Knowledge base | Perusall

Getting started

To start, upload the documents you want students to read and understand. If you already have the documents, drag and drop the PDFs to your course in Perusall. There's no need to split up long documents: You can use Perusall to easily assign parts of a document at different times. You can also use the Add button to upload documents from your computer or from Dropbox.

If you want students to read and annotate a textbook, use the Add button and select Textbook to browse our catalog, or request a title not listed in the catalog. (Students will need to purchase the textbook within Perusall to gain access.)

Students will have access to the document as soon as you upload them, but no scoring will occur until you create assignments. To create an assignment, highlight the document and click the Assign button in the toolbar (or drag the document to the Assignments panel); then select a part of the document to assign (by page, section, or the entire document) and set a deadline. Explore your course settings to set your scoring parameters and course policies and to invite any other instructors (e.g., any TAs) to the course.

To get students enrolled in the course, direct them to point their browser to perusall.com and either log in with Facebook, Google, or Twitter or create an account. (Logging in with Facebook, Google, or Twitter is preferable as students don't have to create an separate account and Perusall can easily get each student's photo, which is used to indicate their comments in the document.) Once they've logged in, they can click Enter an access code and enter your course access code, which can be found in your course settings.  (Alternatively, you can integrate Perusall with your LMS.)

When you (or your students) open a document, you'll see highlights superimposed on the document that represent comments that students have entered. 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. When you start a comment thread, the text you highlighted will show in blue; student comments are highlighted in yellow.

While reading the document, you can change which comments you see by clicking the All comments dropdown at the top of the page and selecting a filter to view your comments, comments by a particular student or group (see below), or only questions.

To avoid an unwieldy experience for large courses, students are automatically placed into groups for each document; students can only see and respond to comments and questions made by other students in their group. When you view the document, you can look at all students' comments together or you can also use the filter dropdown at the top of the page to view the comments from only a single group.

Once the final deadline passes for students to submit comments, the automatic grading engine will score each student's comments and questions and arrive at a final score for each reading assignment. You can view and download these scores in spreadsheet format by clicking the Gradebook button at the top of your course home page. In the gradebook, clicking on a score reveals additional details about how the score was computed, and you can use the pencil icon to manually override or enter a grade for a student.Students will not see their scores until you "release" them by clicking the appropriate button in the gradebook.