Perusall

Perusall, a social reading platform.

Perusall helps motivate students to engage with course readings through small group learning. Students are incentivised to annotate readings, comment on others’ posts, and ask questions. Through their peers they learn to look for the important aspects of readings leading to improved comprehension and quality discussion.

Perusall supports these learning types (see definitions):

 
 
 
 

Will it make a difference?

Perusall has been used in a small number of courses in the School of Biological Sciences since 2018, with teaching staff noting improvements in discussion quality, the level of critical thinking and preparedness.

Students read and annotate preparatory readings in small groups and comment on each other’s annotations. They can ask and answer questions (anonymously to fellow students but identifiable to teachers). An algorithm grades the annotations, offering more incentive and allowing the teacher to assess engagement without additional marking.

Add Perusall to Canvas

From 2022, Perusall assignments will be available via the Canvas Assignments menu.

Click + Assignment and give it a title.

Under submission type, select External Tool

Click Find then select Perusall

Tick the box to load the assignment in a new tab

screenshot of Canvas' assignment settings

How-to guides

Perusall guides
(from the Perusall team)

A case study in using Perusall
(video presentation – Ann Gaskett, School of Biological Sciences)
(Note: this was recorded before Perusall integration with Canvas)

Using Canvas Groups with Perusall
(from the University of Melbourne)

Social presence for engagement
(a case study from Science, the University of Auckland)

How to assess students’ ability to analyse and discuss critical readings?
(article from the University of Menbourne)

Recommendations

Set the enrolment estimate and target groups size once enrolment numbers are stable. This is to ensure more balanced groups. To find this setting go to Settings > Grouping.

Adding Perusall via Canvas Assignments will pass grades back to Canvas Gradebook, but only if the name of the Perusall assignment matches the name of the Canvas Assignment (the reliability of this feature is still being assessed).* The feature is only available with enrolments of 20+ students.

* Remember to prevent Gradebook from automatically releasing grades to students.

FAQs

My class roster is missing from Perusall?

This is normal. Your class roster in Perusall will automatically populate as students link through to Perusall (from Canvas) for the first time.

How do I synchronise grades from Perusall with Canvas' Gradebook?

Please visit the Perusall documentation. View the section called Setting up gradebook sync.

One student's grade is missing from Canvas' Gradebook?

If a student completed the assignment but their grade is missing from Canvas’ Gradebook, they may not have ‘launched’ the assignment from within Canvas. This means that Perusall doesn’t know where to post the grades back to.

Ask them to open the assignment again by following the link from Canvas Assignments section. This should enable Perusall to complete the connection and post the grade back.

See the section in the Perusall documentation called “Ensure that students are launching Perusall assignments from assignment-specific links …”

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