Workflow ComPAIR Home

ComPAIR is a flexible learning application that may be used in a variety of ways across disciplines to encourage richer peer feedback and deeper critical thinking. At a basic level, the ComPAIR workflow is quite simple.

Instructors post an assignment Students submit an answer Students compare and comment on peer answer pairs Instructors and students view results

Post an assignment

On the administrative side, instructors set up five structural elements for each assignment, a process that can be completed in under ten minutes.

  • The assignment: the short form or title of the assignment and any additional details, which can be provided in an attached file (PDF, MP3, MP4, JPG, or PNG), added with rich text, or both.
  • The schedule: the timelines for when students a) answer the assignment and b) compare answers given by their peers. By default, comparing begins directly after answering ends, though these may be designed to overlap.
  • The comparison prompts: the questions (or single question) students are asked to consider in comparing the answer pairs. The default question is "Which is better?"; however, instructors may change this to custom criteria to suit learning outcomes. A detailed explanation can be given for each criterion. Instructors may also customize the instructions for leaving peer feedback.
  • The comparison settings: the number of answer pairs students will compare and how the pairs will be selected—at random or adaptively based on how students have ranked answers to date (i.e., selecting answers theoretically closer in quality to one another as the assignment progresses). Instructors can also add a practice answer pair to start and/or a formal self-evaluation to follow the comparisons.
  • The participation grade: the weighting given for completing each part of the assignment.

Submit an answer

When registered students log in, they can see all active assignments created for a course, and select the assignment they wish to complete. To answer the assignment, students can use rich text, a file attachment (PDF, MP3, MP4, JPG, or PNG), or both.

ComPAIR learning application screen for submitting an assignment answer
The ComPAIR answer form for students

Instructors and teaching assistants may also submit answers for assignments, though these are not entered into the answer pool for comparison and instead appear at the top of the list of answers for students to review at the end of the assignment.

Compare and comment

After answering, students read and compare pairs of peer answers. Each pair is considered a "round". A round starts with students selecting a preferred answer from the pair for each instructor-set criterion. Then students are asked to give feedback to the authors of the answers, using instructions that can also be customized by the instructor.

ComPAIR learning application screen for submitting comparison of two peer answers
The ComPAIR comparison form for students

For each round, students submit their criteria selections and feedback in a single form. After submitting, they are automatically directed to the next pair of answers, though they may leave and return to the work at a later time. If instructors enable self-evaluation, students receive a prompt that asks them to reflect and comment on their own answer at the end of the process.

View results

Once the assignment completes, students may access the peer feedback given to their own answer, as well as the complete list of answers submitted by their peers. Depending on how instructors set up the assignment, students may also see answers ranked most highly by their peers and/or answers marked as "top" answers by instructors and teaching assistants.

ComPAIR learning application screen for seeing list of ranked answers
A ranked list of answers as seen from the student view

Instructors and teaching assistants always see the full student-ranked list of answers along with scores/percentages revealing more closely how students ranked each answer. During and after an assignment, instructors and teaching assistants can read and comment (privately or publicly) on student answers, access a participation table to view activity and grades, mark "top" answers, and view the feedback and comparisons each student submitted for the presented answer pairs.

ComPAIR learning application screen for seeing peer comparisons and feedback
Display of completed comparisons from the instructor view

Real-life examples »

Get to know ComPAIR

  • Understand the assignment workflow in the application from instructor and student perspectives.
  • Read about real-life examples » from English, Physics, and Math courses at the University of British Columbia.
  • Learn about the recommended best practices » based on the pilot courses who have used the application.
  • Get started with basic documentation » for using ComPAIR as a standalone application or as an integration.
  • Try Demo   Download Code

Additional resources