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Packback Webinar / Demonstration Option 2

November 24, 2020 @ 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

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Artificial Intelligence Supported Discussions

Chancellor Maholtra and Senior Vice Chancellor Anderson have expressed interest in exploring how artificial intelligence may support teaching and student learning in higher education.  With their support, Minnesota State is encouraging faculty members to participate in a research study in collaboration with Packback, an AI-supported online discussion platform as a supplement to the existing D2L Brightspace platform.

Summary of Packback by the Network for Educational Development

Packback is intended to encourage student curiosity.  In this platform, students are the ones asking open-ended questions about your course content.  Through sequenced prompts students are guided though the steps of asking good questions – provide background, what is your evidence, what is your question.  Using artificial intelligence, students receive a higher “curiosity score” based on the evidence supplied to provide their summary that led to their question.  Ultimately, students are guided through a process to ask sophisticated questions about the course material, which should allow them to both master concepts from the course and motivate them to investigate course concepts in a deeper way.

As a result, faculty members spend less time counting the number of posts and replies students made each week and more time facilitating arguments and counter-arguments made by their students.

How to Write Amazing Posts on Packback, and Why You Should! from Packback on Vimeo.

About the Research Study

Faculty members who are teaching a course(s) this spring that rely heavily on online discussions as a learning tool this spring are invited to use Packback.  Space for this spring is limited 20 faculty members.  Additional opportunities will be available of those teaching this summer and next fall.

Faculty Requirements

  • Use Packback in a course(s) this spring that utilizes online discussions and have previously taught the same course for at least three terms.
  • Seek and receive approval by your campus Institutional Review Board (IRB) to participate in this study.
  • Host a D2L Brightspace survey in your course to provide informed consent to students by sharing with them the background of the study how their data will be used and provide them with an opportunity to withhold their data for the purpose of this study.
  • Coordinate with campus and system office staff to enable the Packback LTI integration in your D2L Brightspace course.
  • Participate in two training sessions with Packback staff prior to the start of spring term.
  • Participate in monthly check-in sessions with colleagues from Minnesota State using Packback in the spring.

Informational Sessions

This is one of two informational sessions co-hosted by Minnesota State and Packback.  This session is for faculty interested in hearing from Minnesota State colleagues who have used Packback in their courses.  These sessions will also provide an opportunity to learn more about the study.

Application Due Tuesday, December 1

If you would like to participate in the research study for this spring, please submit an application expressing your interest by 11:59pm CST, Tuesday, December 1.

Need more information?



November 24, 2020
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Event Category:




Academic Technologies
Building Awareness

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