Harmonize vs. Packback

Both Harmonize and Packback focus on course discussions.

But what makes Harmonize a better solution?

A bigger, better toolset focused on discussion, collaboration and student engagement.

vs. Packback's question-only discussion tool
Discussion Forums
ChatGPT + Plagiarism Detection
PDF Annotation
Video Annotation
Grid view

A bigger toolset yields better results & easier content discovery

Harmonize’s full suite of online discussion & collaboration tools provides students and instructors with everything they need to have vibrant online courses, including: multimedia discussion boards, image, video & PDF  annotationchatpolls, and Q&A. Content is structured naturally, following the pedagogy of the LMS. There is less for instructors and students to learn when shifting from their traditional LMS to a Harmonize-powered class.

Packback follows the paradigm that all discussion & class communication is part of one large facebook-style feed and is accessed via a left hand menu in your LMS. This breaks from the pedagogy currently known by instructors and used in LMSes, so it requires a restructuring of courses. It also requires training for students to understand when and how to participate in their class.

Richness of discussions

Packback is mainly a text board that doesn’t support video unless you upload it to a third-party site before posting. Adding videos or attaching images is done in a fashion similar to the LMS, where a user must figure out the text editor to make layout across multiple devices work well. Plus, Packback is entirely focused around questions and inquiry-based learning, which means it doesn’t support communication needs that don’t start as a question. It doesn’t support rich media feedback.

Harmonize handles more media types, including uploaded video and lets you record video directly within your post without having to leave Harmonize. Plus, when you upload or record media, we handle the layout for you, providing nice thumbnails and allowing you to adjust the sizing with a simple click of a radio button. Harmonize then takes interaction with this media one step further by allowing annotations. Instructors/students can draw on images and videos or leave timestamped comments on a video they’re watching.


Grading & artificial intelligence capabilities

One of the most significant differences between Packback and Harmonize is grading capability. The only grading available in Packback is for participation. The instructor defines a time period when the student should be participating in the single community feed. There is no performance-based evaluation; rather Packback uses AI to assess the quality of the student posts, bypassing the instructor.

Harmonize uses AI instead to enable the instructor to do their job more efficiently, but doesn’t try to replace. Harmonize allows the instructor to add communication points into their modules in whatever granularity they want — which can be graded or not. Instructors choose between participation-style grading, or delivering a quality/rubric-based grade assessment to the student. We aggregate all of the student’s work for that distinct communication set into a single dashboard so the instructor doesn’t have to waste time searching for any student work.

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Our goal is to be as accurate as possible, so if you feel there is something we should add, remove, or change, please let us know!

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Harmonize's Ultimate Online Collaboration Toolkit

rich multimedia icon Rich multimedia

Help students express themselves by posting images, video, audio, or text

flag icon Milestones

Help students see what’s expected of them, and when, so they make substantive, on-time contributions

student annotation icon Streamlined grading

Save time for instructors with LMS gradebook integration and autograding

Student facilitation

Give students control of discussions with tools that encourage them to contribute.

reactions & tagging icon Reactions & tagging

Improve participation with tools that bring everybody into the conversation

Image, Video & PDF Annotations

Provide interactive feedback and help students engage more deeply with content

Plagiarism detection

Integrate Harmonize with your plagiarism software to auto-detect unoriginal content


Enable students and instructors to communicate privately or in groups


Assess comprehension and knowledge with polls that engage the whole class

Q&A Boards icon Q&A boards

Let students answer each others’ questions with public boards

Harmonize integrates
with the tools you use today

Use Harmonize with any major LMS. Harmonize feels so familiar to instructors and students that there’s virtually no learning curve.
It’s simple to get started — Harmonize plugs right in!

To ensure academic integrity, Harmonize then integrates with the major plagiarism detection services, like Turnitin or Unicheck, to ensure that the students’ work is authentic.

See all integrations
Harmonize integrations
These institutions use Harmonize & see the results
10 x

increase in student-to-student collaboration

Read Case Study
56 %

increase in student engagement

Read Case Study
100 %

of instructors satisfied with discussions

Read Case Study

See Harmonize in Action

Learn how our online discussion and collaboration tools can elevate the learning experience at your institution.

Institutions of all sizes use Harmonize to improve student engagement, collaboration, and inclusivity in their online courses — all while saving instructors time. Harmonize seamlessly integrates with Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle and D2L Brightspace to enrich discussions within already existing platforms. See it for yourself in a personalized demo!

In our 30-minute call, you will:

  • Learn how Harmonize creates a more engaging and inclusive experience for students (and instructors!)

  • Share your goals, and we’ll discuss how Harmonize can help you reach them

  • See Harmonize’s suite of modern discussion and collaboration tools in action

Fill out the form on this page to book a call with a member of our team and see Harmonize in action!