Create a space for students to share text-based responses and comments during class.

PulsePress turns UBC blogs into a private, social media style classroom environment. It establishes a “Twitter-like” space for students to respond in real time to instructor questions and use hashtags to manage and organize conversations. Unlike other classroom response tools, PulsePress is not limited to multiple choice questions; it uses written responses and comments, making it a valuable and effective way of encouraging open ended responses associated with real world problem solving applications or case study activities.

How does PulsePress work?

PulsePress, a customized, UBC developed WordPress theme, allows for real time posting and comments, creating a “Twitter-like” classroom environment. This theme, which is available on UBC blogs, has a convenient front-end posting interface, eliminating the need for students to travel to the back-end dashboard to add new posts. PulsePress developed out of a collaboration, between Paul Cubbon in the Sauder School of Business and CTLT, that aimed to create a real time communication channel that would make meaningful classroom interactions in large undergraduate courses possible. PulsePress thus provides a social media style environment for classroom interaction, while also 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 facilitates classroom engagement and interactions in large classes by allowing students to respond in real time to lecture material and instructor prompts through focused discussions and text based answers. It also works as a type of classroom backchannel, providing a space for students to post questions or comments on any aspect of the course. Students can even use the PulsePress site to review or contribute to discussions after class ends, extending course interactions beyond the temporal and spatial confines of the classroom.


  • Students use their own laptops, tablets or smartphones to make posts or comments on the PulsePress course site.
  • PulsePress’ acceptance of open-ended responses makes it a productive medium for classroom response type activities, especially in subject areas or teaching approaches where multiple choice questions can be too limiting.
  • It provides an open, social media style platform for student interaction while still maintaining the authentication and privacy benefits of a UBC hosted service.
  • Students learn digital literacy skills, such as using hashtags to organize conversations.
  • As a UBC Blog theme, PulsePress is free for UBC instructors and students.


  • Students are not automatically added to the Pulse Press course site. Instructors will need to make sure that all students have been added and that appropriate privacy settings have been set up correctly.
  • PulsePress does not allow for structured discussion threads, as systems like Canvas do. As PulsePress displays a real time stream and uses hashtags, students will require initial direction on how to organize discussions effectively.


  • As a part of UBC blogs, PulsePress is integrated with UBC’s CWL authentication system and makes use of privacy settings that allow for customized control over course site access.


  • Paul Cubbon in Sauder uses PulsePress as part of a flipped classroom approach to his Comm 101 course. Students watch videos online before coming to class and use class time for active learning and discussion. In lecture, Cubbon issues challenges or questions which students discuss in small groups, before publishing their responses to the PulsePress site. Each question has a unique hashtag so the discussion can be organized and filtered. Once students have posted, Cubbon scrolls through the feed along with the students, highlighting noteworthy comments and choosing responses to initiate a larger class discussion.

Getting Started

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