In addition to using Perusall as a tool to access our electronic textbook, we will also be annotating some of our readings using Perusall’s platfom.
Annotation = A note one makes on or about a text they are reading/listening/viewing.
As I’m sure you have already experienced, responding to reading actively through underlining, note-taking and annotation yields a much more powerful learning experience than does reading alone. Through our annotations, we also create a record of our reading and thinking that we can return to later. How often should you be pausing to annotate your reading? Though every text is different, an average of 2 annotations per page is a good goal to have (this guideline is an “average”, so it might be that some pages have no annotations and others have something like 4-5). Much more than that, and it might be hard to see things that stand out. Much less than that, and you probably aren’t reading deeply enough to get the most out of your reading experience
For your annotation assignments on Perusall, there will often be a minimum requirement for
each one but you are free to exceed it.
Tips on Reading/Listening/Viewing and Annotating
• Preview your text before you start reading/listening/viewing. This helps activate
things you already know about the topic and makes reading a bit smoother. Also,
knowing the general layout of the text gives you a head-start since you have a rough
idea of how the text is organized. For listening/viewing, read any episode or “about”
descriptions, if available.
• When you pause while reading/viewing/listening, this could be a natural sign that it
is time to take a note: whether you are frustrated or interested, something is
probably worth noting in terms of content but also in terms of your own processes
and feelings as a reader/listener/viewer.
• It is okay not to understand something! Your annotation can be a question.
• Put things into your own words. This helps comprehension way more than using the
same exact language of what you read. More memorable this way.
• Make connections to other things you already know from personal experience, other
readings you have done, or other parts of the text you are
reading/listening/viewing. We only know the world through what we already know.
• Notice things that are repeated and think about why they are being repeated. New
contexts to understand? A central idea being emphasized?
• Think about assumptions the writer/composer is making for their text to make
sense. What is unstated and how is that useful for any part of the text you are
• Is something ambiguous? Does it have multiple meanings? Note things that have
several possible meanings.
• Re-read your notes after you are done reading/listening/viewing but also re-read
notes before you do the next activity related to that text (e.g. preparing for class, creating a blog post, or drafting an essay).
To do an annotation assignment on Perusall, log in to Perusall with your username and
password that you’ve already set up. Click on our course (Writing 1). Then click on
Assignments and click on the appropriate assignment that you want to do for the
You can highlight any part of the text and then add our annotation on the right side of the
screen. You can create your own that way or you can respond to someone else’s annotation
to keep a conversation going.
If you see a lot of other people’s annotations and you find this distracting, there is a
dropdown menu where you can select “no comments” to view the text without any other
annotations visible. To see the annotations again, you can go to the same dropdown menu
and reverse that decision (it isn’t a permanent thing, you can go back and forth).
If you want your annotation to be anonymous where only the instructor can see who wrote
it, you can click on the button in the top right of the annotation.