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2016-08-08 Print

Northwestern and Yellowdig Form Innovation Partnership

Software Development Partnership betweeen Yellowdig and Northwestern University.


Yellowdig, a SaaS provider of leading social learning software, today announced it has signed a 3 year Innovation Partnership with Northwestern University.

Yellowdig and Northwestern will be working collaboratively to provide innovative Natural Language Processing for discussion analysis and new social network data visualization approaches to enhance learning and teaching, faculty-to-student interaction, and peer-to-peer knowledge communities.
"This is an important milestone for Yellowdig. This strategic partnership with a world renowned University will be the springboard for us to build the next generational learning platform that is deeply rooted in data science and pedagogy”, says Shaunak Roy, Founder & CEO, Yellowdig.

Northwestern piloted the Yellowdig Learning App during the 2015-2016 academic year. During the year, more than 100 courses/learning communities comprising of over 2500 professors and students from across the university have used Yellowdig, who collectively have shared more than 8,300 learning stories and 26,000 comments & votes on the platform. The pilot was initially part of a Digital / Online Grant awarded to Medill Assistant Professor Dan Gruber who began using the tool for teaching in three of his classes before the campus-wide pilot began. “Having for the first time, student course level social interaction data, allows Northwestern to explore and experiment in new areas of teaching research, which ultimately will allow students to learn more and for faculty to be more effective in their teaching,” says Dr. Gruber.

“The work with Yellowdig is fostering experiments at Northwestern in hybrid courses that offer the best experiences of both worlds of brick-and-mortar classrooms with increased online engagement among our student learning communities. We’re encouraged by the work that is underway in improving student learning outcomes and in creating expanded opportunities for learning community development”, observed Bob Taylor, Northwestern IT’s Senior Director for academic and research technologies. “We’re pleased to see this relation deepen between Northwestern educators and developers with Yellowdig engineers.

“The work so far has focused on how to leverage both a network model (for discussion structure) and natural language processing (to surface discussion topics). “By working in close collaboration with insightful faculty and engaged students, we are accruing direct insight into how to use discussion network analysis for learning and what data visualizations are most useful for class discussion and why,” says Bill Parod, Software Architect in Academic & Research Technologies, Northwestern Information Technology. An online poster describing this collaboration and the “Yellowdig Viz” app is available here:

Collaborations, such as this with faculty, students, staff, and Yellowdig encourage campus discussion and involvement with the opportunities learning analytics and visualization offer. To broadcast the availability of these tools and make their use in courses easy, Northwestern has also created a Learning App “store” where Northwestern faculty can peruse Northwestern apps and select them into their courses with a single click. “Yellowdig Viz” is prominent among the inaugural set of learning apps offered there. Site:

“We very much appreciate our collaboration with Yellowdig and look forward to that collaboration widening to include other Yellowdig schools, as the community evolves common practices and architectures for leveraging learning data, especially when provided by engaging learning tools such as Yellowdig. “ - Parod

For more information, please contact Dan Gruber or Bill Parod, or visit the articles below which also describe this work.
Blog post: Three things you need to know about Yellowdig
Digital Learning | Learning Analytics | Innovations at Northwestern\

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Phone: 919-539-9206