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Artificial Intelligence

Online Discussion Platform Adds AI-Powered Feedback Tool

Packback, an online platform that uses artificial intelligence to facilitate class discussions, has introduced an Instant Feedback feature that provides students with a real-time assessment of their contributions and allows them to revise and improve their work before final submission.

When students create a discussion question or response, the Instant Feedback tool uses AI algorithms to provide personalized guidance. The tool measures such factors as curiosity (taking into account the "open-endedness" of the question, the depth of a student's description, the repetitiveness of text and more), credibility (whether or not sources are cited), communication and convention. The resulting "Curiosity Score" is meant to quantify the effectiveness of the discussion post.  

"Supplementing instructor-provided feedback with the consistent and instant feedback made possible by AI can give all students the best of both," said Jessica Tenuta, co-founder of Packback, in a statement. Students can apply and learn from that feedback before submitting their work, without any penalty, helping them "develop their skills while gaining a healthier relationship to feedback," she added.

"Meaningful discussion is a critical part of our work to ensure a high-quality online learning experience – and has become even more important as we shift to an online-ready model in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic," commented John Locke, coordinator of technology-enhanced learning and distance education at SUNY Plattsburgh. "This resource will provide students with the kind of immediate feedback that technology can offer at scale — and enable faculty to dive deeper into substantive, engaging discussions that cultivate both curiosity and confidence."

For more information, visit the Packback site.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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