What is Perusall?
Perusall is an ebook platform with a collaborative annotation tool that helps students learn more, promote class engagement and discussion.
Perusall helps you master readings faster, understand the material better, and get more out of your classes. To achieve this goal, you will be collaboratively annotating the readings with others in your class using a digital text. The help you’ll get and provide your classmates (even if you don’t know anyone personally) will get you past confusion quickly and will make the process more fun. While you read, you’ll receive rapid answers to your questions, help others resolve their questions (which also helps you learn), and advise the instructor how to make class time most productive. You can start a new annotation thread in Perusall by highlighting text, asking a question, or posting a comment; you can also add a reply or comment to an existing thread. Each thread is like a chat with one or more members of your class, and it happens in real-time. Your goals in annotating each reading assignment are to stimulate discussion by posting good questions or comments and to help others by answering their questions.
Research shows that by annotating thoughtfully, you’ll learn more and get better grades, so here’s what “annotating thoughtfully” means: Effective annotations deeply engage points in the readings, stimulate discussion, offer informative questions or comments, and help others by addressing their questions or confusions. To help you connect with classmates, you can “mention” a classmate in a comment or question to have them notified by email (they’ll also see a notification immediately if online), and you’ll also be notified when your classmates respond to your questions.
Here’s an example of assignment scoring for students in a course:
For each reading response assignment, we will evaluate the annotations you submit on time (see below). Based on the overall body of your annotations, you will receive a score for each assignment as follows
3 = demonstrates exceptionally thoughtful and thorough reading of the entire assignment
2 = demonstrates thoughtful and thorough reading of the entire assignment
1 = demonstrates superficial reading of the entire assignment OR thoughtful reading of only part of the assignment
0 = demonstrates superficial reading of only part of the assignment
How many annotations do I need to enter?
When we look at your annotations we want them to reflect the effort you put in your study of the text. It is unlikely that that effort will be reflected by just a few thoughtful annotations per assignment, that being said, the minimum contribution is four annotations per assignment. On the other extreme, 30 per assignment is probably too many, unless a number of them are superficial or short comments or questions (which is fine, because it is OK to engage in chat with your peers). Somewhere in between these two extremes is about right and, thoughtful questions or comments that stimulate discussion or thoughtful and helpful answers to other students’ questions will earn you a higher score for the assignment. Note, also, that to lay the foundation for understanding the activities, you must familiarize yourself with each assignment in its entirety. Failing to annotate the entire assignment will result in a lower score.
What does “on time” mean?
The assignments in this course depend on you having done the reading in advance, so it is necessary to complete the reading and post your annotations before the deadline to receive credit. We may choose to allow a late annotation period during which the credit for your annotations linearly decreases from 100% at the deadline to 0% at the end of the late annotation period.
To encourage discourse, we will provide a reply window after each deadline during which you can continue to reply, for full credit, to questions posted by others. However, the number of additional points you can earn after the deadline is capped at the credit you receive for annotations made on that assignment before the deadline.
We would like to show you a set of example annotations with associated quality scores and an explanation for each score, to help you get a feel for what sorts of comments and questions they should be posting.
The Perusall platform is free for students, instructors, and educational institutions. Perusall can be accessed through Montclair’s Canvas learning management system.
1. Go to “Settings” under Course Navigation on the left side of the screen.
2. Go to “Apps“, search “Perusall“, and click the application.
3. Click “+ Add App” and enter the Consumer Key and Shared Secret (available via the MSU Faculty Canvas Orientation course).
4. Go to “Navigation“, scroll to the bottom and drag “Perusall” from the hidden section to the top section, then click “Save“. Afterwards, click “Perusall” on the left side of the screen to start using the program!
For help, please go to Persuall Support
- Perusall Instructor’s Guide
- Perusall Live Demo
- Setting up Groups
- Setting up Different Assignments for Different Students