In this supportive guide you will find resources on how to use this tool in your teaching. 

  • For general information about Perusall, please see back to the tool's main page.
  • For details on technical help with this tool, please refer to the support section on the main tool page.


Perusall is a social annotation tool that allows students, instructors, and TAs to markup readings (e.g., documents) or videos collaboratively. It brings class discussion directly into the learning artifacts. It can help students prepare for class, by engaging with materials and each other before a lecture.

Teaching examples


Enhancing student engagement with the syllabus.
A great way to introduce Perusall in your course is to use it to share your syllabus at the start of the term. Students can be instructed to access the syllabus through Perusall and ask questions on the document using the annotation tools.

Enhancing student engagement with answer keys.
Once an assignment/exam has been graded and returned to students, instructors often provide an answer key. For some students these answer keys may provide more questions than answers. By uploading the answer key to Perusall and assigning it to students, they can ask any questions they have about the provided answers and respond to each other's questions. Depending on the settings, these questions and answers could be visible to all students in the class to enhance their ability to benefit from the answer keys.


Extending student preparation and engagement in seminars and tutorials
Many seminars and tutorials involve students discussing readings with one another. Perusall annotation tasks could be used before or after the synchronous seminars and tutorials to prepare or continue the discussions.

Extending peer feedback using Perusall
Have students collaboratively provide peer feedback on each other's work. Students providing feedback can read and build on the comments and suggestions from their peers. All of the Persuall annotation tools are available. To begin the process, create a student upload folder. Learn more here: How do I setup peer review?

Extending student understanding of expectations and criteria
You could upload examples of deidentified student submissions from prior terms or earlier drafts (with permission) to Perusall. You could then have students review, annotate, and discuss these submissions in comparison to provided expectations and criteria (e.g., a rubric). In debriefing the Perusall activity, you could address the comments and questions to clarify confusion about the criteria. This activity could be tweaked to co-construct the criteria with your students. Instead of having them discuss the submissions in relation to provided criteria, you could ask them to highlight and discuss things that are well-done in the submissions (as well as things that should be improved). From these, develop the assessment criteria as a class.


Students could find journal articles or other materials on a topic from the course they would like to explore more deeply. As a class they use which ones to annotate, ask questions about, and suggest further paths to explore.

Teaching tips and strategies

Focusing your in-class activities based of Perusall engagement

Perusall is a great tool to make learning active and social.

The annotations are also very beneficial for the instructor. Having students read pre-class materials and then annotate and comment on each other's annotations before class provides you with a clear picture of where students are struggling or confused. Perusall even generates a "confusion report" for you. Use this information to prioritize which topics you explore in depth during your synchronous time together.

Choosing the readings to use with Perusall

The use of Perusall is free for instructors and students, but you must be mindful of the copyright status of the materials being uploaded. FAQ #9 on this USask Library page describes the specific considerations for Perusall.

  • Consider using materials you have created, from Creative Commons, or openly licensed materials.
  • There are opportunities to use commercial textbooks within Perusall if you have students purchase access to a Perusall version of the book. Please connect with the USask Bookstore well-in-advance of the term if you want to explore that route.
  • In general, the more your students use Perusall in your course, the more comfortable students they will be with the platform and, in turn, the better the annotations, discussion, and formative assessment data you'll get from it.

Resources to support

Additional resource links:

Turn Pre-Class Readings into Social Learning - Blog post, Educatus by the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning