Course Agnostic "Set Assignment Instructions" Templates for Instructors

Templates and Examples for the “Set Assignment Instructions” Tool

Why should you use this box?

  • As you know, the more we can give students directions and remind them of expectations the better.  This box allows you space to set community expectations however you'd like.  To best use the feature, post specific information on how to earn grades, weekly/semester-long instructions, and/or a topic to guide student questions for the week!

How should it look?

  • Feel free to use one of the templates below or mix and match to fit your students’ and course needs!

TEMPLATE #1 - (Course-long)

Welcome to Packback!

  • Each week, you should ask a curiosity question that relates to current events in [CONTENT AREA]. I will sometimes provide some guidance, but generally encourage you to explore broadly.
  • Start with your question by clicking into the correct assignment and selecting the red “Ask a new Question” button in the top-right of the Community Feed.
  • You do not need a source for your question, but I encourage you to have either a source or specific examples from your own experience to support your description or provide more information to classmates.
  • Post 1 Curiosity Question and 2 Responses to classmates by [INSERT DEADLINE].
  • You should be thinking about the real world and how to apply it to what we are learning about [CONTENT AREA]

Please be sure that your question applies to [CONTENT AREA] or it may be flagged.

There is a lot of coverage of [CONTENT AREA] on the web. There are some websites on [CLASS WEBSITE/LMS] and here are just a few materials and websites I suggest you navigate as a starting point:



TEMPLATE #2 - (Course-long)

Weekly Packback Topics:

    • Week 1 - Take this week to get registered for Packback
    • Week 2 - [TOPIC 1]
    • Week 3 - [TOPIC 2]

I am looking for meaningful conversation and discussion about [CONTENT AREA].  Post early in the week–your individual questions and responses are due on [INSERT DEADLINE].


TEMPLATE #3 - (Updated Weekly)

Week [X] Discussion


This week you will be discussing [CORE CONCEPT] with your peers. To prepare, read chapter # in your textbook and explore a relevant scholarly journal article. 


By [DATE] at [TIME],submit one question that discusses [FILL IN CORE CONCEPT]. Be sure to cite the journal article that you read. 


Concepts to consider related to [FILL IN CORE CONCEPT]

  •  What are intrigued about?
  •  What about this topic makes you feel lost?
  •  What does this topic make you think about?
  •  How does this topic connect to current events?
  • How do you think this topic will be applicable in your current/future career?




By [DATE] at [TIME], ensure you have responded to at least two of your classmates. Use the search feature in Packback to look for posts that focus on different areas than you or haven’t received any responses yet to support creating an inclusive learning community.


Remember that you can cite sources in responses, bring in media, and each response must be a minimum of [X] Curiosity Points to count for credit


TEMPLATE #4 - (Course-long; course w/ in-person discussion)

Hello everyone and welcome to Packback!

This is an online discussion tool that we will be using as an alternate way of grading and helping you learn.  With the class being designed as heavily based on discussions, the online discussion also serves as a practice opportunity for everyone to prepare for the discussions we will be doing during our in-person classes.

Each week, you have to read the assigned course material and prepare three open-ended, thought provoking questions. Out of the three questions, choose one to post here, and the remaining two to bring to class for the in-person discussion.

After posting, you are also required to reply to two other questions that were posted by other students.

Participating in Packback discussion will count toward [%] of your final grades.

Here are some requirements regarding your question and responses:

  1. The questions cannot be clarification questions. You can ask those during class!
  2. The questions must relate to the assigned material and/or what we are learning that week. 
  3. Your questions and responses can be connected to other sources that you know. These can be previous chapters that we covered, prior courses, other research and information you have obtained, etc.
  4. Remember to cite your sources. Packback loves when you reference a credible source and it serves as practice for your papers.
  5. Edit, revise, and resubmit until you have a satisfactory post. Packback provides instant feedback to you on how you should fix your posts, and the minimum Curiosity Score is set at [INSERT MINIMUM CURIOSITY SCORE], so be sure to hit that mark to receive full credit.
  6. Use my feedback to learn and grow. I will provide feedback to your posts, and may bring exceptional posts into class throughout the semester. Use this additional information to help you learn and grow!


TEMPLATE #5 - (Course-long)

[INSERT # OF PACKBACK ASSIGNMENTS] Packback Q&A assignments will be administered during the semester. 

Purpose: This course will be employing a Packback community to encourage student discussion, inquiry, and the deep dive into relevant topics to the course. Through weekly question and answer, you will be encouraged to think critically about various topic areas and their application to [CONTENT AREA] while helping your classmates answer questions about course concepts. This will allow you to learn through inquiry-driven discussion.

More information on Packback can be found at this link.

Each week, you will be asked to:

  • Ask one question about the course material that meets the community’s minimum Curiosity Score of [#] points (rated based on Presentation, Credibility, and Effort) (worth [#] point(s) each).
  • Answer two classmate questions about the course material in a response post that meets the community’s minimum Curiosity Score of [#] points (rated based on Presentation, Credibility, and Effort) (worth [#] point(s) each).

Criteria: Points will be assigned on a purely binary basis; questions and answers that meet the Curiosity Score minimums ([#] points for questions, [#] points for answers) will receive full credit regardless of content. However, you should be aware that the community is moderated, and posts will be removed if they are not on-topic with the course material or if they substantially replicate a response previously made by another student. You will receive zero credit if your post is removed, either for being off-topic or for any other reason (e.g. if it is flagged for plagiarism, disrespectfulness towards others, etc.), but you have the opportunity to edit and repost for a chance at credit.  [Be aware that if you are giving half credit for posts below the Curiosity Score minimum, this last paragraph will need to be adjusted]



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