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Packback Questions: Wednesday May 18

Packback is a very Chicago company. They started out as a student-run startup operating out of college apartments (and later 1871), but quickly attracted interest with their e-texbook rental service. In 2014 they were featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” where Mark Cuban agreed to invest $250,000 in exchange for 20 percent equity in the company. Seed investors included The 20 Million Minds Foundation, Howard Tullman, Mark Achler, Mark Tebbe, and Rishi Shah.

Beyond their e-textbook rental service, Packback now offers Packback Questions - designed to increase students' intellectual confidence and curiosity, while alleviating administrative work for professors.

The Packback Platform has been used by over 10,000 students at 50 universities, with over 230,000 questions and answers posted to date.

"Packback has exceeded my expectations in every way. It’s intuitive for the students to use and it’s easy to peruse and participate in discussions…[and] hasn’t added to my workload, which I appreciate. What has surprised me the most are the quality of the questions the students are submitting. I’ve used LMS discussion boards but never with the level of success afforded by Packback."

- Jodi Hallsten-Lyzack, Communications Instructor at Illinois State University

At this special Tech Tuesday (Wednesday) session Packback will demonstrate their services, answer your questions, and show you how entrepreneurial students are attempting to improve learning and collaboration.

Please note this session is on a Wednesday and will take place in the new Coleman Entrepreneurship Center (DPC 7900).

Date: Wednesday May 18
Time: 10 - 11:00 a.m.
Location: DPC 7900 Coleman Entrepreneurship Center

You can RSVP here.

LIghtboard (glass whiteboards)

Lightboard Example

Paul Bodine sent me some information on research he had conducted on creating a lightboard. This tool can be used to teach using the equivalent of a whiteboard without looking away from students (or a camera). As Paul says, it turns out that building a glowing clear marker board is very simple and inexpensive:

  1. Dry-Erase Neon Markers
  2. Thick Sheet of Plexiglas
  3. Frame Around it with LED Light Strips Set Into the Pocket
  4. Hang from the ceiling/wall bracket
  5. Plug lights in

It looks like you can get a version from Amazon for about $230

Digging deeper, Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University has a comprehensive set of instructions, FAQs, and examples at

Comments - Screen Sharing Tool

Steve Kelly shared a link to a very interesting website with me. is a screen sharing service for meetings (and lectures) that works on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. This looks to be a very useful collaborative tool.

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