Welcome to Cochrane Classmate

Classmate is an innovative tool that enables trainers, teachers and others to use the Cochrane Crowd tasks for their students! If you teach evidence-based medicine this could be the tool for you. Watch a two-minute Classmate in a nutshell video to find out more.

Cochrane Classmate is a trainers' toolkit that lets you create exciting, interactive tasks to help your EBM students to learn about evidence production.
How it work
The benefits
Trusted evidence.
Informed decisions.
Better health.

Cochrane Crowd has enabled thousands of people interested in healthcare to come together and help identify health evidence. Many within the community have found the tasks a great way to learn.

Classmate enables you to use the Cochrane Crowd tasks as learning activities. As your students learn, they’ll also be helping Cochrane continue to identify health evidence.

Classmate can be used for a variety of learning settings: traditional classroom environments, as distance or virtual learning activities, as part of a workshop or event, as part of a fundraiser, and much more.

It’s simple to use. There are three main steps:

1

Select your learning activity

2

Invite your students

3

Make a cup of tea and watch and reward your students’ progress

Login to Cochrane Classmate

Classmate is Cochrane’s tool for developing training courses based around Cochrane Crowd.

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  • Cochrane log in
    Please log in here with your Cochrane account - you will be taken to Cochrane where you can enter your email and password. You can also create a Cochrane account there if you don't already have one


Set up task

Select a Cochrane Crowd task for your group

Select a Cochrane Crowd task for your group from the available tasks. There are currently 5 different tasks to choose from. To find out more about each of the tasks available, select one from the dropdown list and more information about that task will then be visible.

Set up task

What do you want to call this Classmate activity?

Choose something that will be easily identified by the people who you are inviting to the activity. The name will appear in any emails relating to the activity that are sent via Classmate. The title of the activity is limited to 140 characters.

Set up learning activity

Select a Cochrane Crowd learning activity

We have developed some learning activities within Cochrane Crowd that you might want to use with your students. Each one is made up of a learning part and an assessment part. They are all interactive, and you’ll be able to monitor your group’s progress. If you are new to these learning modules, you can try them yourself on Cochrane Crowd (https://crowd.cochrane.org) or read more about them by clicking the Find out more button above. We currently have three learning activities available:

Key Concepts, introduces students to some of the key concepts that are important in understanding what makes a fair comparison.

Understanding Study Designs, introduces students to the key aspects of study design

Introduction to CONSORT takes a look at the CONSORT reporting standards for titles and abstracts

Set up learning activity

What do you want to call this course?

Choose something that will be easily identified by the people who you are inviting to the course. The name will appear in any emails relating to the course that are sent via Classmate. The title of the course is limited to 140 characters.

Set up task

Are you affiliated with an institution or organisation?

If you are running this Classmate activity as part of your work connected to a particular institution or organisation, we’d love to hear about it! Please enter the name of your institution or organisation if you would like to.

Set up learning activity

Is this learning activity affiliated to an institution?

If you are running this course on behalf of an institution, maybe as a course for your students or as a training session for your researchers, then please enter the name of the institution so we can include it in emails and reports. You can leave this field blank if it’s not applicable.

Set up task

Tell your group why they should join this Classmate activity

Briefly describe why you want your group to join this activity, for example: Come and join this task so we can help to find some studies about COVID-19!

This description will be included in your invitation email to your potential participants.

Set up learning activity

What is the course all about?

Please explain to participants what the course aims to achieve and why it’s important that they participate. This description will be seen by all potential participants.

Set up task

Set the timings of your Classmate activity

You need to set the timings for your Classmate activity. Enter the start and finish times of the task in your local timezone. Classmate will automatically adjust the time for users in other timezones. The invitation emails will include these times and we’ll also send reminder emails just before the activity begins and when it is about to end.

Set up learning activity

Timings of the course

Courses can run for a set time. Enter the start and finish times of the challenge in your local timezone. Classmate will automatically adjust the time for users in other timezones. The invitation emails will include these times and we’ll also send reminder emails just before the course begins and when it is about to end.

Set up task

How many teams are there?

You can choose to put your group into different teams. If you want to pit two or more teams against each other then tell us here how many teams there will be. You can name the teams on the next screen.

Set up task

Who do you want to take part?

We need to know a couple of things on this screen. What are your team names? Secondly, who will be in the teams?  Please give us a name for each team then paste in the email addresses of everyone in that team. We’ll work out whether they need to sign up to Crowd or not.

You do not need to add all the participant email addresses at this stage. Participants can be added once the challenge is set up and even when it is running.

Set up learning activity

Who will take part in this course?

We need to know who will be on this course? Please paste in the email addresses of everyone on this course. We’ll work out whether they need to sign up to Crowd or not.

You do not need to add all the participant email addresses at this stage. Participants can be added once the challenge is set up and even when it is running.

Set up task

Set up some encouraging ’banner’ messages

Banner messages are the single-line messages that flash up during the Cochrane Crowd task you have invited your group to do. They are a really fun way to communicate with, and encourage, your ’crowd’ of participants. You can set up some banner messages ahead of your Classmate activity starting or you can just do them live once the activity is running. To do them now, simply use the options below to create your messages.

Add a banner message

Condition Message
No banner messages have been added
Set up task

Certificates

Participants will be sent an automatic certificate when the challenge is over. Only those who took part will receive a certificate

To participants

To the winner

Add a banner message to be displayed instantly in crowd

Banner messages

Condition Message
No banner messages have been added
This is where you can invite your participants to your Classmate learning activity or task. Simply click on the Add Participants button and paste in the email addresses of those you wish to invite.
If you want to send email invitations to participants click Send invites. If no participants are checked in the list below Classmate will send an email invitation to anyone who hasn't already been sent one - so if you add new participants don't forget to click Send invites again. To send invites even if you've already sent them, check the individual participants below before clicking Send invites.
(xxxx records) Page
1
of xx
Insert the details of the user here
Questions
Who's winning?

Summary

Classifications per hour

Participant contribution

Please wait...
Set up learning activity
Set up pathway

Select the Cochrane Crowd pathway you would like to use

Each pathway is linked to a set of learning activities and tasks within the Cochrane Crowd. There are currently two pathways to choose from: the student pathway and the newcomer pathway. Select the pathway of interest to you and more information about that pathway will display.

What do you want to call this pathway?

Choose something that will be easily identified by the people who you are inviting to the Classmate activity. The name will appear in any emails relating to the activity that are sent via Classmate. The title of the activity is limited to 140 characters.

Are you affiliated with an institution or organisation?

If you are running this Classmate activity as part of your work connected to a particular institution or organisation, we’d love to hear about it! Please enter the name of your institution or organisation if you would like to.

Tell your group why they should join this Classmate activity

Briefly describe why you want your group to join this activity, for example: Come and join this pathway which covers some of what we have been learning this term!

This description will be included in your invitation email to your potential participants.

Set the timings of your Classmate activity

You need to set the timings for your Classmate activity. Enter the start and finish times of the task in your local timezone. Classmate will automatically adjust the time for users in other timezones. The invitation emails will include these times and we’ll also send reminder emails just before the activity begins and when it is about to end.

How many teams are there?

Classmate activities can be run within a team or between teams. If you want to pit two or more teams against each other then tell us here how many teams there will be. You can name the teams on the next screen.

Who do you want to take part?

We need to know a couple of things on this screen. What are your team names? Secondly, who will be in the teams?  Please give us a name for each team then paste in the email addresses of everyone in that team. We’ll work out whether they need to sign up to Crowd or not.

You do not need to add all the participant email addresses at this stage. Participants can be added once the challenge is set up and even when it is running.

Using Cochrane Classmate

We built Cochrane Classmate to enable people to use the Cochrane Crowd tasks, learning activities and pathways with groups of people.

To use Classmate successfully you do need to know about Cochrane Crowd. Cochrane Crowd is a platform that offers a range of tasks and learning activities that are all to do with health!

If you are a teacher, trainer or educator in a healthcare related area, then Classmate might be a really nice tool for you. With Classmate you can find a task or a learning-only activity and invite your group of students to participate.

What tasks are available?

There are currently 5 tasks to choose from in Classmate:

RCT Identification

This task was our first task on Cochrane Crowd. The aim is to identify reports of randomised (or quasi-randomised) controlled trials. The records are presented to you as titles and abstracts. All you have to do is read the record and decide whether you think it is describing or reporting a randomised controlled trial (RCT). There is a training module that must be completed first. This training module is made up of some practice records and we estimate the training will take around 20 minutes to complete.

CT Identification

This is good task for people who are quite new to the world of trials and evidence-based healthcare. The aim of this task is to identify randomised trials. The records used for this task are from the World Health Organization’s clinical trials meta-register: the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). As with all our tasks on Cochrane Crowd, there is a training module that will need to be completed first. We estimate the training module will take around 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

DTA Identification

This is a fairly challenging task and not recommended for beginners unless their area of interest is in diagnostic tests. The aim here is to identify diagnostic test accuracy studies. The records we use for this task are from PubMed. You’ll be presented with a title and an abstract of a study. You have to decide whether it is describing a diagnostic test accuracy study. There is a training module which we estimate will take around 25 minutes to complete.

PICO Extraction

This is a great task for those learning about the PICO framework. PICO is an acronym that stands for Population, Intervention, Comparator and Outcome. For this task you are presented with a title and abstract of a study. You have to determine whether the study is describing a randomised or quasi-randomised trial and if it is, extract its key PICO elements. We estimate the training module will take around 30 minutes to complete.

COVID Quest

This is one of our more challenging (but still very enjoyable!) tasks. For this task you have to identify studies that are about COVID-19 and then describe them in terms of their study design and study aims. The training module will likely take around 25 minutes to complete.

What learning activities are available?

One point to make upfront is that Classmate is not intended to replace any teaching. We suggest it is used as a fun way to supplement the learning that is already taking place. There are currently three main learning activities on Cochrane Crowd that are available via Classmate:

Key concepts

This learning activity is made up of 7 bitesize training modules. Each micro-module introduces an important concept that will help you to understand what constitutes a fair comparison. They are designed to take only 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The modules are: Module 1: Treatments can harm; Module 2: Anecdotes are unreliable; Module 3: Expert opinion alone is not enough; Module 4: The role of comparison; Module 5: Comparing like with like; Module 6: The role of blinding; Module 7: Size matters. These micro-training modules are a fantastic introduction to some key concepts! We estimate these micro-modules will take around one hour to complete.

Introduction to Study Design

This learning activity aims to introduce you to some common study designs. It is made up of some learning and some testing of that learning, using title-abstract records. It covers the main interventional and observational study designs. We estimate this module will take around one hour to complete.

Introduction to CONSORT

This learning activity focuses on introducing you to CONSORT. CONSORT stands for consolidated standards of reporting trials. Specifically, this module looks at the reporting requirements for title and abstracts of randomised controlled trials. We estimate this module will take around one hour to complete.

What are the pathway options?

In Cochrane Crowd we have developed two ‘pathways’. One aimed at students (students studying in a health-related area) and one aimed at people completely new to evidence-based healthcare. We call these two pathways: The student pathway and The newcomer pathway. They are simply a collection of learning activities and tasks set out in a certain order for people to undertake.

The student pathway

The student pathway is made up of 7 activities:

  1. Key Concepts (7 micro-modules, each on focused on an import concept)
  2. CT ID (identifying randomised trials from ClinicalTrials.gov)
  3. RCT ID (identifying randomised trials from biomedical databases)
  4. Screen4Me (a chance to screen the search results for a Cochrane systematic review)
  5. Introduction to Study Design
  6. PICO Extraction (extracting PICO characteristics from RCTs)
  7. Introduction to CONSORT (all about reporting standards for RCTs)
    The tasks have to be done in order and we estimate the student pathway will take approximately 10 hours to complete.

The newcomer pathway

The newcomer pathway is made up of 5 activities:

  1. Key Concepts (7 micro-modules, each on focused on an import concept)
  2. CT ID (identifying randomised trials from ClinicalTrials.gov)
  3. Introduction to study design
  4. Introduction to CONSORT (all about reporting standards for RCTs)
  5. RCT ID (identifying randomised trials from biomedical databases)
    The tasks have to be done in order and we estimate the newcomer pathway will take approximately 5 hours to complete.

So how do I actually use Classmate?

We have tried to make this really simple.

1

The first thing to do is to decide what you’d like your group to do.

Would you like them to give the PICO extraction task a go?
Does the introduction to CONSORT sound good?
Or perhaps you’d like to try one of the pathways (a collection of activities)?
If you decide to go for one of the tasks, select Set up task; if you decide on a learning-only activity, select: Set up learning activity; if you decide to try out one of the two pathways, select: Set up pathway.  
Then select the specific task, activity or pathway you want.

2

The next stage (which should only take a few minutes) is to enter a few details about your task, learning activity or pathway.

These details include:

  1. What you want to call it (for example: It’s PICO time!)
  2. Enter your affiliation, if you have one (this is totally optional)
  3. Give a brief description of why you want your group to participate (for example: This task will be a great way to practice what we have learned so far about the PICO framework)
  4. Set the timings of your activity. You can make it very short – just a half hour activity or you can make it last weeks or months!
  5. You can choose to put your group into teams!
  6. Then add you group (just add the emails of those you want to take part in the task/activity/pathway)
  7. Finally, you can add ‘banner messages’ – these are short messages that will appear on the task as your group are doing the task. You don’t have to have any banner messages, and you don’t have to add them ahead of time either.
3

You are nearly done. All that’s left to do is to let your group know about the activity you want them to do. You just click ‘send invites’ and the group will get an email with instructions on how to participate.

4

Finally, sit back and relax and watch your group progress through the task, learning activity or pathway.

If you have any questions or queries about Classmate, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: classmate@cochrane.org