How do you help students engage with course content to help ensure they read course texts?

Perusall is a social/collaborative annotation and discussion tool synced with Moodle. Instructors add content including articles, web pages, documents, videos, podcasts, and images and then students in small groups or as a whole class engage with the content via comments and in-text discussion. Engagement includes threaded discussions, asking and answering questions, interactive polling, and embedded additional content including links and videos.

Perusall learning experiences can be graded or ungraded. Graded activities are either auto-graded by Perusall or manually graded by an instructor. The analytics associated with activities can be used by instructors via the Perusall interface and grades can also be synced with the Moodle gradebook.

To get started in Perusall, first create an account through Moodle and then you can log into Perusall to add content to a library, create assignments, engage in text-based conversations with students, and track student progress.

How do instructors and students use Perusall?

  • Peer-to-peer engagement centered around course texts including threaded discussions, hashtags, commenting, and up-voting.
  • Note-taking to help process content in a text and keep track of key concepts, questions, and quotations
  • Tracking and assessing student progress via a student confusion report and student activity reports
  • Creating a hybrid learning environment in which students read outside of class an instructor can check in on understanding before in-class discussions and activities.
  • An alternative to the traditional discussion board when the discussion is text-based. “Text” is flexibly defined to include images, videos, podcasts, and traditional texts like articles and book chapters.
  • Perusall was created by a faculty member at Harvard check out the research supporting its usage.

Screenshot of Perusall text with big red arrow pointing to comment stream box.

Faculty Experiences

Teaching Assistant Professor Anna Gibson, Department of English

  • “Perusall has changed the way I teach my literature survey courses. It helps students engage in close reading; they not only engage with the text but also with one another.”
  • “Perusall puts student voices front-and-center in discussions. I can upvote comments to show I’m engaged with them without dominating a conversation.”
  • “Students find Perusall intuitive, and the social media component helps them engage with one another around the text. I can upvote comments to show that I’m paying attention to them without dominating a discussion.”

Department Head Kevin Oliver, Teacher Education and Learning Sciences

  • “Perusall is easy to set up in Moodle, and despite being an external tool, students reported no difficulties opening assignments and accessing embedded readings. Perusall can help faculty transition a static/independent reading assignment to a more dynamic/collaborative student-to-student exercise.”

Professor Julie Sherk, Horticultural Science

  • “I love that Perusall allows students to annotate on the document and connect with each other.”

Associate Teaching Professor Carlos Goller, Department of Biological Sciences

  • “I like how easily it is to set deadlines in Perusall and export grades into the Moodle gradebook.” 
  • “Perusall tracks annotation completion and also evaluates the quality of students’ annotations. I don’t always agree with the system but it’s a great starting point. I appreciate being able to share with students how long the class spends on an article to emphasize that it was a challenge AND that all learned.”

Ready to Get Started?

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Comfortable with technology? Get started now:

  1. Step One: Create a Perusall course within a Moodle course or project space: “Add an Activity or Resource” > Choose “Perusalll” > Choose “Build my Perusall course”
  2. Step Two: Log into Perusall with your NC State Google account and follow the steps 
  3. If a site tour doesn’t start, restart it under your profile name in the upper right corner

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Would you like some guidance?

Perusall Resources