Meet Our Ambassador: Jenna Baker

Jenna is a Pre-Pharmacy senior at University of Illinois at Chicago. Her goal is to serve as an accessible healthcare provider that can make patients feel cared for to the best of her ability. She said if she could change anything in the world, it would be to break down the barriers and have different groups of people interact with peace and love. If every person in the world could make their interactions with one another reflect positive feeling, we could better work together to solve any other problems we currently face.

I live by the saying of Maya Angelou that reads: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ It is my passion to make people feel their very best, looked out for and taken care of with utmost love.

With the career objective in mind, she believes that higher level learning is essential in order to successfully be carried on to graduate school. She thinks that Packback has opened an influential learning community that encourages critical thinking skills. From her own experience, it breaks the stigma of conventional discussion boards and provides for true interactive learning and communication between students.

What are some of the most interesting things you have learned on Packback?

JB: My learning on Packback pertains mostly to real-life application. I love to learn how the content we are currently studying can actually be used. As a Pre-Pharmacy student, I gravitate towards questions that pertain to a clinical view on Microbiology, the course in which I am part of a Packback community for. However, by reading other students’ questions whose interests may be in other area of science, I have learned new topics that I may not have considered before. For example, I learned that we could theoretically start a whole new civilization on another planet if water was present there.

How has Packback challenged your critical thinking skills?

JB: Many questions on Packback require higher level thinking and application of learned material. Thus, there is no straightforward answer. In most cases, Packback questions require me to search outside of our textbook and lecture notes to find articles or websites that have explored the presented questions asked by other members.

How is Packback different than traditional online discussion boards?

JB: The “featured posts” tab as well as the formation of clusters with questions specifically “picked for me” are great features that differentiate Packback from other discussion boards.

Featured posts allow me to view what my professor hand picked as important and accurate information, and in many cases, it shows up on our exams!

Also, by having questions picked for me, I don’t get overwhelmed with a surplus of questions to read, making the work more manageable.

How do you feel about the cost and value you get from Packback Questions?

JB: Compared to the price of my textbook and online Mastering Microbiology homework, Packback was very inexpensive. In comparison to the $200 I had to spend on other technologies for this class, I was very happy with the price. Similarly, the value is priceless considering I explore great new topics, have my own questions answered and also get points for doing work on Packback and rewards when I get them right on the exam!

Jenna joined our Curiosity Ambassador program to introduce Packback to more UIC professors because she strongly believes that Packback makes it easy for students to interact rather than requiring them to find questions that interest them, or find important information, and at a low cost! If a class already has a discussion forum, Packback is a perfect substitute that will better suit the purpose of why professors would assign the assignment in the first place–greater student interaction! Also, if a professor doesn’t currently require discussion forums, seeing examples of how it has helped other classes and bridged students gaps in such large universities may change their mind.

Intending to carry on in UIC’s School of Pharmacy starting next year, Jenna is a determined to introduce this new learning method more and improve the higher education learning experience at UIC.

About the Packback Curiosity Ambassador Program:

Packback Curiosity Ambassador program is a new program launched in October 2016 for students who loved using Packback in their class and who wanted to help bring the experience to other students. 

They play a key role in helping shape the future of curiosity-driven education by spreading awareness of Packback and the need for a tool that supports critical thought. Their experience is evidence that it is possible to create a dynamic community of student learners and that the depth of students’ curiosity has been long underestimated.

Packback Curiosity Ambassadors share their stories of personal growth and the impact Packback has had on their education with other professors who would otherwise not yet have been familiar with Packback.