Case Studies

Dr. Kathleen West

Inspiring Students with Online Discussion

“[Learning] opens your mind to all kinds of new things, but you can’t learn effectively if you don’t have the right tools. On the flip side, you can learn better if you have better tools. That’s what I am always looking for as a professor.”

Over head view of students sitting in a lecture facing away from the camera
Dr. Stephanie Tikkanen

Using Packback in Large Lectures

“Teaching a large lecture class can be daunting. It’s a challenge to reframe the way one teaches, particularly when (like me) a professor is accustomed to engaging students through in-class discussion. Without Packback, I would have felt terribly disconnected from all of the students in this course; Packback enabled me to have one-on-one interactions with students I honestly probably couldn’t pick out of the crowd otherwise.”

Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter

Engaging Students with Technology

“Prior to using Packback, I put on some Oscar-worthy performances. It was a lot more probing and prompting on my end, but with Packback, I feel the prompts are already there. And, it’s not me asking the questions. They’re asking the questions and I think that also makes a difference because it’s not coming from someone who has a Ph.D., who is standing in front of a class lecturing. These are their thoughts, the questions that they have.”

Woman arriving to a class with people seated around her holding a book in her arms with a backpack.
Dr. Matt Goren

How Different Discussion Methods Affect Student Engagement

“With Packback, the amount of TA time that is required is extremely minimal. It’s like a grand total of five hours of grading work over the entire semester versus, grading discussion posts or grading one of those reaction papers. It doesn’t even compare.”

Students looking to the right in a lecture facing the camera
Dr. Stacey Combes

Engaging Students in Large Lectures Through Discussion

“I really like teaching Animal Behavior, but we don’t have much we can do with 400 students. Using Packback is about making them curious and thinking about the material [and] it seems to me, looking at their questions, they really got into it. They were really asking things they were curious about.”

Students in the back row of a lecture facing away from the camera.
Dr. Mark Reisinger

Creating an Inclusive Classroom

“Packback has been an amazing addition to my courses in lots of ways. My goal is really to get my students to think critically, to ask the big questions, not to just accept what the textbook says [or] what I say. They need to take all the evidence and make their own perspectives. Employers are looking for people who can think critically, analytically, ask questions, raise concerns, raise issues. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Over the shoulder shot of someone holding a pen and writing on a paper filled with charts with a coffee cup in the distance
Dr. Jennifer Summers

Preparing Students for Future Careers

“When I see my students in front of me, I think of their future clients. These are graduate students who are going to enter our profession. We train them to think in a way that is all-encompassing so they’re able to see the bigger picture. We give them knowledge, but critical thinking with transformable learning is our main objective.”