What you tell your students about Perusall will vary based on how you’re using it and what learning goals you have in mind. For example, you might be teaching a Computer Science class and asking students to write 7 medium-length annotations in their textbook to prepare for an in-class group activity. Or you might be teaching an English class and asking students to write 4 long annotations close reading lines from a passage introduced in the previous class, to build on what they’ve already learned.
In general, it’s a good idea to write a message for your students the first time they use Perusall. Your message might specify details such as:
- How many annotations they should write.
- How long their annotations should be.
- Expectations for interacting with their classmates.
For example, “At least 2 of your 7 comments should be in response to a classmate.”
- What the goal of an annotation is.
For example, “Each annotation should point to a specific rhetorical choice made in the text, and explain the effect that choice creates for the reader.”
- What a successful annotation looks like.
Consider writing a sample comment in the document yourself and asking your students to look at it as a model of what they’re trying to do.
After the Perusall assignment, touch base with your students about their work, either individually as a class. It’s likely that the first set of student annotations will not meet your expectations. By explaining ways students can improve, and highlighting a few examples of strong annotations written by their classmates, you can help them to think about how to make progress on Perusall assignments throughout the semester.
Communicating Expectations for Graded Assignments
If you’re using Perusall’s automatic scoring tool, Perusall offers a PDF guide explaining the difference between scores.
The following video provides a short introduction to Perusall. You can embed it on your Canvas site or share it with your students in an email using this link.