Getting started

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Creating your course

  • To create a standalone course, create an account at; the onboarding process will walk you through course creation.
  • To create a course integrated with your institution's Learning Management System (LMS), read our setup documentation. Once installed, launch into Perusall. The course set up is the same as a non-integrated (standalone) course. 
  • Inside your course, under Course Home > Getting Started Perusall will walk through a 4-step process for initial course setup:
    • Step 1: Welcome give you the option to start with an empty course or copy an existing course.
    • Step 2: Select Content gives you the option to add content from the Perusall catalog to your course Library.
    • Step 3: Student Cost
      • If your course:
        • Uses only free materials, you can decide what the platform access fee is for your students.  Click here to learn more.
        • Adopts a book from our catalog, you can review pricing details about your selected item(s) here.
        • Is from an institution with a license, there is no cost to your students.
    • Step 4: Basic Settings asks for the basic course settings; such as providing the course end and start date, if you will be using Perusall’s analytics, enrollment estimate, and if using LMS integration, how you would like the grades to sync over. You can always change your settings later.
    • Step 5: Ready to go! provides further tips.

Setting course policies

  • Navigate to Settings > General to set overall course information.
  • Navigate to Settings > Access to manage access to your course:
    • The Student tab shows the course code. This is what you will share with students so they can enroll in the course. (If you are integrating with your LMS, there is no course code as they will launch Perusall from inside your LMS course.)
    • The Instructor and Teaching Assistant tabs allow you to invite other instructors and TAs into your course by sending an invitation to their email inbox. You can also allow other instructors to copy the content and settings (but not the student data) from your course by sharing a copy code with them.
  • Navigate to Settings > Grouping to manage discussion groups. Learn more about groups.
  • Navigate to Settings > Scoring to determine how Perusall will generate engagement scores. Learn more about scoring.
  • Navigate to Settings > Integrity to configure tools for promoting academic integrity in your course. 
  • Navigate to Settings > Terminology to customize the course terms in the user interface to match your use of Perusall.
  • Navigate to Settings > Advanced to adjust fine-grained course options for comments, documents, and class chats. 

Adding readings to your course

  1. Navigate to Course home > Library on your course home page. 
  2. Click Add content and select the type of content to add to your course.  Learn more about what type of materials can be added to your course.

Creating assignments

  1. Navigate to Course home > 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.

Viewing discussions within the text

  1. Navigate to Course home.
  2. Open a document in the Library tab, or open an assignment in the 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. Conversations initiated by students will appear as yellow highlights, and conversations initiated by an instructor will appear as blue highlights.
  4. Highlight text or images by clicking and dragging your mouse, or using our figure annotation tool. (see more info here) 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. Instructor-initiated threads will appear with a blue highlight, and student-initiated threads with a yellow highlight. 
  5. 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 can click the checkmark to “upvote” the response and indicate that it was helpful for their understanding.
  6. Control the highlights that you see by clicking the All comments filter dropdown at the top of the page and selecting a filter. (For example, you can show only your own comments, only unread comments, or none at all.)

Managing groups

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. Learn more about groups and how you can manage the process

Managing grades

Perusall's automatic grading engine will automatically score all student work in an assignment and assign an overall score. You can control how Perusall incorporates various metrics of engagement into students’ overall scores.

  • First, navigate to Settings > General> and scroll down to Scoring and analytics. There are four options
  • Next, navigate to Settings > Scoring > General to indicate when you would like scores to be released to students. (By default, students will not see any scores for an assignment until you release them in the Gradebook, so you have an opportunity to review first.) You will also be able to adjust the overall score range all assignments are based on. 
  • Navigate to Settings > Scoring > Automatic Scoring to customize how automatic scoring works in your course. Perusall can use seven different components to calculate a student's work in an assignment; you can customize each component and its weight in the overall calculation. To customize a component, click on the colored box for that component to reveal its options. To set a component’s weight, change the percentage allocated to that component. (Your percentages can add up to more than 100%, which does not award extra credit but rather gives students flexibility in how they can earn full credit.)
  • View assignment scores by navigating to the Gradebook.
    • Within the gradebook, click on a score to reveal additional details about how the score was computed. On the resulting details dialog, you’ll be able to make manual adjustments if you prefer.
    • If your institution has Turnitin integration enabled, Perusall will display a (T) icon next to any scores representing student work that Turnitin has assigned a high similarity score to. Click the score and navigate to the Turnitin tab to review the full report from Turnitin. Click here to see how Perusall helps promote academic integrity in courses

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