Webinars and talks

SALTISE Webinar | ComPAIR: Using Assessment to Support Learning

February 04, 2022 | 2:30 - 4:00 PM


About this event

In this webinar, will talk about using comparisons to facilitate learning using ComPAIR, open-source, peer feedback and teaching technology developed at the University of British Columbia. ComPAIR is currently being used in over 60 courses across all disciplines and faculties at the University of British Columbia and at six institutions outside of the University of British Columbia. ComPAIR makes use of students’ inherent ability and desire to compare: according to the psychological principle of comparative judgment, novices are much better at choosing the “better” of two answers than they are at giving those answers an absolute score. By scaffolding peer feedback through comparisons, ComPAIR provides an engaging, simple, and safe environment that supports two distinct outcomes: (a) students learn how to assess their own work and that of others in a way that (b) facilitates the learning of subtle aspects of course content through the act of comparing.

In this session, we’ll discuss why comparisons facilitate learning, and our presenter, Dr. James Charbonneau, will do a demonstration of what students see when they use ComPAIR. He’ll also give a specific example of using ComPAIR in a third-year course on the Physics of Climate and Energy where we do four-week-long “ big picture questions” that have students tackle vaguely defined problems as a class but submit papers individually to ComPAIR.

To explore ComPAIR, click here and check out our sandbox site. Details on how to set up ComPAIR at your own institution can be found here.


James Charbonneau

James Charbonneau

Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UBC

Dr. James is an Associate professor of teaching in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Associate Dean, Students for the Faculty of Science at UBC. He is a two-time Killam Teaching Award winner and spends most of his time either teaching or thinking about how to make teaching and learning better.


Additional information


Phoebe Jackson,
Michael Dugdale,

Please note


  • Potter, Tiffany et al. (2017, September). ComPAIR: A new online tool using adaptive comparative judgment to support learning with peer feedback.
  • Teaching and Learning Inquiry, [S.l.], 5(2), 89–113.
  • Thurstone, L. L. (1927). A law of comparative judgment. Psychological Review, 34, 273–286.
  • Bransford, J., & Schwartz, D. (1999). Rethinking transfer: a simple proposal with multiple implications. Review of Research in Education, 24, 61–100.