Webinar Highlights: Instructor Experiences Using Packback in Face-to-Face Versus Online Classes

On April 27th, Dr. Kathleen West, assistant professor of psychology at Winthrop University, and Dr. Carlos Olivo, assistant teaching professor of chemistry at Colorado State University, joined Packback to compare their experiences using Packback and to share how instructors can use the AI-powered discussion platform to stay prepared in times of uncertainty.

Watch the following clips to hear:

  • Dr. Olivo and Dr. West’s stories about using Packback in face-to-face versus online classes
  • How Packback can support deeper engagement through asynchronous discussion in any class, regardless of delivery medium

1. Using Packback in face-to-face versus online courses

Dr. West began using Packback in face-to-face courses and continued once she transitioned to online. Dr. Olivo started using Packback online during COVID-19 and plans to continue using Packback in face-to-face courses this fall. In this section of the webinar, they discuss the role of Packback in different teaching mediums.

“What do you see as the role of Packback in face-to-face and online courses?”

Dr. West: “I use Packback for what I call ‘discipline-specific communication.’ I want my students to learn how to explain what they know.

Dr. Olivo: “For students who are shy or hesitant to answer, Packback is a safe space to voice their thoughts.

💻 Are you currently unsure of whether you will be teaching face-to-face or online courses in the fall? Schedule a session with a Packback consultant to discuss how Packback can help.

2. Using Packback in large versus small courses

Dr. West has taught courses of anywhere from 20 to 300 students on Packback. Dr. Olivo uses Packback in his small introductory and honors level courses, with anywhere from 18 to 40 students. During this portion, Dr. Olivo and Dr. West compare how they use Packback according to the varying demands of teaching large vs small courses.

“How does Packback behave differently in different size courses? How do you manage those differences?”

Dr. West: “On Packback, I divide my really large courses into small subsections. It’s not as overwhelming to the student.”

Dr. Olivo: “In small classes, the expectations are higher.”

3. Using Packback in any course, regardless of discipline

For Dr. West, using Packback in her psychology courses pushes students to make well-developed and unique arguments. For Dr. Olivo, Packback allows his chemistry students to understand how science applies to everyday life. In this section, Dr. Olivo and Dr. West share their experiences using Packback to teach students across two very different disciplines.

“How do you make Packback work in dramatically different disciplines?”

Dr. Olivo: “We want our students to be able to see the application of the sciences into real world problems.”



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