Setting Up Participants & Groups

Xorro-Q in 7 Bites

1. Becoming a Facilitator
2. Get started with Instant Activities
3. Preparing activities
4. Setting up participants and groups
5. Running your live sessions
6. Using Q-Bank to find & manage questions
7. Results, dashboards & reports

4. Setting Up Participants & Groups

WhyThe Participants TabCreating ParticipantsCreating GroupsImporting ParticipantsResourcesComing Up

Welcome to this, the fourth chapter, in "7 Bites". In this section we're going to explore how you can (optionally) set up your participants and organise these into groups.

Why? Of course, you can just allow participants to access your activities by using a temporary "Alias", or nickname. In the absence of pre-registered participants, enabling access using "alias" is the default setting. This is ideal either for audiences which you cannot conveniently pre-enrol (for example unknown members of the public), or in cases where your participants might want to remain anonymous.

However, pre-registering your participants (when possible) has the added advantage of securely identifying them. This means that you will be able to extract reports on participant progress over multiple sessions as well as attendance and engagement reports by participant. The participant experience is also slightly improved.

To get started, visit the The Participants Tab in your QF site. This is where you can create and edit Participants and Groups, or to import these in bulk using a CSV file. For example, you might choose to import an entire school or faculty roll of students, complete with their course or class memberships. Or, you might prefer to "enroll" participants one at a time and later organise them into groups to suit your needs.

Creating Participants On clicking the "Create Participant" button, you'll be presented with a form in which to enter the first and last name of the Participant (these are compulsory fields). You may also enter a unique ID here; whilst this is not compulsory, it is very useful as this permits a Facilitator to manage access to activities using either ID or group membership. ID must be unique and may be any combination of alphabetic and numeric characters (case is sensitive).

You might choose to join this participant to a group now; otherwise leave this step until later when you might select group members from a large participant list.

On selecting "Create Participant", you return to the Participants page with your new Participant included.

Creating Groups In just the same way, you can press the "Create Groups" button on the right hand side of the Participants page and complete the resulting form. It's as simple as giving the Group a name (the label by which it will be identified in reports and lists) and a unique Group code.

(Note: When giving names to Groups, keep in mind how these will appear in reports and lists. Be aware also that Groups are (by default) shared across the entire institution and are visible to other Facilitators. It's best to make the name a clear identifier and one you will find quickly within a long list.

Importing Participants and Groups 

Preparing your Participants CSV file    Uploading the Participants CSV file   Use Cases

Participants, teams / teamsets and groups can be imported in bulk from a Participants CSV file.  Using the one CSV file, it is possible to import any or all of the participants in an institution, organised into groups, and into teams within the specified groups.

Importing the participants CSV file creates a "teamset" for each affected group.  Think of a teamset as a particular arrangement of participants into teams: in the event the arrangement must be changed in any way, the teamset is changed.   However any results which were collected using the original teamset are preserved.  One group may have zero to many teamsets associated with it, ie multiple ways in which its participants have been organised into differing teams. For a Peer Assessment to launch there must be at least one teamset.  Furthermore, for a Peer Assessment to launch every participant in the group must be assigned to a team.

Importing this CSV file can be done in either of the following ways:

  • By pressing the "Import Group" button found near the top right of the Participants tab, or
  • When launching a Peer Assessment, by pressing the "Import" button on the launch form (next to "Teamset").

Preparing your Participants CSV File

The Participants CSV file is a file created for importing Participants in bulk into Xorro-Q, specifying their memberships in Groups and Teams.

A sample Participants CSV file is available for download.  Use this CSV file as a template, making sure to delete any sample data which is not wanted in the final group lists. 

The same CSV file format applies to all imports of participants, teams / teamsets, and groups.  The column headings used on the CSV file are critical, and must be identical to those shown below.    Notice that case matters:  "group_code" is not the same as "Group_Code", "Group_code", "group code" or "group-code".  Use the headings shown, with exactly the same characters and case, and taking care not to add any other characters (such as spaces or punctuation) to them:

id first last group_code team email
  • id - Compulsory field. Identifier for this participant, must be unique for the entire institution
  • first - Compulsory field. Participant's first name
  • last- Compulsory field. Participant's last name
  • group_code - Optional field. The code for the group (ie course or class) into which the participant is being enrolled. If the participant is in multiple groups, supply a separate line for each group in which the participant is a member.
  • team - Optional field. The name of the team in which the participant is a member. 
  • email - Optional field. The participant's email.

The order of the columns is not important. Columns containing non-compulsory and unwanted data may be ommitted from the import CSV file. 

Some data is critical (id, first, last) and the import will not succeed without that data.  Some data ('team') is dependant on other data ('group_code'), so if participants are to be organised into teams then they must be assigned to a group.  

The following outline the "rules" associated with the organisation of participants into groups, and into teams within groups:

  1. Every participant must have a first name ('first'), a last name ('last'), and an ID ('id').
  2. If the Participant will be involved in Peer Assessment activities, then the Participant's email must be provided.   (If the email is not provided then the import will succeed and the activity will be launched, but automated email notifications available through Peer Assessment will fail. Consequently, the facilitator will need to advise participants directly about the Activity URL, manage reminders, and the availability of interim and final results).
  3. It is best practice for participants to be assigned to at least one group; much of the reporting functionality in Xorro-Q revolves around group membership and not including this may significantly detract from data analysis options.  
  4. For participants to be assigned to teams, they must be in a group. A particular arrangement of participants into teams (within the group) is a teamset.  
  5. For a successful Peer Assessment, each team must comprise 3 or more students allocated with the same team identifier ("team_id" field in the CSV import file). The import of teams with 2 or fewer members will proceed and the Peer Assessment can be launched, however an Active Warning will be sent to the Facilitator to warn of the discrepancy and teams with 2 or less participants will be ignored by Peer Assess Pro.
  6. Where a group contains participants assigned to teams, then all participants in the group must be in a team.
  7. The participant can be a member of only one team in the same group. A participant may belong to different teams in different groups.

Where a participant is a member of multiple groups, or of multiple teams in different groups, this is represented in the Participants CSV file as multiple rows for this participant, with duplicate "id", "first" and "last" entries, one row for each group_code & team.  Xorro will automatically neglect any duplicate entries, but add or edit any new group or team memberships.

Example:  Consider the following list of ten participants as correctly loaded in a Participants CSV file::

id first last group_code team email
BOWI12 Bob Wilson 123.101 Tiger
ALJO11 Alice Jones 123.101 Panda
JOSM13 John Smith 123.101 Tiger
JOSM13 John Smith 123.202
GRGR15 Greta Green 123.101 Panda
GRGR15 Greta Green 123.204    
HEJO19 Henry Jones 123.101 Tiger
AMTO01 Amanda Tolley 123.101 Bear
JEWA06 Jeff Wang 123.101 Panda
HOBR03 Holly Brown 123.101 Bear

In this example There are three groups (eg courses) indicated.  Only one of these three groups (123.101) involves teams.  Every participant who is in 123.101, is assigned to a team, and in each case must have an email address in the record. 

Participant records assigned to the groups which will not run team activities do not need team or email information, but adding this will have no adverse effects.  Note that Gretna Green is a member of 123.101 in team "Panda", and in another line she is also recorded for group 123.204 (no team specified, and no email is required in the second record).    John Smith is also in 123.101 as well as another group without a team, but in this case his email has been added to the record for the other group (123.202).

Note that one of the teams in 123.101 (team "Bear") has only two participants in it and hence would be skipped in a Peer Assessment unless more participants are added later.

Uploading the Participants CSV file

The CSV file containing the list of participants to be imported can be uploaded in either of the following ways:

  • By pressing the "Import Group" button found near the top right of the Participants tab, or
  • When launching a Peer Assessment, by pressing the "Import" button next to "Teamset" on the launch form: this imports only the records in the file which pertain to the specified Group for the Peer Assessment activity.

In either case, a preview of the uploaded data will be displayed.  If the data includes multiple groups and teams then the user can select a group and a teamset (if relevant) and preview its data.  The import can be cancelled at this point, or advanced by pressing the "Import" button at the foot of the preview form.

Note that if importing the Participants CSV file from the Launch Peer Assessment form, only the data directly relating to the group specified on the form will be imported.  The composition of the teamset associated with that one group_code will be shown in the preview, rather than the entire dataset in the Participants CSV file.  Upon launch of the activity, just ONE Group bound with the teamset will be created.  The Groups specified by the remaining group_ids in the Participants CSV file will be ignored. 

Once the import is progressed, the group(s) imported will be visible and may be edited as usual from within the Participants tab.

Use Cases

The following Use Cases are anticipated for importing participants, teams, teamsets and groups using a CSV file (Participants CSV file):

  1. Importing all participants for one or multiple groups:  Import of a single CSV file containing many participants associated with one or multiple groups permits one upload of a large set of participants (eg a complete school roll of students), specifying in which groups (or courses) the participants (students) are enrolled.  Subsequent imports can over-ride initial entries.
  2. Importing participants organised in multiple teams and multiple groups:  As for (1), where participants' team memberships are also supported within the same import CSV file.  In this case, some participants may be associated with multiple teams and with multiple groups provided that no participant can be in more than one team within any one group, but participants may be in multiple groups (and hence a participant may be in multiple teams in separate groups).  A special Use Case is where a large "super-group" (such as all the students enrolled in a large course) is first divided into separate groups for the purposes of using Xorro.  These groups might follow streams or tutoring groups or any other useful division.  Each is designated by a separate group_id. All participants in each "division" will have the same group_id, but will be allocated to different team_ids (their teams).  The import of the CSV will produce multiple groups, each with its own teamset.  Note that in this case, the "super-group" has no reporting status in Xorro.
  3. Re-import of a previously imported set of participants where students' allocations to teams is changed:  The second (and subsequent) import will have the effect of over-riding earlier imports while preserving any collected Results data in its original form, EXCEPT where Peer Assessment data has already been received from affected participants; in these cases the Peer Assessment results collected from all team members in affected teams will be deleted and those participants will need to resubmit their responses (now subject to their changed team composition) before the Peer Assessment activity can be concluded.
  4. Updates of running Peer Assessments: The launch of a peer assessment activity using one teamset, and then subsequent update of the team composition (eg by adding new participants or new teams, or changing team members from one team to another);
  5. Re-use of previously created teamsets:  The launch of a peer assessment activity using a teamset previously created (for example, through a teamset created when launching a previous activity), including unmodified and modified teamset compositions.


Also read:  Participant  Facilitator  Group  Teams and Teamsets   Running Peer Assessments from Xorro-Q



Resources: See the User Manual for the full story; the Quick Reference Guide covers key points in just 2 pages.

Coming up: In the next installment "Bite" we'll be taking a deeper look at running activities. By then you'll probably already have some experience with running activities with audiences.... We'll be looking at tips and tricks which will save you time and effort. As always, feel free to read ahead!


Categories: Xorro-Q, Facilitators.