The Packback Blog

CEO Mike Shannon at the ASU GSV Summit

“We are reversing education’s fast-answer epidemic, reviving the life skill of asking great questions by awakening and fueling lifelong curiosity, no matter the scale.”

Listen to our co-founder and CEO Mike Shannon discuss the mission of Packback at the ASU/GSV conference.

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Case Study: Engaging Students in Large Lectures

Case Study showing how a Harvard Professor brought intimate discussion and student engagement to a large introductory course at the University of California, Davis through the use of Packback for online discussion.

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Student-Driven Discussions with Packback

At Packback, we believe that when students are given an opportunity to be curious and ask the big questions, they’ll be equipped with skills to become future innovators. Packback encourages students to explore classroom materials in a new and interesting way, which makes students more willing to engage and apply their learnings.

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Case Study: Improving Critical Thinking Through Online Discussion

Case Study about how graduate Professor Jennifer Summers at Grand Valley State University uses Packback to prepare students for their careers in Occupational Therapy. 

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How to Post a Quality Response on Packback

A question starts a conversation, but a response fuels an engaging discussion where students can learn through interaction and debate. Just like asking great questions, formulating an engaging response takes practice and can be improved by using structure. After understanding the Community Guidelines and how to ask a quality question, check out this breakdown of an 82-point response on Packback to learn the key components of a great response and how to earn a high Curiosity Score.

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Exploring Packback: General Microbiology Students Discuss Vaccines

General Microbiology students at the University of Illinois at Chicago are focused on applying information from lectures and outside research to real-world scenarios. Each week the class uses Packback to share and discuss hot topics in science. One of the most active discussions explored how vaccines are perceived, their effectiveness and why some people distrust vaccines.          

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Video: The Importance of Feedback in Online Discussions

Dr. Paivi Hoikkala of California Polytechnic State University, Pomona explains why giving students feedback on their online discussions is important, especially for an online class.

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How to Ask Quality Questions on Packback

Asking questions is an important skill that can be improved with practice and by understanding what makes a quality question. Start by reading our Community Guidelines, which explains how open-ended questions facilitate thought-provoking discussions. Next, get familiar with our Curiosity Score to understand how Packback scores questions based on presentation, credibility and effort. After a read-through of the basics, check out our breakdown of a 94-point question to learn the key components of a great question and how to earn a high Curiosity Score!

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Tips on Identifying a Credible Source

Students post thousands of questions with sources every week on Packback. Not only do the sources strengthen arguments, but they also serve as a fact-checking tool and provide context for rich conversations. Unfortunately, not all sources are reliable and using an inaccurate source can undermine any argument. So what makes a source credible?

Students often hear advice like “Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source” and “stay away from blogs”, but what about the endless articles and research papers that are only a Google search away? Here are a few tips to help find a source that will add value to any discussion.

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