It was 9:05 a.m. and I was in my seat ready to start my final semester as a senior at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. I had my laptop out and was eager to learn what awaited me in Leadership Ethics. My teacher strode in, leaned back on one of the tables near the podium and stated, “Okay class, we’ll be using Packback this semester, so make sure to make an account by next week.” A quiet groan echoed through the classroom. ‘Another assignment we have to keep track of’, I thought, but I went ahead and got my account set up. No matter the program, every new assignment is met with skepticism, and Packback was no different. However, after having experienced it myself, I found myself whistling a different tune. Continue reading
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?’”
A Graduate Professor at Grand Valley State University uses Packback to prepare students for their careers.
In the Department of Occupational Science & Therapy at Grand Valley State University, students walked into the first day of class excited to learn. It’s the start of their 3-year journey of classroom instruction and clinicals to prepare for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam. But their instructor, Dr. Jennifer Summers, walked into the classroom with a bigger goal – to teach the importance of critical thinking and this semester she used Packback to help.
“When I see my students in front of me, I think of their future clients,” says Dr. Summers. “These are graduate students who are going to enter our profession. We train them to think in a way that is all-encompassing so they’re able to see the bigger picture. We give them knowledge, but critical thinking with transformable learning is our main objective.”
Brand Ambassador Jenna Baker shares about her experience with Packback Questions.
An essential feature of the Packback Questions platform is its interactive nature.
One main purpose of having students write discussion posts or ask questions is so they can grow and learn from one another in addition to classroom learning. Although this may be the common use of a discussion platform, many standard formats and website layouts do not actually provide a learning environment that is as conducive to that growth.
Brand Ambassador Beverly Paz shares about her experience with Packback Questions.
When attending larger schools, such as the University of Alabama, it is nearly impossible to avoid larger classes. Within two years, I have been in several lecture-based classes with a couple hundred classmates. The issue is that when the class is too big, the professor can become overwhelmed and there is no class time for interacting in small groups. How can students maximize their courses when no class time is set aside for practicing concepts, asking questions, critical thinking or interacting with other students?
While not completely ridding the educational system of non-engaging lectures, Packback does offer multiple features that begin to remedy the situation.