Create a space for students to post text based responses and comments during class
Pulsepress turns UBC blogs into a private, social media style environment for your class. It creates a “Twitter-like” space for students to respond in real time to instructor questions, using hashtags to manage and organize conversations. Unlike other classroom response tools, Pulsepress utilizes written responses and comments rather than multiple choice questions. This makes it a good alternative for instructors wanting to encourage more open ended responses associated with real world problem solving applications or case study activities.

How does PulsePress work?

Pulsepress is a customized WordPress theme developed by UBC that allows for real time posting and comments, creating a “Twitter-like” environment for a class. The theme, which is available on UBC blogs, also provides a front end posting interface so students don’t need to go to the back end dashboard to add new posts. Pulsepress was originally developed out of a collaboration between Paul Cubbon in the Sauder School of Business and CTLT with the goal of creating a real time communication channel to improve interaction in large undergraduate courses. It creates a social media style environment for classroom interaction, while maintaining the privacy, archiving and authentication benefits of being hosted on UBC servers.


How Are UBC Arts Instructors Using PulsePress?

How Can PulsePress Help Me?

PulsePress offers a good option to help facilitate engagement and interaction in large classes. It provides an alternate way to facilitate classroom response activities through focused discussion and text based responses rather than multiple choice questions. As an in class tool, PulsePress can also be used as a classroom backchannel allowing students a space to post questions or comments in real time. In addition, PulsePress can be used to extend interactions beyond the classroom time by allowing students to go back after class and review or comment on the discussions.


  • Students can use their own laptop, tablet or smartphone to provide post or comment on a PulsePress site.
  • PulsePress allows for real time narrative responses from students. This makes it an interesting alternative for conducting classroom response type activities in subject areas or teaching approaches where multiple choice questions are not the most appropriate style of assessment.
  • It provides a social media style platform for student interaction while still maintaining the authentication and privacy benefits of being a UBC hosted service.
  • Students learn digital literacy skills such as how to organize conversations through the use of hashtags.
  • PulsePress is available for any instructor to set up on your own as a theme in UBC Blogs without any additional cost or equipment.


  • Students are not automatically added to the course site. Some effort is needed to make sure all of the students are added and that the appropriate privacy settings are set up correctly.
  • PulsePress doesn’t allow for the creation of structured discussion threads the way systems like Connect do. Pulsepress displays a real time stream and hashtags are used to organized conversations. Students will need some practice and instructions up front to help them learn how to organize the discussions effectively.


  • PulsePress is already a part of UBC blogs and available for any faculty member to use. It is integrated with UBC’s CWL authentication system and works with all of the privacy settings on UBC blogs to allow for varying levels of control over who has access to the site.


  • Paul Cubbon in Sauder has used PulsePress effectively as part of his Comm 101 course by using it as part of a flipped classroom approach. Students watch videos online before coming to class and then class time is used for active learning and discussion. He issues challenges or questions to the class and then students break up into small groups to discuss the question before publishing their responses to the PulsePress site. For each question, a unique hashtag is used so that the discussion can be organized and filtered. Once students have posted, he scrolls through the feed along with the students, highlighting noteworthy comments and using the responses to initiate a large class discussion.

Getting Started

Discuss ideas and options with the Arts Learning Centre Drop by the Arts Learning Centre for a chat in Buchanan C105A
Email Arts ISIT Helpdesk Contact ArtsISIT arts.helpdesk@ubc.ca for assistance or a demonstration!
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