Overview of Packback’s Platform

Packback is an AI-supported online discussion platform that enables curiosity-based student discussion.


Packback’s Automated Feedback System

Packback delivers a unique method of scaling feedback through the use of algorithmic coaching or AI.  Packback’s algorithms automate moderation of posts, empowering instructors to provide higher-level coaching. There are three tiers of feedback and review that can be provided to students on Packback.

Graphic depicting a Packback "robot", representing the backend algorithms that provide automated moderation.

Algorithmic Flagging

While writing, students receive real-time coaching feedback. After submitting a question or response, every post is automatically reviewed and “flagged” if there are violations of the community guidelines.

A Graphic showing the Packback logo, representing the second round of manual review that all "flagged" posts experience from our team.

Moderator Review

Each “flagged” post is then reviewed by our team. Moderators will “moderate” the post if they find the “flag” to be accurate. Students can then edit and republish their post based on the feedback they received.

A graphic depicting an apple, representing professors' ability to give feedback to students through Packback.

Professor Feedback

Since Packback’s system automates the vast majority of moderation, instructors can provide targeted “custom feedback” for things our algorithms cannot automate, helping them scale the impact of their time.

Save time. Give students the benefits of peer-to-peer discussion. Make discussion enjoyable again.

Simple graphic depicting four clocks, with shading to signify 3.75 hours

Without Packback’s algorithms, manually reviewing discussion would take almost 4 hours per week.

Approximately 60 hours of total work would be required to manually grade and review the average number of posts in a Packback community (7,000 posts), assuming 30 seconds per post. This is an impossible task when combined with the other demands on modern educators, and the reason why many of our instructors had previously given up on online discussion.

A simple clock graphic depicting four clocks, with shading to signify 15 minutes.

With Packback’s algorithms, instructors need to spend just 15 minutes per week engaging with the discussion.

15 minutes is the actual average time spent by professors each week using the Packback platform. Instead of manually reviewing posts, instructors spend that time engaging with students, selecting top questions to bring into class and providing higher-level “coaching” feedback to students. Multiple studies have shown that the quality of discussion on Packback is higher than LMS discussions.

Highlighted Features

Algorithmic Moderation

Packback automatically reviews posts for plagiarism, closed-endedness, profanity, low effort, shallow sentence depth and more.

Custom Feedback

Instructors can give public praise to individual students to help the class develop pattern recognition for how great discussion posts look!

Instant Quality Rating

Packback instantly rates each post with a Curiosity Score, giving students gentle, reinforcing feedback on the effort and quality of their posts.

“Smart” Feed Sorting

Students, instructors and TAs are provided with different “Feed IQ” sorting options to help them see the most relevant, challenging and interesting posts!

Real-time Coaching

While students type, they receive real-time feedback just beneath the text boxes where they type, guiding them to write effective posts.

Counter & Supporting Points

Students may reply to any response using our “Critical Debates” feature using a Counterpoint or Supporting point to create constructive academic debates.

Post Recommendations

Weekly, instructors are sent an email containing recommended top posts, which they can choose to “Feature”. These featured posts are sent to students in a weekly digest email!

Professor Tools

Instructors are provided with a suite of tools to help make the management of the discussion simple, including automated participation tracking, roster management and more.


Accessibility, support, security and reliability are core features of the Packback experience

7-day-per-week Customer Support

Packback’s carefully trained support team has an average response time of fewer than 4 hours
(which includes nights and weekends!) with a student satisfaction rate of 90%. Our Product Support team works directly with our Engineering team to prioritize improvements to the platform.

Reliable technology and a 24/7 on-call Engineering team

Packback’s platform maintained an average uptime of more than 99.9% over the Fall 2018 semester. Our Engineering staff maintains a 7-day on-call rotation to ensure full coverage for review and remediation of critical platform problems.

Accessibility is a top priority (we adhere to the AA level of the WCAG)

Packback makes accessibility a top priority in every feature we build. Packback is a mobile responsive application that is accessible on all major browsers and conforms to AA standards of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

FERPA Compliant and PCI Compliant

Packback’s platform is FERPA Compliant, enforces privacy by design (collecting as little information as possible from students) and adheres to all data-security standards within FERPA. Data on Packback is stored in Google Cloud high-availability servers, and all payment information is handled directly via a PCI compliant payment processor, Braintree. 

User-friendly platform that takes just a few minutes to learn

The singular goal of Packback’s design team is to deliver the greatest impact on student learning outcomes with the easiest-to-use platform possible. The entire process of setting up Packback for a class can be done in just a few minutes. 


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!