Higher education accreditors like WASC Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC) and The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) require colleges and universities to demonstrate regular and substantive interaction (RSI) between instructors and students in order to maintain accreditation. This becomes even more important when it comes to online courses where face-to-face engagement is limited.
So, what is “regular and substantive interaction” you ask? We’ve got an answer for you. Regular and substantive interaction can be defined as:
- Interaction that must be initiated and guided by the instructor
- Interaction that must occur frequently throughout the course
- Interaction that must be academic and meaningful in nature
- Interaction that must come from qualified instructors who meet accreditor standards
Now I know what you’re probably thinking “okay so what? Simply posting an assignment and having students respond online fulfills these requirements”. However, that is not the case, in order to retain RSI accreditation, there must be true engagement between instructors and students complete with discussion and robust feedback. Regularly delivering personalized, meaningful feedback to an entire course is often difficult for an instructor to maintain. It can be challenging to know where to even start, and even more challenging to keep up. Instructors often don’t even know what type of feedback they should be giving, and if they do, time constraints often limit their ability to keep up with the feedback and interaction.
That is where Packback can be incredibly helpful. Packback’s Instructional AI in both Packback Questions and Deep Dives allows instructors to facilitate and scale consistent, pedagogically sound discussions and interactions between themselves and students.
How Packback Questions Facilitates Interaction
Our flagship solution, Packback Questions, is an online discussion platform that leverages Instructional AI to teach students how to ask open ended questions, grow their writing and communication skills, and help focus an instructors limited time on identifying the target of their feedback and helping scale the delivery of personalized feedback. Some of the features of Packback Questions that promote interaction are:
- Feedback on Student Discussion: Instructors have access to a tool that allows them to privately coach or publicly praise student contributions. The benefit of a public praise option is that all students in the community can see the feedback & learn from the exemplar student behavior.
- Moderation: Instructors can maintain standards by unpublishing poor posts while providing feedback to students on why their post didn’t meet expectations. From there, students are given the opportunity to edit and resubmit their post for full credit. Packback ensures students are able to learn from their mistakes without failing.
- Match & Message: Instructors can use our Match & Message tool to identify a group of students based on criteria – for example “student hasn’t yet engaged in the discussion” – and then send personalized messages to multiple students who meet this criteria, allowing them to provide feedback at scale.
- Poll: Instructors can use features like Homework Polls to gauge their students’ understanding of the course material or use it as a pulse check. The beauty of Homework Polls, unlike traditional polls, is that students must justify their response with a written explanation. This student action gives instructors insight into the student thought process, thus providing another opportunity to provide personalized custom feedback.
- Insights Dashboard: Packback provides Instructors with a data dashboard, giving instructors clear cut data on student performance and helps them understand which students may need further interaction – whether it’s constructive coaching or some well-deserved praise.
How Packback Deep Dives Can Fulfill RSI Requirements
Deep Dives, Packback’s long-form writing platform, leverages Instructional AI to give instant feedback to help students build a foundation of strong writing and research skills. Similar to Packback Questions, Deep Dives allows teachers to give robust 1:1 feedback at scale. Here are a few ways that Deep Dives supports RSI requirements:
- Overall Feedback: The AI-grading assistant takes the role of a “writing tutor” during the writing process, giving students grammar and mechanics feedback, allowing the instructor to put down the red pen during the grading process and instead give more robust feedback on a student’s content and understanding of the course material. This represents “substantive” in the RSI equation
- Line-by-Line Comments: Instructors have a tool to provide detailed annotations to point out strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, allowing the student to use this feedback to incorporate in future writing assignments
- Grading Rubrics: Instructors can create custom rubrics for each assignment to help ensure the AI-grading assistant and subsequent feedback is aligned with the rubric’s guidelines
- Coming Soon: Giving instructors a “two dimensional” view into the assignment, allowing them to see – and give feedback – on the entire process of writingInteractive voice, video, and screen recording feedback features
While Packback automates some interaction through weekly summary emails and reminders, the core, personalized interactions are initiated directly by accredited instructors in a subject-relevant way. In fact, accredited instructors are actually able to provide personalized feedback and interactions due to Packback’s ability to automate much of the administrative tedium that comes with assigning and grading assessments.
Onboarding for Accreditation Best Practices
By adopting Packback, institutions enable instructors to frequently interact with students through substantive discussions, robust feedback, and guidance to promote academic growth. In fact, in our recent whitepaper, How Academia is Adapting to Generative AI, explores the evolving landscape of how academia is adapting to AI-driven educational tools, shedding light on the ethical and responsible implementation of such technologies in the classroom.
Furthermore, Packback’s team of Customer Success Managers help instructors get their courses customized and set-up while providing them with best practices for regular and substantive interaction.
Dedicated curriculum consultants coach instructors on leveraging Packback tools to meet accreditation standards.
Packback for Next Generation Interaction
Given the virtual nature of much of education today, it’s incredibly important to be able to demonstrate and foster meaningful and substantive interaction between students and instructors. Packback stands alone by providing the tools for instructors to go far beyond just “present and respond” engagement. Packback enables instructors to communicate and interact with their students at scale, creating a more enriching and efficient learning experience for both students and educators.