What’s new at Packback in Fall 2016

The start of 2016 has been an exciting time at the Packback office! Not only did we move into our own space and bring on several amazing new team members, but we also launched a brand new platform for our Curiosity Communities, Packback Questions!

The first 1.0 version of our platform, Packback Answers, helped us learn what students and professors needed from a platform that would support their curiosity, inspire them to ask big questions and make big classes feel smaller.

We took all of those learning and poured them into the design and features of our new 2.0 platform, Packback Questions. The new platform is specifically designed to make sure great discussions never get buried, make grading smoother and more flexible, and ensure that every class (whether 10 students or 1,000 students) has the same equally inspiring experience on Packback.

Take a peek inside of Packback Questions!

Simple, 1-Minute Registration Process

One of the biggest challenges we had with our 1.0 platform was with registration. It’s a challenge that most (if not all) EdTech companies face. Making sure that the right students end up in the right communities, and making sure that professors can grade those students properly when the time comes is no small feat!

But the revamped registration process on Packback Questions is truly a marvel. A student can create a new account on Packback, and join a Community in 1 minute, flat. And even better, of all of our classes that utilized the new registration process this summer, we saw fewer than 1% who had questions for our support staff about joining their community!

The quick look at the improvements:

  • Students who add to the class late only need to know the community Access Code to join
  • Simple 3-step process to create a brand new account on Packback Questions
  • Students can now real-time chat with Customer Support right in the app
  • It only takes 2-Clicks to join a community. Paste access code, and click “confirm” at checkout.
  • Less than 1% of students file a customer support request related to registration, versus 15% on Packback Answers

The new Welcome to Packback Tutorial

The first few weeks in a Packback Questions community set the tone of the rest of the semester. In those first few weeks, the goal is to get everyone using Packback to buy into the importance of asking great questions, learn the community guidelines, and start posting. No longer are those critical first moments on the platform left to chance; Packback Questions has a new tutorial that ensures that every community will get off to the best possible start!

Read more about the Welcome to Packback Tutorial here.

Improved Community Management Features

Our passionate Community Management team works tirelessly to maintain a safe, positive environment in all of the Packback Questions communities that is conducive to curiosity. Our Community Managers are able to keep all of the communities healthy through careful manual moderating and coaching around the Packback Community Guidelines. Our team is supported by Crowdsourced Flagging, where students and professors help “flag” offending posts in their own communities and augmented by Packback’s proprietary Community Health Algorithm which notifies our Community Managers of all posts that may not meet the Community Guidelines.

Learn more about our robust Community Management process here.

“Clusters” to create “small class” experiences in large classes

The Packback team has rolled out a new feature called Clusters to help give every student the same great experience even regardless of their class size. Large lecture halls of hundreds (or thousands!) of students can now guarantee that every student can have their voice heard and their questions answered. Clusters create a filtered main feed of questions for students in large classes that replicates the experience of a class of 50-100 students, which delivers the optimal question posting velocity for getting questions seen and answered, determined by our research team’s deep-dive analysis of the experiences of 12,000 students on Packback in 2015-2016.

Professor “Pins”,  Professor Posts, and Professor Privileges

To ensure that critical questions never get buried, Professors have the ability to “Pin” a question to the top of the main feed of their community. This is great for highlighting a weekly discussion question or important concept that deserves a deeper discussion.

To maximize the impact of a professor who takes the time to participate in the community, Packback highlights their posts with a “Professor Post” label. This ensures that students can quickly scan their community and see the posts where their professor has contributed their expertise.

While our Community Managers do an excellent job maintaining the health of Packback Questions’ communities, we understand that Professors know the content of their courses and sometimes want to guide the discussion or remove a question or response. Professors now have full Moderator privileges within their own Communities, allowing them to “flag”, edit, or delete posts on Packback Questions.

The Featured Tab for the best posts

In Packback Questions communities across the nation, thousands of questions are posted per week. That is a lot of questions flowing through the platform, which could make it easy to miss some of the best posts. The new Featured Tab places the best discussions in every community in their own easy-to-navigate tab, so they are always only one click away. When those great questions are seen, they inspire others to ask similar great questions and increase the number of responses that those great questions receive to drive deeper, richer discussions.

Learn more about the new Featured Tab here.

Expanded eTextbook offerings

Packback has partnered with VitalSource to offer the full national catalogs of the nation’s most popular publishers. We now offer titles from 214 publishers across all subjects. Students can rent 124,000 eTextbook titles through the Packback platform on an industry-leading mobile-responsive eReader that offers professor notes, shared highlights and more.

For those of us who prefer paper textbooks, Packback now offers 770,000 textbooks titles available for Price Comparison. Packback Price Comparison instantly compares prices from 7 of the web’s top online retailers to guarantee that students always find the lowest possible price on the books they need for class.

Request a Demo of the Packback Questions Platform

Curious to learn more? One of our friendly strategy consultants will be excited to meet you and discuss your course learning objectives. We will provide a free consultation to see if Packback would be a good fit for your class!

Request a Packback Demo