Using the Hypothesis Collaborative Annotation Tool in Canvas

Community Member
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It is now possible to connect Hypothesis, a free and open source collaborative annotation tool, with your Canvas course.  You could use this for activities in which your students collaboratively comment or annotate web sites, documents, and other items.  See this tutorial for how Hypothesis works, and here are some quick start guides for teachers and students.

Installing and Using Hypothesis in Canvas

See these instructions for installing the Hypothesis app in your Canvas course.

And then see how to use the Hypothesis app in Canvas Modules or use Hypothesis as part of a Canvas Assignment.

This saves you and your students time by allowing for single sign-on use of Hypothesis:

The Hypothesis LMS app automatically provisions accounts for all students enrolled in any course using the app. This means that students can navigate to a Hypothesis-enabled reading and begin annotating without ever creating or logging into a separate account. Even better, the entire course roster of students and teachers will all be joined and annotate by default in an automatically-created private Hypothesis group that matches the course in the LMS.

Gradebook integration is a feature planned for the future.

Using Hypothesis in Your Course: Pedagogical Techniques

More Videos: Using Hypothesis in Canvas

Here are some video tutorials recently posted by Hypothesis:

  1. Creating an Hypothesis PDF module item in Canvas - YouTube 
  2. Creating an Hypothesis URL module item in Canvas - YouTube 
  3. Single Signon with Hypothesis in Canvas - YouTube  

(This was originally posted to the Valencia College Circles of Innovation blog.)

7 Comments
Learner II

Hi Doug Holton‌ - Have you had any issues with Hypothesis when selecting Canvas Files or the Google Picker? 

I recently tested it for one of our faculty members and it seems very user-friendly for faculty and students. We have it installed at the Account Level. As you described, students did not have to register for a Hypothesis account to participate. Also, using Canvas eliminated the need to install the browser extension that's required outside of Canvas. 

 

The issues I had in our instance of Canvas are that selecting "Google Picker” or “Canvas File” required constant authorization during my tests. However, placing a file on the internet and using the URL worked fine: Google Drive worked great when I tested it.

Community Member

I'm not sure, but did you enter a developer ID and secret when you filled out this form? It seems to be required for using the file picker: Hypothesis 

I can't test it myself because I don't have developer permissions on our Canvas site.

If that's not the issue, I would request help from the Hypothesis folks by filling out this form: Get Help With Hypothesis – Hypothesis 

Sorry I'm not of much help

Learner II

Exciting news. Just received an email from Hypothesis. Have asked about GDPR compliance and use/storage of users data.

Learner II

I found out from Hypothesis that the authentication is expected behavior (for now). They plan to eliminate it in the future. Frequent authentication only happens when connecting Canvas Files or trying to select a Google Drive file. URL's from the internet work great. 

Community Member

Awesome - if by chance you hear any more information back, please let us know, thanks

Learner II

Email reply this evening from Dr Jeremy Dean, Director of Education. He says that they are officially GDPR compliant. He added a link in the email to the to their privacy policy stating so:

https://web.hypothes.is/privacy/

Hope this helps...

Community Member

Hypothesis recently posted a few video tutorials on using Hypothesis in Canvas. I added them to the end of the post above.

  1. Creating an Hypothesis PDF module item in Canvas - YouTube 
  2. Creating an Hypothesis URL module item in Canvas - YouTube 
  3. Single Signon with Hypothesis in Canvas - YouTube  
About the Author
Faculty developer, instructor. My background is in psychology and education. I have mostly focused on STEM education and educational technology.