Yellowdig is a social learning platform that merges and combines the power of group learning and rapidly expanding real-time content from the internet into a seamless and easy to use learning platform. Yellowdig is Software as a Service (SaaS) that integrates into all Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and Portals to offer 1-click socially intuitive groups for a variety of use inside and outside of courses. For example, Yellowdig can be added in an individual course within minutes to offer a FERPA compliant, private and moderated collaboration forum for your course.

3.     How is it different than other collaboration apps?
The advantages of Yellowdig over other popular collaboration APPs such as Facebook Groups, Slack, and Yammer are the following :

·       1-Click Signup : Learners join the platform by clicking on a “Yellowdig” button in the Learning Management System (LMS), no separate registration required

·       Automatic grading and gradebook sync : Instructors can set up a points system to encourage learner participation, that is fully customizable from course to course.

·       Privacy and moderation : All the content remain private to a course and can be moderated by the Instructors and admins encouraging deeper and authentic participation.

·       Customization : There are many out-of-the-box and  custom configuration options available to support a variety of use cases and learning needs

4.     How are universities using the app? 
Yellowdig is bring used by over 40+ institutions and 140,000 learners across online, blended and residential courses and MOOCs.

5.     Many collaboration applications are not used in courses because they require so much extra time from the instructor.  How does Yellowdig approach that problem? 
We recognize that engaging students through prompt driven discussion and manual grading of discussion posts is a major time sync for instructors. In fact, this type of discussions tend to lower the quality of engagement as it feels less like organic sharing of ideas and more like assignments for the learner. Yellowdig, though peer driven discussion and automatic grading, substantially reduces instructor time commitment while improving both quality and quantity of engagement.

You can refer to our blog for many stories from instructors on how Yellowdig has helped them improve their instruction without increasing workload.

6.  What are your plans for the future?
We plan to continue to build our vision of making learning more engaging and real-world. We plan to add more features and data capabilities to help instructors and students get more from their learning experiences, from anywhere, at anytime and from any device. Our competitive advantage is our focus on working closely with our instructor community to co-curate the future of eLearning.

Check out Shaunak Roy on LifeEdge! 

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