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Using Perusall

Why Use It

Getting students to complete the assigned readings before class is often a problem. Perusall is a free social learning platform for reading and annotating that aims to motivate students through active and collaborative learning strategies.

The instructor creates a “course” in Perusall via the Cougar Courses connection, uploads readings or adopts the electronic version of a textbook from publishers, then creates reading assignments. While reading the text, students highlight, post or reply to comments or questions associated with the highlighted material, or create private notes.

Perusall creates groups and calculates grades based on multiple factors. As the due date approaches, Perusall monitors continuously, and sends students a private nudge with help and directions. Best of all, the Perusall dashboard provides you with a window into your students’ learning. The software generates a confusion report and other analytics about individual student engagement, as well as alerting you to at risk students.

How To

These instructions will help you get up and running with Perusall. If you can't find the answer here, check the Perusall Instructor Support. You'll find a link to contact Perusall support on their help page.

Adding a Perusall Activity

  1. Create your Perusall “course” by adding an External Tool activity.External tool interfacePerusall creation interface
    1. In the desired topic, select External Tool from the Add an Assignment or Resource link.
    2. Enter an Activity name, e.g. Course Readings in Perusall.
    3. Select Perusall from the Preconfigured tool dropdown.
    4. In the Grade section, set the maximum grade for all the Perusall readings.
    5. If using categories in your gradebook, select the grade category.
    6. Scroll to the bottom and click Save and display.

The Perusall Interface

Main Perusall interface

  • Course home - When you click on the Perusall link on your CC homepage, Perusall will open to your course home in a new window.
  • Course setup – Add readings, set up due dates, adjust group size and scoring.
  • Gradebook – View current scores for each assignment
  • Roster - Students are automatically enrolled and listed on the roster when they access Perusall through the link in your CC the first time.
  • Notifications - Users are notified via email when anyone responds to a question they’ve posted, or when they’re mentioned in a comment. All notifications can be viewed, and email notifications managed here. Students can also see a list of assignments due soon here.

Course Setup

Adding readings to your courseThe Perusall library interface

  1. Click on Library on your course home page.
  2. To add a book from Perusall's catalog, click Add > Textbook.
  3. To upload a reading (PDF or EPUB format) from your computer, click Add > Documents from my computer or Add > Documents from Dropbox.
  4. To add a web page as a reading, click Add > Web page.

Creating assignments

  1. Click on Assignments on your course home page.
  2. Click Add assignment and select the document you want to assign.
  3. Select the part of the document to assign, specify a deadline, and click Save changes. Learn more about managing assignments

Setting course policies

  • Navigate to Settings > General to set overall course policies about assignment availability and scoring.
  • Navigate to Settings > Grouping to manage discussion groups. Learn more about groups
  • Navigate to Settings > Scoring to determine how Perusall will generate engagement scores.
  • Navigate to Settings > Advanced to adjust fine-grained course options.

Viewing discussions within the text

  1. Navigate to Course home.
  2. Open a document in the Library tab, or open an assignment in Assignments tab.
  3. When you (or your students) open a document, you'll see highlights superimposed on the document that represent comments that students have entered.
  4. Highlight text by clicking and dragging. You will see a new conversation panel appear on the right side of the page. Enter a comment or question, and press Enter to save it.
  5. When you start a comment thread, the text you highlighted will show in blue; student comments are highlighted in yellow.
  6. When someone responds to a question or comment, the original author receives a notification by email and can post their own response by replying to the email. Students that ask a question can also indicate that one or more of the responses answers their original question.
  7. Control the highlights that you see by clicking the All comments filter dropdown at the top of the page and selecting a filter.

Export Perusall Grades to Excel

  1. In your Perusall course, click the Gradebook link on the left-hand side.
  2. Click the Download link at the top right.
  3. Open the CSV file with Excel.

How scoring works.