Faculty Spotlight

Picture of Dr. Angela Montague

Implementing Packback in 5 Minutes or Less


Dr. Angela Montague shares how she able to implement Packback into her course in less than 5 minutes.

One thing I absolutely love about Packback is how easy it is to set up. Packback has some great Experience Managers and often times they will set up a class for me. ”


Listen to Instructor’s Thoughts on Common Questions about Packback


Case Studies: Curious to hear how instructors are using Packback to save time and challenge their students to think critically?

How Packback is Different than LMS Discussion

Dr. Matt Goren found that scaling discussion in a personal finance class from 20 to 2,000 students wasn’t feasible with LMS discussion. “At an enrollment of 2,200 students, just checking the weekly student submissions took 180 hours over the course of the semester.
“When we went to 2,200 students a year, we had two TAs,” says Dr. Goren. “Reaching all those people was a challenge. Trying to give somewhat personal feedback was a challenge. Assessing the work that is being done and show[ing] that people are taking it seriously, that is really hard to do. So we had to figure out a way to use technology to integrate all these students”

“With Packback, the amount of TA time that is required is extremely minimal,” says Dr. Goren. “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.”

How Packback Encourages Students to Read and Prepare for Class

Dr. Bryan McCarthy, at the University of Pittsburg explains how students in his philosophy class became more engaged in class and with their readings after using Packback.
“There’s always going to be reading to do. There have been times where I say, ‘How many people read this?’ and two people out of 30 might have raised their hand,” explains Dr. McCarthy.

“Packback, I feel, encourages them better than online quizzes, better than little homework assignments or better than just calling on them in class,” says Dr. McCarthy. “A lot of them come in already understanding some of the basics and you start to fill in the gaps…  I would say I have more hands go up per class than probably ever before.” 

How Packback Helps Student’s Make Connections to Their Lives

Dr. Paivi Hoikkala teaches upper-level online history courses at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona. Her primary goal, aside from getting her students to have a general sense of chronology, is to help them make connections between the past and the present. “One of the main things I want students to get from the class is for them to have an enthusiasm for the past and understand that the past explains the present,” explains Dr. Hoikkala.

“This semester I am really seeing a difference. I think I see much more profound thinking on Packback than I do on the Blackboard,” says Dr. Hoikkala. “If you look at some of my [student’s] Featured posts, you’ll see that some of them have five, six even seven paragraphs of very thoughtful discussion.” 

How Packback Impacted Student Final Grades

Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter at Michigan State University focuses on connecting with a digital generation of students. “I know that students are going to use technology in the classroom, whether it’s Facebooking [or] online shopping while the instructor is giving the lecture, it happens. So, I asked myself, ‘What can I do to get them using technology in a more engaging way so that I could minimize them getting off track?’”

“In the classes that I taught last academic year, the class average between those two classes compared to the previous time I taught these classes, was a full letter grade increase on average,” explains Dr. Anderson-Carpenter… It was to the point that I thought, ‘Am I making this class to easy?’ But then, after going back through the Packback questions I realized, no, the rigor is the same, it’s just that having this additional tool to promote student engagement and for them to see how all these pieces come together, they’re really learning this stuff.”

Want to see a live Packback community and learn how you can increase student engagement and critical thinking in your course?