Looking to boost students’ capabilities and engagement in the classroom?

Packback, whose inquiry-based online discussion platform is used at hundreds of colleges around the country launched Packback Instruct, a new set of tools designed to help faculty members increase engagement and improve student success. Packback Instruct, which is available now, includes a poll feature, improved searching and matching tools, and sophisticated data dashboards designed to help instructors scale personalized feedback to all students.

“There is no other software that provides so much while also improving student writing and participation,” said Ayana Jamieson, Ph.D., a professor at California State University Polytechnic, Pomona in a news release. “Packback Instruct encourages students at every level (first year, transfer students, and students nearer to graduation) to think critically and engage with both their assigned readings and their peers in meaningful ways, which is especially important for remote and hybrid learning environments.”

Using AI

Rooted in the well-known cognitive framework Bloom’s Taxonomy, Packback’s approach uses artificial intelligence to support student motivation, engagement, and community through inquiry-based discussion. The tools in Packback Instruct, designed to elevate class discussions to higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (e.g., “evaluate” and “analyze”), include built-in polls to inform instruction in real-time; improved search functions to help instructors identify students based on their engagement in discussion; and more detailed data reporting to enable faculty members to provide more personalized and specific feedback.

“A body of research shows that class discussion is the foundation of a fulfilling learning experience,” said Jessica Tenuta, co-founder, and chief product officer at Packback in the news release. “At a time when remote and hybrid learning has become the norm for thousands of students across the country, we’re putting more power in the hands of instructors to improve online discussions and, in turn, help more students engage and persist in their education.”

Backed by entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Packback uses proprietary AI and machine learning technology to provide inquiry-based online discussion to over 3,500 instructors and over 900,000 students, who have posted 22 million questions and responses to date. A recent study conducted in partnership with 10 higher education institutions indicates that students in classes that use Packback received more A, B, C grades and fewer D, F, W’s than the control group, and also cited sources approximately 2.5 times as often as students in the control group.

Source: Packback