Posts by Jess Gervais

CEO Mike Shannon at the ASU GSV Summit

“We are reversing education’s fast-answer epidemic, reviving the life skill of asking great questions by awakening and fueling lifelong curiosity, no matter the scale.”

Listen to our co-founder and CEO Mike Shannon discuss the mission of Packback at the ASU/GSV conference.

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Video of Packback Questions

Packback Questions is a smart discussion platform that exists to awaken and fuel the lifelong curiosity in every student. Learn how Packback helps professors increase curiosity, engagement and critical thinking in students.

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Engaging Students in Large Lectures

How a Harvard Professor brought intimate discussion and student engagement to a large introductory course at the University of California, Davis. 

After teaching at Harvard University for seven years, Dr. Stacey Combes was excited to pursue tenure at the University of California, Davis. But transferring to UC-Davis meant trading intimate, discussion-driven classes for amphitheaters filled with hundreds of non-majors. Even with years of teaching experience and a number of prestigious awards for teaching undergraduates, Dr. Combes knew that connecting with more than 400 students and keeping the class engaged would be a challenge. Especially since this was her first time teaching Animal Behavior.

“I was really just trying to scramble and figure out what to do and to talk to colleagues to get advice,” says Dr. Combes. “I had a bunch of colleagues who teach [Animal Behavior] give me their lecture notes. A lot of the older professors who have more experience in the topic, their lectures would just be a picture and three words and I am like, ‘What am I supposed to say? What book do I use? What do I cover in this course?’”  

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Student-Driven Discussions with Packback

We are stuck in a fast-answer epidemic. Students have practiced finding the quickest solution, instead of learning how to internalize information and participating in thought-provoking discussions. At Packback, we believe that when students are given an opportunity to be curious and ask the big questions, they’ll be equipped with skills to become future innovators. Packback encourages students to explore classroom materials in a new and interesting way, which makes students more willing to engage and apply their learnings.

What Is Packback?

Packback Questions is a tool used to supplement a professor’s teaching style and help achieve learning objectives such as increased engagement and critical thinking. Packback facilitates online discussion and uses Artificial Intelligence to help professors provide individual coaching, moderate and grade discussions and motivate students throughout the term.

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