Posts by Jess Gervais

What’s Going on at Packback: January 2019

We’re only a month into the new year, but Packback has already achieved some major milestones in 2019! We’ve moved to a new space, doubled our sales team and added a new round of capital which will be used to continue our mission of fueling lifelong curiosity. Plus, we have a lot of exciting goals for the rest of the year including growing our team, improving our platform and supporting our professors with research.

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An Introduction to Packback with Dr. Kathleen West

Packback was joined by Dr. Kathleen West from the University of North Carolina Charlotte to discuss how she uses Packback to improve student critical thinking and writing. She also shares key learnings from her research comparing how different discussion methods impacted student participation and written test exams. This research was presented at NITOP 2019.

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Packback Webinar: Using Technology to Improve Critical Thinking and Engagement

Packback CEO Mike Shannon was joined by Dr. Kathleen West of UNC Charlotte and Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter of Michigan State University. These two psychology professors shared how they’re using technology and positive reinforcement to improve students’ critical thinking skills, engagement and written communication.

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Inspiring Students with Online Discussion

How online discussions helped students understand the importance of class concepts, build connections and improve their writing on exams.

Throughout 12 years of teaching at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Dr. Kathleen West noticed a growing trend among her students. Students who don’t understand why they need to learn about a topic often express a lack of interest in the course and become disengaged. And it wasn’t just in her classes. As the lead academic advisor in the psychology department, Dr. West heard this concern from colleagues who also struggled to keep their students engaged.

“I think students have always worked this way, but there is a huge trend toward verbalizing it nowadays, that they don’t want to learn it if they don’t understand why they need it” explains Dr. West. “ That’s a big challenge for some of our heavy content disciplines because, you’ll get there eventually, in your higher up classes, but there is X amount of material that [students have] to learn first or that connection piece just isn’t going to make sense. Where I struggle as a professor and I know others do too, is how can we have that [connection] happen at this lower level so that they hang with us and get to that higher level content where it’s really going to make sense to them?”

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