Grouper for iPad

Getting stuff done with Grouper

Recent studies show that groups perform as well as their worst member. Grouper automatically places people impartially into groups for you. You can easily import or create your participants and groups - and the allocation into those groups is the output.

Why would you use it?

Have you ever had to put students repeatedly into groups for a subjects over the course of a study year? Or build sports teams impartially, or even needing separate the experts into different teams? And then do this over and over again? It takes a long time without something to assist you. Grouper will allocate participants fairly into groups in minutes at the most. Normally grouping people well, is hard to do fairly, and doing it manually can take you many hours for a participant greater than ten. Grouper is useful for grouping students for subjects over an academic year or semester, organising sports teams, where teams are actually different for the next game, grouping models (for example when competing in Transylvania's or Rapanui's Next Top Model) - and other competitive type group activities.

How's it do it?

In the simplest case Grouper tries to allocate participants who have been together before in the same time period, to different groups within a class or team, but can influence the allocation by setting categories, so that participants are either more likely to be together or less likely.

What it is not!

It is not a class room admin program, it does not do other resource (such as teachers, coaches etc) allocation. It is not a round robin organiser.

Background

Grouper was created because of a common situation, that happened to someone we know, while they were doing a Masters course. In this course - like many tertiary courses - during the semester there are many subjects, and within each subject there is often necessary group work, and so people are allocated into groups. An issue arose that had a significant impact on the grade of the person we know. Basically he was grouped 4 times with the only person that ended up being evicted from the course. Evicted for doing no work. No other student was grouped with this recalcitrant person more than once. It turned out that is was difficult for the administrators to fairly partition students as the year went on, they made many mistakes like this, and it took them many hours per subject to do. Grouper is the solution to this problem.

As mentioned above, recent studies show that groups perform as well as their worst member. Therefore the goal is to to fairly mix groups so that for each new grouping the same people are hopefully not together any more than they are with other subject participants. In the simplest case Grouper tries to allocate participants who have been together before in the same time period, to different groups. The most perfect algorithm to do this would take many thousands years to complete its calculation. Therefore Grouper's algorithm takes some pragmatic shortcuts and it currently limits the participants enrolment per year at 200. If your perfect allocation does not quite happen - you can manually move participants between groups. You can influence the allocation by setting categories, so that participants are either more likely to be together or less likely to be together. For example you might want to split up experts, or you might prefer females to be together as much as possible. You can enter as many categories as you like to do this, but they don't make reference to other categories - so a person could be both male and female if you want it to be so, which might be an error, but someone being both a German speaker and and English speaker might be exactly what you want - you get to decide.

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