How to Setup and Use Discussion Polls

Packback’s Discussion Polls give instructors and TA's the ability to post questions that prompt a student to pick one of the poll choices, in addition to defending their choice in a written response. By using discussion polls, instructors can easily and quickly take the “pulse” of their class, to see how they feel about an issue or topic and to check for understanding. 

Step-by-Step instructions for setting up Poll Assignments

Step 1. To post a Poll Assignment, go to the Polls tab under the Packback Instruct menu and click on the assignment you'd like to create a poll for. Please note: Only instructors and TA's in the class can post a poll but anyone can answer. 

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Step 2. Click Manage Assignments in the top right-hand corner. From here, you will be taken to our polls landing page. Select + Add Assignment to begin creating your first Poll assignment.


Step 3. On the assignment creator:

  1. Assignment Name: We give each assignment a default name when you set up Poll Assignments. However you have the option to change the assignment name!
  2. Add Deadlines: If you would like your assignment to include a start and end date, make sure to check the box next to Add dates to this assignment? and then select a Start Date and Start Time as well as a Due Date and Due Time. Click the drop down below that to select your Time Zone.
  3. Click Save Assignment to finalize these details!

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Step 4. Create the polls for this assignment by clicking +Add a poll below. This will take you to our poll creator where you will be able to:

  1. Write a Title for your poll. This should consist of the question you are asking, or else a topic for the poll.
  2. Add a Body to your poll! Provide context and detail to your poll for students to be able to engage with.
  3. Add your Poll Options! You are allowed to enter up to 8 options/responses per poll. To continue adding more, just click + Add another option when needed.
  4. Finally, click Publish Poll to finalize your details!

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How do I create a Question with Choices discussion poll?

Step 1. To post a Questions poll, head to the assignments tab in your community panel and click on the Packback assignment you'd like to create a poll for. Please note: Only Instructor, TA, and admin users in a community can add choices to questions when posting them in a PBQ assignment but anyone can answer. 



Step 2. Begin following the same flow as asking a traditional question:

  • Click the red "Ask a New Question" button
  • Compose a Question for discussion
  • Click "+ Add Choices" at the end of your question, which requires students to select and support their choices as they respond. Please note: We recommend pinning your post to the top of your assignments feed for students to easily access! As with all Questions, these posts can be scheduled, pinned, and responses count as a response-style post for a given assignment.

For more information on the difference between In-Class Polls and Questions Polls, please check out this article: What are Discussion Polls?





How can I utilize Questions polls in my course?

Example 1: Choose a perspective  

Test students’ ability to both demonstrate their knowledge and critical thinking skills by having them apply information from class to a theoretical situation:



Example 2: Defend a side

Have students defend a side to an argument, then discuss in class (if possible!):



Example 3: Check for confusion

This option will allow you check to see where your students are struggling the most in your course, and why. You can check in with students to not only engage students during or outside of class, but collect data that will help drive your materials and instruction!




How can I utilize In-Class polls in my course?

Since "In-Class" polls are optional to grade (In-Class poll responses will not be counted in the Packback gradebook, unlike Homework poll responses), below are some recommendations for how instructors can use this poll feature.

Example 1: Check for understanding 

Take a quick pulse to see how well students are absorbing information and who may need a little extra help or clarification.  


Example 2: Gauge student sentiment of a topic without requiring an open-ended response

Use a quick in-class poll as an opportunity to understand how students feel about the course material.

You can ask "what topic are you struggling with most?" or even "what topic would you like to focus on during the upcoming study session?" to guide future instruction. 


Where can students find each poll type?

  • Questions Polls appear only on the main curiosity feed within a Packback assignment. Question Polls cannot be accessed via the Discussion Polls tab
  • In-Class Polls can be found by going to the "Discussion Polls" tab under the Packback instruct menu.

Step-by-Step instructions for how students can respond to a Discussion Poll

  1. Students can access your community In-Class Polls, by going to the “Discussion Polls” tab under the Packback Instruct menu. Students can access your community Questions Polls by heading to the assignments tab and clicking on the corresponding assignment. Please note: We recommend pinning your Questions Polls post to the top of your assignments feed for students to easily access! As with all Questions, these posts can be scheduled & pinned.
  2. Once a discussion poll has been created by an Instructor/and or TA, they can then respond by clicking on the "Add Response" button located at the bottom right hand corner of the poll post!
  3. Students will then be prompted to select their poll choice and defend their response!

For advice on how to apply polls within your course, please refer to our Implementation Guides:

Still Have Questions?

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our Support Team by filling out our Request Form or reaching out to








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