Course Outcomes & Instructor Feedback

The impacts of using Packback on course objectives

Instructors have shown that Packback can help achieve improvements to student learning metrics (participation and writing quality), make management of large courses easier and provide a greater sense of connection to their students. Read the following research studies and case studies to learn more.

Featured Research Study: Evaluating the impact of Packback usage on student writing skills and participation

Study Author: Dr. Kathleen West, Psychology Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Study Description

This study explored different teaching strategies, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) technology to improve teaching feedback and student performance.

Summary of Study Findings

Dr. Kathleen West found a statistically significant impact on students’ writing skills who had used the Packback platform for discussion versus a control writing assignment. Additionally, Dr. West discovered that students using Packback demonstrated statistically significantly higher levels of participation throughout the semester when compared LMS discussion (Canvas). 

Study Method

  • All students were taught 100% online and were given the same common course content (ex. online lectures, quizzes, etc.).
  • Duration: 14 weeks
  • This study compared three different writing/teaching methods:
    • Group 1: Used Packback for online discussion
    • Group 2: Used LMS for online discussion
    • Group 3: Completed an independent writing assignment responding to model questions without peer interaction

Case Study: Using Packback in Large Lectures

Course Details

  • Instructor: Dr. Stephanie Tikkanen
  • Subject: communications
  • Course size: 388 students

Case Study Key Takeaway

“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. Packback’s administrative tools made managing participation for a large number of students simple and quick. I am grateful for the ways it allowed me to interact with my students and for how it helped to foster their curiosity about the subject beyond the walls of our classroom.”

Case Study: Engaging Students with Technology

Course Details

  • Instructor: Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter
  • Subject: psychology
  • Course size: 89 – 238 students

Case Study Key Takeaway

“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. So in my opinion, it helps to facilitate the peer-to-peer learning.”

Case Study: How different discussion methods affect student engagement

Course Details

  • Instructor: Dr. Matt Goren
  • Subject: economics and finance
  • Course size: 900 students

Case Study Key Takeaway

“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.”

Case Study: Engaging students in large lectures through discussion

Course Details

  • Instructor: Dr. Stacey Combes
  • Subject: Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
  • Course size: 300-400 Students

Case Study Key Takeaway

“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.”