NEBHE Offers New England Postsecondary Faculty Discounted Pricing on Packback Platform to Enrich Online Class Discussion 

For more information, contact Stafford Peat at 617.533.9509 or  

For release
: June 29, 2020

BOSTON--The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) today announced a partnership with the inquiry-based discussion platform Packback .

Packback will enable higher education institutions across New England to access and facilitate more engaging, dynamic online discussions. As colleges and universities across the region navigate their ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Packback's effective online teaching is now available to New England institutions through exclusive pricing that will help institutions provide a meaningful, high-quality remote learning resource.

"The pandemic has necessitated a rapid-response shift to online learning among every higher education institution--creating new challenges and learning opportunities," said NEBHE President and CEO Michael K. Thomas. "Packback's approach is rooted in the role of emerging technology, like AI, in facilitating online learning experiences that can be just as meaningful and effective as in-person class discussion."

The initiative comes at a time when colleges and universities across the country are working to grow and strengthen online capacity. Through this new partnership, institutions in the region will be able to access this remote learning aid at a discount.

"In the last semester, given the necessities of social distancing, online discussion has taken on a far more important role," said Charles Goodnight, professor of biology at the University of Vermont. "Packback is unique in its ability to create engaging communities in remote classes--by encouraging students to go beyond lecture and lead the class in directions that interest them the most."

Founded by college students and backed by entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Packback uses proprietary AI and machine learning technology to provide inquiry-based online discussion to over 2,000 instructors and over 450,000 students, who have posted 12 million questions and responses to date. A soon-to-be-released study conducted in partnership with 10 higher education institutions indicates that students in classes that use Packback are more likely to be engaged in discussion, and are also more likely to report higher levels of satisfaction and higher overall course grades. 

"Emerging research suggests that online platforms, designed to meet rigorous pedagogical standards, can help to increase engagement and even boost academic outcomes," said Kasey Gandham, co-founder of Packback. "This has never been more important than now, as COVID-19 forces many institutions to reimagine online learning as a 'must-have' rather than a 'nice-to-have.'"
For more on NEBHE Cost Savings programs, visit here

Founded in 1955 by six visionary New England governors, NEBHE brings together leaders of education, higher education, government, business and labor to forge partnerships and advance ideas that enhance the economy and quality of life in the six-state region and around the world. NEBHE works to increase the education opportunities for New England residents and to promote collaboration among the region's colleges and universities to expand access, success, affordability and the economic impact of higher education.
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