An Innovative Use for Fueling Discussion with Packback

Photo of Dr. Sandra Duke

Dr. Sandra Duke shares her innovate use of Packback to promote peer interaction and in-class discussions

Dr. Sandra Duke broke her Family Policy course into three five-week sections, each with a different focus. Every five weeks, Dr. Duke uses Packback differently to supplement what the class is working on. For the first five weeks, students post questions about news articles related to family policy and respond to two of their peers’ questions. For the second five weeks, Dr. Duke places students into groups, assigns a topic, and requires students to post questions and articles related to that topic. In the last five weeks, the groups present on their subject, and Packback provides a place for students outside of the group to discuss what they learned in the presentations.


Texas State University


Family and Consumer Sciences


Family Policy


43 Students

“I’m teaching a Family Policy class, two sections of the Family Policy class that we’re using Packback in, and we use it for their out of class discussions. So they start the semester looking for newspaper articles [with issues that are impacting families]. So I divide the class up, I give them assignments, and there’s about ten a week that post articles, and then everybody responses to all those ten articles through the week… We did that for the first five weeks. And then these middle five weeks…they’re using their Packback a little differently… They self-select into their group on Packback, and then they’re using that Packback tool to continue to gather articles that are just pertaining to their topic… Then at the end of this period, we’ll have about 2 to 3 weeks that they’ll be giving presentations on their topics. During that time we’ll open Packback back up to the full class. The groups that are presenting will post prior to their presentation, like a day or so before their presentation, they’ll post an article related to their topic, just to give the students an opportunity to start thinking about the topic… And then after the presentations, we’ll have an in-class discussion. So they’ll be encouraged to discuss it on Packback, but then also, we’ll bring that, a deeper discussion into the classroom, and I’ll use their classroom discussions to facilitate those discussions.”

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