Category Case Studies

Creating an Inclusive Classroom with Packback

How a student-focused professor engages and connects with 150+ students in a single lecture.

Every Monday morning, Dr. Mark Reisinger enters his office at Binghamton University and prepares for his week. He answers student emails, uploads grades and prepares for his next geography class. But when the prep work is done, he leaves his office and chats with students. As a Collegiate Professor, Dr. Reisinger spends half of his time outside of the classroom building relationships, advising and teaching students that learning doesn’t just happen in the lecture hall.

Dr. Reisinger became a Collegiate Professor in 2010 and has mentored hundreds of students. His close relationship with students has allowed him to apply student feedback and experiment with different classroom techniques throughout his tenure.

“I am not the faculty member who stands up in front of the class and lectures,” says Dr. Reisinger. “I am the professor who is constantly moving around the classroom, lecturing and questioning students to keep them engaged.”

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Discovering New Ideas on Packback Questions

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

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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Improving Critical Thinking Through Online Discussion

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.”

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How Packback Questions Measures up to Other Discussion Platforms

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.
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