TEAMMATES: A Tool for Student Peer Evaluations

collaboration ideas

More and more courses incorporate student teams to increase student learning. Student teams persist throughout the semester, learning to work with and support each other while promoting student learning. To facilitate effective teamwork, student peers can provide feedback to each other on their performance as team members. However, managing the feedback from each student to the other students in the team, anonymously, can be extremely time-consuming for the instructor. The online system TEAMMATES is easy to use, and will facilitate anonymous (or not) feedback between students working in teams.

TEAMMATES is easy to set up, extremely flexible, and students do not need to create an account. Click this link for a video overview. Basically, the instructor creates an account using a gmail address, sets up the course with a list of students and email addresses (downloaded from Sakai, with a column indicating the teams), and creates a session for peer evaluation. This session contains the questions for the peer evaluation. There are some questions available, or  instructors can create their own or use student questions. Instructors can include a variety of question types including essay, numeric scale, distribute points, multiple choice, and rubrics. Each question response can be adjusted to be visible to the receiving student, the team, or just the instructor, and the responses can be anonymous (except to the instructor). The opening date and time is set in the system, which emails each student a unique URL to respond. The system is marvelously flexible, and the instructor can preview the evaluation from any student’s view.

Here is one question from a TEAMMATES feedback session, from the student view:

(click image for a PDF of an example evaluation).
Several Duke instructors have used TEAMMATES and are quite happy with the work it saves them. Dr. Minna Ng, Visiting Assistant Professor, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences used TEAMMATES during the Fall of 2015 in her Neuroscience 101 course:

TEAMMATES was the perfect helper for collecting, calculating and posting peer-evaluations. All the things I didn’t want to do, would take too long or could be easily screwed up involving peer-evaluations, it took care of.

Dr. Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, Assistant Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Statistical Science, used TEAMMATES during the Fall of 2015 in her STA 101 course:

TEAMMATES has been an incredible time saver for collecting peer evaluation data as well as anonymously distributing it to students. The data export option also means the average scores per student can also easily be imported to Sakai gradebook so that all grades can be maintained on one platform. TEAMMATES has allowed me to increase the frequency of peer evaluations, which provides more consistent feedback to students and allows me to monitor closely how teams, and individual students, are doing in the class.

If you are a Duke instructor and would like a personal orientation, please contact CIT.

Possible Considerations for using TEAMMATES:

  • TEAMMATES is funded, operated and maintained by the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL) in the National University of Singapore. Therefore, TEAMMATES services may change or be terminated whenever the developers wish.
  • The student data is stored on Google servers and TEAMMATES administrators do have access to the data. See the terms of service for a little more information.
  • TEAMMATES emails students a personal link to access the evaluations; students should be warned to ensure that the email does indeed come from TEAMMATES and the link is not a phishing attempt.

 Tips for success for student peer evaluations

  • Before setting up a TEAMMATES survey, have students in teams discuss qualities that make a good team contributor. Use student suggestions for some of the questions.
  • Have students assess each other very early in the class, so that they can get feedback on their performance and make changes in their team behavior if needed.
  • Use team assessments more than once, perhaps within the first few weeks of the semester, then around midterm time, and then one more, final assessment. Many instructors run a peer evaluation after each unit.

For more information:

 Read more about Team Based Learning at Duke on our blog.
Image source: https://teammatesv4.appspot.com
Andrea Novicki

Author: Andrea Novicki

Andrea helps faculty teach effectively and efficiently. She works primarily with scientists, using her biology background, love of science and teaching experience. Her current enthusiasms include active learning, group learning (especially team-based learning) and assessment.