Featured instructor: Jennifer Davidson
Students come to online classrooms with a certain level of knowledge that, as instructors, we are hoping to build upon and expand. Vygotsky calls the space between a students’ current state of knowledge and the potential state of knowledge they could achieve with assistance from peers or their teacher the zone of proximal development. The zone of proximal development is filled with potential for new insights and intellectual growth, but it can remain undeveloped or unused when there aren’t enough opportunities to share insights and check their new understandings with others. The exchange of information, insights, and new thoughts provides students with an opportunity to learn.
Interacting with others is a key component of our ability to learn new things. This can happen naturally in the [physical] classroom, but it doesn’t always happen so easily in an online class... online students are typically isolated, sitting alone behind a computer screen, engaging with class content by themselves.
Jennifer Davidson facilitates learning in the zone of proximal development with her Yellowdig activities. As students share the connections between the course content and the world around them, they are helping each other make connections that they may not have made without assistance.
- Video -- Yellowdig
- Yellowdig Guide – Creating Groups
- Yellowdig Guide – Create and Require Topics for Posts
- Yellowdig Guide – Gradebook Passback Function and Additional Gradebook Passback information
- A note on accessing Yellowdig – Yellowdig is a paid platform. During spring 2021, the application was available to all University of Nebraska-Lincoln instructors. Some colleges, such as the College of Business, consistently pay for access to Yellowdig for all instructors. Other colleges and entities sometimes pay for access for their instructors, depending on their budgets. When Yellowdig Engage is available for use in your college/department, it can be enabled by going to your course > settings (left menu) > Navigation (tab) > and enabling Yellowdig Engage in the course navigation.
Darby, F., & Lang, J. M. (2019). Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, Jossey-Bass.