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Canvas and Perusall

dhulsey
Community Champion
34 22 26.5K

What is Perusall?

Perusall is a social annotation tool that integrates with Canvas via LTI assignments. Perusall allows students and their instructors to collaboratively markup .pdf documents. Instead of reading a document and discussing it, Perusall brings the discussion to the text.

In addition to this core functionality, Perusall offers the following features:

  • User tagging with email alerts and Perusall inbox alerts
  • RTE editor with emoji
  • Tagging of annotations as questions automatically when a user uses a question mark
  • Manual tagging of annotations as questions
  • Ability to filter annotations to view questions, unanswered questions, annotations by instructor, or annotations by a specific student.
  • automatic grading
  • Confusion report to see where students have the most questions
  • Analytics
  • downloadable .csv of all annotations in an assignment.
  • selective release to specific students.
  • manual or automatic grouping
  • public and private chat tools

Here is a video tutorial I made for my students to show how Perusall functions with Canvas:

How do I get a Perusall account?

You may sign up for an account on the Perusall website. it is a pretty easy process.

What is the cost for using Perusall?

Perusall is a newer company. There is no mention of pricing on their website. At least for now, there is no cost associated with this tool with .pdf documents you provide. However, through agreements with publishers, Perusall does sell access to some textbooks for use in Perusall.

How do I integrate the Perusall into a Canvas course?

Configure the LTI tool in a single course as follows:

1. Perusall support will email you a consumer key for this field when you email support@perusall.com and ask for credentials.

2. Perusall support will email you a shared secret to place in this field when you email support@perusall.com and ask for credentials. Be sure to backup the shared secret by storing it someplace because it will only be available once from Perusall.

3. Use the Perusall credentials to set up the Perusall App in your course settings as shown in the video.

Can I configure the Perusall LTI on the Canvas account or subaccount level?

 Yes. Although, since you can copy Perusall assignments from semester to semester, large scale deployment could result in some frustration when instructors must scroll through a long list of courses to use

Once I configure the Perusall LTI in the course, how do I set up a Perusall Assignment?

In Canvas, you will create an assignment, set the submission type to external tool, and select Perusall. Be sure to select "Load in a new tab." Perusall requires a new tab to work properly. 

264025_pastedImage_1.png

In Perusall, you will receive an interactive tour of the interface the first time you log in. The tour is pretty good and shows how to create assignments. The next time I set up an assignment, I will record the process in the new Perusall interface.

Are there any tutorials available to teach students how to use Perusall?

Perusall offers some documents to share with students on their site as well as documentation for instructors: Knowledge base | Perusall. Here are the instructions I share with my students for using Perusall: https://www.softchalkcloud.com/lesson/serve/uBxPq9DrcYjA6J/html

What are the benefits of integrating Perusall with Canvas?

By setting up the LTI with Perusall in Canvas, the Perusall account process and login process is automated for students. Names and emails get sent from Canvas to Perusall, and both students and instructors launch Perusall assignments from canvas. Users will receive Perusall email alerts when another user tags their name in an annotation similar to the Canvas community. This is especially seamless and convenient if a user already receives Canvas email alerts.

Perusall also sends automatic grades back to Canvas, but this process is not instant: the grades sync once an hour after the assignment due date has passed.

For future development, I hope to see due date and assignment name syncing between Perusall and Canvas.

What are the benefits to annotation assignments?

My students write more on an annotation assignment, with greater detail and specificity than a traditional discussion assignment. Students also seem less inclined to use uncredited internet sources. Further, I can see where my students have questions because Perusall can show me each time a question mark gets used or each time a student marks an annotation as a question.

Are there any other tips?

Yes! One nifty thing is that you can download a .csv file of all the annotations your students have done on an assignment. To download the .csv for an assignment:

1.Locate the assignment on the Perusall home page for your course

2. Click on the "All Comments" button.

3. Click on  the "Download" button in the lower right hand corner of the popup. 

Why would you want to do this? Well, if you school has a plagiarism service like Turnitin, then you can upload the .csv to your plagiarism checker. Each student's annotations are labelled with their name and grouped together, so it is easy to tell if there is a problem with a particular student.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, I would be happy to hear from you in the comments.

22 Comments
ktesterman1
New Member

 @ckofeldt ​, you guys will like this too.

KC

dhulsey
Community Champion

The video from Annotations and Automagic Grading with Perusall LTI​ is now available:

This video is currently being processed. Please try again in a few minutes.
(view in My Videos)

dhulsey
Community Champion

Quick update: Perusall is now in the App Center of Canvas. It is now much easier to configure and to update for a new term! If you manually configured the app for Canvas, I recommend deleting the configuration and using the new process. I will update the blog later, but, right now, it is the first week of classes for us.  Smiley Happy 

llane2
New Member

Thank you for doing all this! I've been using Hypothes.is periodically, but am going to jump into this for my classes, mostly due to your enthusiasm! The student how-to video is great. I'll be sure to do something similar. 

Would love to know about any challenges you've experienced? No one at my institution has used Perusall, so any advice would be great.

dhulsey
Community Champion

Hi,  @llane2 ‌! The biggest challenge right now is that I have Perusall release grades as students work. My thinking was a student could keep annotating until she got all of the points. However, my students will see a low grade and freak out email me about the low grade in Canvas, and I end up explaining to many people they can keep annotating for more points until the due date. I have posted announcements and all sorts of stuff. It doesn't matter though. Nothing speaks louder to a conscientious student than a low grade!

I am not sure what I am going to do about this yet. Smiley Happy 

Other than that, things go pretty well. I do occasionally get a student who will tag me a few dozen times in a document, but that simply seems enthusiastic to me.

For what it is worth, hypothesis.is has cool features as well. If I could do whatever I wanted with no consequences, I would probably use both, but I try to keep the interfaces my students need to learn to a minimum. 

llane2
New Member

Thanks  @dhulsey  . That makes me curious about one thing, then: what is determining the number of annotations needed to get the points? is it just quantity? is it the number of annotation you put in (default 7)?

I don't want students feeling that pressure. I'd rather have it assign a grade I can adapt after a single annotation, more like making the point a checkmark than a grade.

dhulsey
Community Champion

You can adjust the number of annotations Perusall grades, Lisa. You can also adjust the grade itself if you like. If you plan on adjusting, you do not have to release the grades until after the students have annotated. You can adjust grades in Perusall and then release the grades to students. It is pretty flexible, I think. 

llane2
New Member

LOL I'll go back into the support documents and try to figure out how to customize it. 

dhulsey
Community Champion

You can adjust it in the course settings,  and then each assignment has settings that can override the course settings. I hope that helps, Lisa! Smiley Happy 

gwendolen_warni
New Member

Thanks for this Dallas! Our uni has just moved to Canvas so forgive me if this is an obvious question, but is there anything within Canvas itself that allows students to annotate or highlight a pdf? 

dhulsey
Community Champion

I believe the mobile app has annotation tools, but the desktop version does not. For what it is worth, I have used Perusall on my iPad though, so it works on computers and mobile devices. Although, I can't imagine it would be too pleasant to use on a phone. I hope that helps,  @gwendolen_warni ‌. 

Oh, you might check out Hypothesis though. They do annotations as well ad have a Canvas integration that operates more within Canvas than Perusall. 

llane2
New Member

Dallas, could you expand on this please about Hypothes.is? I started with using that, but students had to set up a separate account, and the grading did not go into Canvas automatically - I had to download a spreadsheet to grade the annotations. So in what way does it integrate better than Perusall, would you say?

I have switched to Perusall precisely because it integrates with their one sign-in, uses their Canvas name, and autogrades to my specifications. Thanks for any help?

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

 @llane2 ‌ I haven't used the integration, but I had bookmarked this at some point:

H Canvas Alpha: Using the App - Google Docs 

(it shows using Hypothes.is with the speedgrader),

and you can ping (((Dr. Dean))) (@dr_jdean) | Twitter at Twitter for more. He's done some webinars on Canvas and Hypothes.is but I don't have them bookmarked.

llane2
New Member

Thanks! Yes, I have been working with Jeremy Dean and using Hypothesis in Canvas this year. I just didn't find it near as integrated as Perusall. 

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

He just replied over at Twitter that there are some upgrades coming to the app next week or so, but not accounts/log-on integration yet. I am glad they are still working away on it!

(((Dr. Dean))) on Twitter: "@OnlineCrsLady @LisaMLane @CanvasLMS @hypothes_is Good timing. We will b... 

🙂

dhulsey
Community Champion

Hi, Lisa! Sorry for the late reply. I would not say that hypotisis integrates better than Perusall currently. I like Perusall quite a bit, and it is what I use in my courses. My understanding from hypothsis was that they were working on a grading interface within the Canvas Speedgrader. That is pretty nifty, but I find the automatic grading from Perusall meets my needs, and it is hard to beat automatic. Smiley Happy 

llane2
New Member

Thanks, Dallas, for the explanation - now I understand what you mean by better integration. I did use Hypothes.is with SpeedGrader last year. The difficulties were with the student accounts, which confused students on set-up, and which don't link to the Canvas accounts, so the names students chose didn't always correspond, and I'd have to figure out that 98765 meant Jim Smith. With 40 students per section, this inconvenience was too much for me, so in the class I'm teaching now with Hypothes.is I do manual grading. Also, although I was initially excited about the embedding, Canvas takes up so much space on the left with its double menu that the text was too small when shrinking the document to allow for Hypothes.is's slide-out panel. In Perusall, though it does not embed, the annotations are clearly to the right of the document, rather than on top of it. And yes, the auto-grading lets me focus on the conversation rather than the points. 

llane2
New Member

If it's of interest, I created a blog post today about my experiences of Hypothes.is and Perusall in Canvas.

dhulsey
Community Champion

Thanks, Lisa. I will take a look!

dhulsey
Community Champion

Perusall has updated its interface and added some new features like a chat tool. I have made some preliminary updates to the blog post this morning and will add more as I work on building some new assignments and courses this spring. Smiley Happy 

ichecaga
New Member

Hello, I have been working with Perusall integrated in CANVAS and I have encountered a problem when automatically releasing grades after deadline. CANVAS does not seem to be getting those. It was when I was releasing as they were starting, and those were only communicating the first time, so I always had to go in there and look for the latest score after deadline and insert manually. I was hopefully for this automatic release, but it does not seem to be working of if it does, it seems to take many hours. I suspect the problem may lay on the CANVAS side, not sure.

Anyone else experiencing this synch problems? Other than that assignments are properly integrated, students access then through CANVAS etc. 

RossEmmett
New Member

How do I remove Perusall integration with Canvas? I am not using Perusall this coming semester, but I cannot remove it from the Canvas sidebar menu. I can't even make it invisible to students. I just want to make sure they don't think it is something they need to pay attention to.

Thanks. Ross