What is ComPair

ComPAIR is a peer assessment and feedback application in which students first answer an assignment and then compare and respond to pairs of peer answers. For each pair, students pick the answer they think better meets instructor-set criteria (e.g., “Which is better articulated?”, “Which is more accurate?”) and write feedback to each peer. (The above paragraph is attributed to The University of British Columbia)

What is the purpose of ComPair

The purpose of ComPAIR is to support peer assessment and feedback. It makes it possible for students to anonymously swap assignments and compare assignments to one another. It also facilitates students’ evaluation of their peers’ work based upon instructor-guided criteria. As a result, students not only critically engage with reviewing and judging the work of their peers, they receive feedback from different perspectives that might be used in their learning and performance improvement.

How to use ComPair

Derek McLachlin (Biochemistry) has been an Institutional leader at Western in piloting and utilizing ComPAIR for his courses. To gain access to the ComPAIR platform please contact Derek directly.

Where to find Support

This tool is not centrally supported

Help and Documentation

This tool is not centrally supported. For help, please refer to the tool’s help documentation

Supported Tools to Consider

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 3 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 3 stars


The tool can be scaled to accommodate any size class with the flexibility to customize assignments

Ease of use rating:3 stars

Ease of Use

The tool has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and personalize for both instructor and students

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

In-person or email based technical support is readily available and aids users in troubleshooting tasks or solving problems experienced. Developers monitor a Google chat

Hypermediality rating: 3 stars


The tool allows users to communicate through different channels (audio, visual, textual) and allows for non-sequential, flexible/adaptive engagement with material. Allows students to upload a range 250mb WEBM. MP4, PDFs, JPEGs text, figures, graphs

Accessibility overall rating: 1 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 1 stars

AODA Friendly

The accessibility of ComPAIR is not well known or well-tested. While there is reason to believe it has few limitations in meeting accessibility standards, this cannot be confirmed at this time. Instructors should proceed with caution, flagging any accessibility issues for developers and IT management.

User Foused Participation rating: 3 stars

User-focused participation

The tool is designed to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities, thereby widening opportunities for participation in learning - chance to see, recieve and give feedback, exposure to peer’s works.

Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of the tool does not require equipment other than a computer and access to the internet.

Technical overall rating: 3 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 3 stars

OWL Integration

The tool can be embedded and fully integrated into OWL maintaining full functionality of the tool. Opens in new window. Prompt log in at first engagement but then they are logged in.

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize the tool with any standard, up-to-date operating system (i.e. Windows 10, Apple OSX, etc.)

Web Browser rating: 3 stars

Web Browser

Users can effectively utilize the tool with any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 etc.)

Additional Tech Requirements rating: 3 stars

Additional Tech Requirements

Users can effectively utilize the tool without any browser extensions or downloaded software.

Mobile Design overall rating: 1 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

The tool is fully functional with a range of electronic mobile devices (laptops, tablets, touchscreens, mobile devices, etc.)

Mobile Functionality rating: 3 stars

Mobile Functionality

There is little to no mobile app for ComPAIR. The tool can be accessed on a mobile devise through a web browser - through which there is no functional difference in engagement.

Offline Access rating: 1 star

Offline Access

The platform cannot be used in any capacity offline.

Usage and account set up overall rating: 2 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 2 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

An instructor account/login is required but students are not required to create an external account or additional log in - create a user name, student number not necessary. Information kept on Western serve.

Cost of Use rating:  3 stars

Cost of Use

All aspects of the tool can be used free of charge. No fees for students or instructors.

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 3 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Users can archive, save, or import and export content or activity data in a variety of formats. Different types of reports - basic participation report, research report (detailed), compiled peer feedback report.

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: na star

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data. Servers are local to Western and information, keeping data stored here.

Social Presence overall rating: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 2 stars


The tool has the capacity to support a community of learning through asynchronous but not synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users.

User Accountability rating: 3 stars

User Accountability

Instructors can control student anonymity; The tool provides technical solutions for holding students accountable for their actions. Students are anonymous to one another but instructors can see student names. Students have control over their display name.

Diffusion rating: 2 star


Student familiarity with the tool is likely mixed, some will lack basic technical competence with its functions.

Instructor Presence overall rating: 3 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:3 stars


The tool has easy-to-use features that would significantly improve an instructor’s ability to be present with students via active management, monitoring, and engagement.

Customization rating: 3 stars


Tool is adaptable to its environment: easily customized to suit the classroom context and targeted learning outcomes. Instructor control of prompting questions.

Learning Analytics rating: 3 stars

Learning Analytics

Instructor can monitor students’ performance on a variety of responsive measures. See student’s replies.

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 3 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 3 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

The tool enhances engagement in targeted cognitive task(s) that were once overly complex or inconceivable through other means. Distribution of anonymized material.

Higher Order Thinking rating: 3 stars

Higher Order Thinking

Use of the tool easily facilitates students to exercise higher order thinking skills (given consideration to design, facilitation, and direction from instructor).

Feedback on Learning rating:3 stars

Feedback on Learning

Through the tool, students can be prompted to reflect on the feedback they’ve received from their peers. Feedback is highly valuable as formative as it comes from peers rather than the instructor.

Security and Privacy

This tool has not been formally reviewed by Western’s Technology Risk Assessment Committee

Last Updated: September 16, 2020


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