From Students to Practitioners

Photo of Dr. Michael Smith

Dr. Michael Smith shares how he gets his students to see themselves as practitioners within their field

Dr. Michael Smith teaches a senior-level elective called Reproductive Management. He wants students to leave his class, understanding how what they’re learning applies to their future careers within the discipline. Dr. Smith uses Packback to help students make connections between course content and their field by asking questions and applying their knowledge.


University of Missouri


Animal Sciences


Reproductive Management


17 Students

“One of the things that I try to do in my course is help a student transition from thinking of themselves as simply a student taking a course [to] someone who thinks of themselves as an actual practitioner for the discipline. [I do this] by getting them to make connections between what we’re talking about in a lecture and other aspects of the field that we’re discussing… I found that Packback is a really excellent way to get students to formulate questions about the materials. And also answer the questions of their peers. And by having to come up with a question, it enables these students to engage the material at a deeper level. It makes them think through what do they know? What do they not know? Or, what do we actually know in the field, and what’s not known? And I feel that also by answering other people’s questions, that helps them make more connections between the subject matter and the discipline in terms of real life. Finally, it helps me, by reading some of the things that they post, it helps me understand what concepts they’re readily understanding and what concepts perhaps I need to discuss in a little more detail. So I’ve found it to be just a very user-friendly way to engage the students at a deeper level.”

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