Product Feature: Section Small Groups

Packback has researched many ways of helping big classes feel more personal. Thanks to feedback from instructor users about the desire for more flexibility in subdividing communities, Packback developed Section Small Groups which allows students to participate with the entire class or filter their experience on Packback to only include students from their own section.

Instructors can set up sections for their community, which allows students to view posts by other students in their own “Section” or view posts by all students in the “Full Course”. 

How to View Sections on Packback

Any member of a community that contains sections will see a dropdown at the top of the Curiosity Feed and beneath each question directly above where responses appear called, “Section”. Opening this dropdown will reveal a menu of options which include each of the section options and an option to view the “Full Class”.

When a student or professor selects any section option, it will show only posts made by students who belong to that section.

How to configure Section Small Groups

Instructors can filter the grade book report by “Section”, allowing instructors to download an individual report for each “Section” to simplify the process of uploading grades into the grade book.

Instructors can work with their Experience Manager to configure the available “Sections” to ensure the best possible viewing and grading experience. “Sections” can be set up to directly mirror the real class sections or can be customized to group students in other ways (by team name, by project, etc.).

Assigning students into Sections Small Groups

Instructors can sub-divide and group their communities in any way that works for their class.

Instead of auto-assigning students into groups (like Packback used to do with the old Clusters feature), students can select their own section. To help students select the right section or group, instructors will need to communicate to the students via an email or an in-class announcement of what section they should select on Packback.

How instructor and TA posts interact with Section Small Groups

If instructors or TAs make a post (pinned or not), their posts will appear in ALL “Section” views as well as the “Full Class” view. However, if an instructor or TA intentionally joins a section, their posts will be filtered into just that “Section” view. This design gives instructors a number of different ways to subdivide their communities, including cases where an instructor wants each TA to only engage with a certain section of students. 

Create an intimate learning experience with Section Small Groups

Packback’s goal is to create a critical discussion environment that inspires intrinsic curiosity in the students who use the platform, no matter how large or small the course. The Section Small Groups feature puts control into the hands of the instructor based on course size and goals.

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