Packback is an inquiry-driven discussion platform that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to engage learners and provide instant feedback. Content is practitioner-provided.

What This Includes

Skills addressed: Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Speaking & Listening, Debate

Discussion platform

  • Instructors upload their own content at whatever level is best for their learners
  • Personalized discussion platform and a blend of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and instructor feedback to improve the rigor of learners’ critical thinking and communication skills
  • Integrates into any existing Learning Management (LM) system
  • Single sign-in for ease of use across learning platforms
  • Moderation of learners’ posts is automatic and instructors are notified of any discussion activity
  • Learners get personalized assessment emails to improve their communication skills on the next post
  • Free for instructors when learners pay to access the service, or institutional access can be customized

Key Takeaways

  • Designed primarily for colleges and universities, Packback could be easily adapted for use with advanced-level adult education, career centers, or English Language Learners (ELLs) at an intermediate or advanced level.
  • Instructors choose what materials to upload, at any level, and the platform hosts and evaluates the resulting discussions, in partnership with instructor feedback.
  • The platform is particularly useful for encouraging debates with responses to posts designated as “counterpoint” or “supporting point.”
  • Because any material can be uploaded for discussion, this tool can be adapted to focus on career skills, personal skills, academics, and topics of respect, diversity, tolerance, and cultural competence.
  • Packback is adheres to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements and Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements.

Packback’s platform uses research-based pedagogy and methodology, including: Garrison’s Practical Inquiry Model, Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognition, Self-Determination Theory, and The Community of Inquiry Model. More than 300 institutions in the U.S. and Canada already use Packback to facilitate and evaluate online discussions, including the State University of New York (SUNY), Penn State, University of North Texas, Minnesota State, and the Maricopa Community Colleges. The New England Board of Higher Education partnered with Packback to provide inquiry-driven discussion platforms to member institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Critical & Creative Thinking

Navigating & Using Information

Teamwork & Collaboration

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