iPeer Instructor Guide

iPeer is a peer review application for having students assess their team members’ contributions to group assignments. These evaluations can help students reflect on teamwork and their own participation and can help you understand how well groups are working together and how much each individual student is contributing.
Cost Yes Free
Bandwidth Yes Low demand
Canvas Integration Yes Works in coordination with Canvas
Privacy Yes iPeer is FIPPA compliant and data is stored securely in Canada
Similar UBC-Supported Tools (none)

What can I use it for?

You can use iPeer to help you assess and improve student group work in a variety of ways:

  • Create custom criteria to guide students in evaluating one another and, optionally, themselves
  • Use the evaluation outcomes formatively, by sharing the anonymized feedback with each evaluated student
  • Use the evaluation outcomes summatively, to inform your distribution of group marks

What do I need to use iPeer?

An iPeer account

You will need to request an iPeer account from us first.

A supported web browser

iPeer runs in your web browser and supports using Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.

A Canvas course

iPeer only works with Canvas courses at UBC.

Tips

  • Students will not need to contact anyone to create an iPeer account, as their accounts will automatically be made when you link your Canvas course to an iPeer course.

What should I consider before using iPeer?

Before you dive in, it’s best to establish your evaluation approach from a pedagogical perspective. This includes determining how you will use peer evaluations, how often you will run evaluations, and how they will relate to grades. Answer to these questions will guide you in the right direction as you set up iPeer.

Click any bar below to explore considerations for iPeer.

Consider the overall goals of your peer evaluation

Once you decide to use peer evaluation in a group assignment, consider the following:

  • What are you hoping to achieve with the peer evaluations? The self evaluations?
  • In light of your goals, what assessment criteria (e.g., rubrics) will be best for students to evaluate contributions of each group member?
  • When will you ask students to complete peer evaluations: in the middle, at the end of the group assignment, or both?
  • Should the peer evaluation scores count towards the group assignment grade? If so, to what extent?
  • Should you share the results of peer evaluation with students, and if so, to what extent: sharing grades, sharing feedback, or both?

Your answers should relate to the goals of the group assignment. For example, if developing teamwork skills is an important goal, you could plan on using peer evaluations multiple times during the assignment, so students will learn how they are doing and have a chance to improve.

Tips

Develop your peer evaluation criteria

iPeer offers three types of peer evaluations to consider as you develop your criteria:

  • Simple Evaluations: Students evaluate group members by distributing the number of points you set (e.g., 100) among the members. This approach offers a very simple evaluation that will provide you with a high-level idea of the group dynamics.
  • Rubrics Evaluations: Students evaluate group members based on specific criteria you set, similar to a multiple-choice questionnaire. This approach will provide more specific and detailed information about each group member, depending on the questions you ask.
  • Mixed Evaluations: Students evaluate group members using a combination of short answer and rubric questions. This approach gives the highest degree of customization and therefore is suitable to evaluations that require more nuance and open response.

Tips

  • Always encourage students to justify their evaluations and provide constructive feedback as part of the process, regardless of which approach you choose.
  • You can involve students in criteria creation, so they have a better understanding of what is expected as a contributing group member. For example, at the beginning of a group project, share a rubric you are considering with students and invite their constructive feedback.

Decide on the timing of your peer evaluation(s)

If you plan to use evaluations formatively in the course, meaning results will be shared with you and with the students, it's best to have multiple peer evaluations during the group assignment, perhaps at the midway point and at the end. That will let students know how they are doing and give them a chance to improve based on the peer feedback received.

However, it is also important to consider the possible implications on group dynamics of sharing negative feedback and be prepared to support students in pivoting in a positive manner.

If you plan to use evaluations summatively in the course, time the evaluation near the end of the group assignment, once all the major activities are complete. That will let students evaluate the overall participation and contribution of peers and help you apply the outcomes towards grading, if you choose.

Tips

  • In iPeer, you can release the peer grades, the peer feedback, or both so that students can check how their group members evaluated their contributions.
  • If you decide to release the feedback, you can review what students submitted first, and hold back any disrespectful comments, if you choose.

Choose how peer evaluation will influence grades

If the evaluations will influence grades, you should communicate to students in the beginning how exactly the peer marks will be counted, so students are not caught off-guard.

If you decide to count the peer evaluations for grading, ask yourself the following:

  • How will you examine peer evaluations to ensure fairness and accuracy? When marks are on the line, students may sometimes try to influence them with exaggerated reviews (good and bad).
  • Will you assign marks for completing the peer evaluations? This strategy can help increase response rates.
  • Would you prefer to use the peer evaluations as a reference for the final mark or use it to impact the mark directly? If using it directly, what grading calculation will best fit for your course? Typically, peer evaluations count for a small percentage (e.g. 5-25%) of a group assignment1, with you assigning the rest of the mark.
  • Will students' self-evaluations count toward grades? Generally, self-evaluations are not the most accurate and are best left out of the calculation.

How do I use iPeer?

To use iPeer, you will first set up an iPeer course and student groups, then create your evaluation, and view and (optionally) share the results.

Click any bar below for instructions and tips for using iPeer.

Set up an iPeer course

Because iPeer works with Canvas, you will set up your iPeer course based on your Canvas course.

  1. Once you have received an iPeer account, please log in to ipeer.elearning.ubc.ca with your CWL.
  2. Click Courses in the top navigation.
  3. Click Add Course Based on Canvas.
    • If this is your first time using iPeer, click Authorize when prompted to allow iPeer to access Canvas.
  4. Select your course in the drop-down menu, and click Save.
  5. Click the new course title, and within the Canvas box, click Import Users from Canvas. Students in your Canvas course will be added to your iPeer course as students, and any co-instructors, teaching assistants, and instructional support staff will be added as instructors.
    • Please note that this step must be completed by an instructor with teacher access in the corresponding Canvas course.
  6. Students will now be able to log in to your iPeer course from ipeer.elearning.ubc.ca using their CWL.

Create student groups for iPeer evaluations

You can create student groups by either importing groups from Canvas or manually setting up groups in iPeer.

Import groups from Canvas

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click People in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the Group tab, then click the +Group Set blue button in the upper right side of the screen.
  3. Enter a name and pick how you want to structure the groups, then click Save.
  4. Adjust the students in the groups, as needed.
  5. Log in to iPeer, and click Courses in the top navigation.
  6. Click the course title, and within the Canvas box, click Import Groups From Canvas.
  7. Click Import to use the groups in your iPeer course.

Set up groups in iPeer

  1. Log in to iPeer, and click Courses in the top navigation.
  2. Click the course title, and within the Groups box, click List Groups.
  3. Click Add Group.
  4. Give the group a number and name, then assign students by clicking each student name and Assign to place them in the group.
  5. Click Add Group.
  6. Repeat this process of adding a group for however many groups you need.

Tips

  • If students are assigned to multiple Canvas groups in your course, setting up groups on iPeer will be easier. It can be difficult to import the correct groups when working with multiple Canvas groups.

Make your own criteria for iPeer evaluations

Once you have set up your course and groups, you need to decide whether the evaluation will use new criteria you make yourself or existing criteria from another instructor or course.

If you would like to create new criteria yourself, follow the steps below.

  1. Log in to iPeer, and click Evaluation in the top navigation.
  2. Decide on the type of evaluation you want to use:
    • Simple Evaluations: Students evaluate group members by distributing the number of points you set (e.g., 100) among the members. This approach offers a very simple evaluation that will provide you with a high-level idea of the group dynamics.
    • Rubrics Evaluations: Students evaluate group members based on specific criteria you set, similar to a multiple-choice questionnaire. This approach will provide more specific and detailed information about each group member, depending on the questions you ask.
    • Mixed Evaluations: Students evaluate group members using a combination of short answer and rubric questions. This approach gives the highest degree of customization and therefore is suitable to evaluations that require more nuance and open response.
  3. For a simple evaluation:
    • Click the Simple Evaluations tab, and click Add Simple Evaluation.
    • Fill in the name, description, and points per member (e.g., a group of 3 students with 10 points per member will generate an evaluation with 30 points to distribute).
    • Click Save.
  4. For a rubrics evaluation:
    • Click the Rubrics tab, and click Add Rubric.
    • Fill in the form.
      • Level of Mastery: Sets the number of options students can choose from when rating the criteria (e.g., use three levels to allow students to choose among three options, such as "Poor", "Average", and "Good").
      • Number of Criteria: Sets how many criteria students will rate (e.g., use five to allow students to evaluate five aspects of their teammates' work).
    • Click Next.
    • Fill in the table that's generated with the criteria text (what you want students to assess about each other), level of mastery text (what options students will have in assessing each criterion), specific comments text (any notes about how students should assess each criterion), and criteria weight (how much weight each criterion will receive).
    • Click Save.
  5. For mixed evaluations:
    • Click the Mixed Evaluations tab, and click Add Mixed Evaluations.
    • Fill in the name and availability settings.
    • Select a question type, and click Add to add fields for that question. Add as many question types as you would like and fill in the fields for each one.
    • When you are finished, click Save.
  6. You are finished setting up the criteria and can now create an evaluation event.

Tips

  • You will need to create what's called an evaluation event in iPeer, before students can use your criteria to evaluate their peers. Refer to the next section for instructions on how to do this.
  • iPeer has existing criteria you can use, if you don't want to create your own. You'll be able to preview these criteria options when you create the evaluation event.
  • You can find helpful steps for developing a rubric on UBCO's Centre for Teaching and Learning iPeer page, under the "Rubrics" section.

Create an iPeer evaluation

Once you have set up your course and groups, and optionally made your own criteria, you are ready to ask students to assess their peers. To run an evaluation in iPeer, you need to set up what is called an evaluation event.

  1. Log in to iPeer, and click Courses in the top navigation.
  2. Click the course title, and within the Evaluation Events box, click Add Event.
  3. Add the title and description.
  4. Set the evaluation type you will use as the template type:
    • Simple Evaluations: Students evaluate group members by distributing the number of points you set (e.g., 100) among the members. This approach offers a very simple evaluation that will provide you with a high-level idea of the group dynamics.
    • Rubrics Evaluations: Students evaluate group members based on specific criteria you set, similar to a multiple-choice questionnaire. This approach will provide more specific and detailed information about each group member, depending on the questions you ask.
    • Mixed Evaluations: Students evaluate group members using a combination of short answer and rubric questions. This approach gives the highest degree of customization and therefore is suitable to evaluations that require more nuance and open response.
  5. In the drop-down menu underneath the type, select which specific evaluation you will use, either the one you created when you made your own criteria (see the section above for how to do this) or any of the existing ones from other courses and instructors.
    • Click Preview to see what any template will look like.
  6. Fill out the rest of the form and click Submit.
  7. Students will be able to fill out their evaluations during the dates you set.

Tips

  • Once the evaluation is created, an important next step is to communicate with your students why you are using iPeer. Let students know that evaluations can foster better teamwork within their groups and help them become more familiar and comfortable with assessment and evaluation practices.
  • Tell students how peer evaluations will factor into grades, if you are using evaluations this way, and stress how evaluations can promote accountability and fairer grading for group work.
  • You can edit any existing evaluation event, by clicking the "List Evaluation Events" link on the iPeer course homepage. Click the title of the event, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the edit button.

Review and release iPeer evaluation outcomes

  1. Log in to iPeer, and click Courses in the top navigation.
  2. Click the course title, and within the Evaluation Events box, click List Evaluation Events.
  3. For the evaluation you want to review, click Results under the "View" column.
  4. On this overview page, you can see how many students have completed the evaluation, and if they submitted late or not. Click Results under the "View column" in this table to get a detailed look at outcomes.
  5. Click Release All Comments or Release All Grades to manually share these results with students. In either case, students will receive their group's comments or grades anonymously, so they will not know who provided what feedback.

Tips

  • You can also export outcomes from this page as a spreadsheet, if you'd rather work with or distribute the data offline.
  • Results can be released automatically to students, if you prefer, by enabling the "Auto-Release Results" option and setting the "Results Released From" date, when you create or edit the evaluation event.

Use iPeer grades in Canvas

If you would like to use the evaluation outcomes as grades, you can send them to Canvas by either syncing iPeer grades directly with Canvas (best for situations requiring less customization) or exporting data from iPeer to upload manually to Canvas (best for situations requiring more customization).

Sync iPeer grades with Canvas

  1. Log in to iPeer, and click Courses in the top navigation.
  2. Click the course title, and within the Evaluation Events box, click List Evaluation Events.
  3. For the evaluation you want to sync, click Results under the "View" column.
  4. Click Push Grades to Canvas at the top.
  5. Click Export and grades will be sent to Canvas.

Export iPeer grades and upload to Canvas

  1. Log in to iPeer, and click Courses in the top navigation.
  2. Click the course title, and within the Evaluation Events box, click Export Evaluation Results.
  3. Click Export and a CSV file will be downloaded to your computer. Open this file with a spreadsheet software like Excel to make and save changes.
  4. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Grades in the Course Navigation.
  5. Click Actions and select Import.
  6. Click Choose File or Browse (depending on your browser), and locate the file you edited on your computer.
  7. Click Open.
  8. Click Upload Data. The Canvas gradebook will be updated.

Tips

  • Canvas will create a new assignment and related column in the gradebook, after you complete these steps, but students will not need to do anything new (i.e., they will not have to complete the assignment in Canvas).
  • Qualitative feedback cannot be directly synced with Canvas, as it doesn't have a numerical value to send. In these cases, you may wish to use the export option to manage scores yourself, before uploading them into Canvas.
  • The export and upload option is best for weighing in outside factors, such as participation in iPeer or performance in a group presentation, to the students' overall iPeer grades.

Where can I get more support with iPeer?

Pedagogical support

  • Connect with an educational consultant for guidance on how to incorporate peer evaluations into your course, by completing the CTLT request form and choosing “Consultation”.

Technical support

If you have trouble with iPeer:

Learn more


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1. Teaching and Learning Services. (2020). Using peer assessment to make teamwork work. Montreal: Teaching and Learning Services, McGill University.