Interview with Professor Sunil Wattal of Temple University.
Professor Sunil Wattal teaches Management Information Systems at Temple University. His research specializations include Social Media in Organizations, Social Media in Politics, Crowdfunding marketplaces, Human Capital and IT Innovation, as well as the Business value of IT.
On his experiences with Yellowdig:
I’ve been using Yellowdig for 3 years or so. I use it every semester for my courses. Initially, I tried to use it as a classroom management system like Blackboard, so I tried to replace Blackboard and did everything on Yellowdig. I tried that for a few semesters, but that didn’t really work. So the last two or three times that I taught the courses, I used it in conjunction with Blackboard, so I use Blackboard to put all the structured content. And then I [had] a Yellowdig page, which is non-structured content where the content is created by the students themselves. So it’s kind of a supplementary discussion outside of the class. We talk about the concepts in the class and I try to guide the remaining conversation on Yellowdig by posting a few questions on some interesting topics that came about, but we didn’t have time to discuss them in the class. And then the students comment on those, add their opinions and thoughts on those topics. I also encourage them to [post] their own [content]. If they come across any interesting news articles or any reports related to what we’ve discussed in class, then they also create their own content by posting it on Yellowdig.
On future engagement:
There are two aspects on how things can change in the future. As it is now, I think I used pretty much everything that the system has to offer, starting from the point system to the content posted. And I used the grade book as well. In terms of the technology, I pretty much use everything that the technology has to offer.
And the other part is the process of using [Yellowdig]. [I] intend students to use [Yellowdig] in a certain way, but then [I] find that they use it in different ways so [I] learn from that experience and try to channel the student participation in a more meaningful way. That’s something that I’m still learning as I have been using the system. Every time I try something new with the system and I try and see how students react to that.
On the students:
[I] notice a lot of students who don’t talk at all in the class-- a lot of them are actually prolific users of Yellowdig, so that’s good to know. Of course, there are students who try to optimize their grades and so they talk a lot in class and post on Yellowdig as well. But then again, there are students who don’t participate much in class, but they are actually heavy participants on Yellowdig. I don’t know whether they do it because they feel more comfortable with using Yellowdig than talking in the class.