Perusall: Interactive Reading Assignments

Perusall is a text-based social annotation/commenting/discussion tool. Instructors provide students with a text, and students use commenting to have an asynchronous discussion about the text. Depending on instructor settings, Perusall can auto-grade student work and provide instructors with analytics about how students are engaging with the text. “Texts” in Perusall are defined as articles, chapters, webpages, videos, podcasts, and more.

Perusall can help increase student engagement, build community between your students, impact their motivation to complete readings and help them collaborate and communicate with each other. It can be used in face-to-face classes as a supplement to in-person activities and instruction and in entirely online courses.


If no workshops are available, you can contact to request a consultation about using Perusall in your courses.

How to get started

  • Determine text(s) that you will want students to read or view using Perusall. Have links to the text available, or be sure it is downloaded to your computer or saved in Google Drive.
    • Note: a “text” in Perusall includes articles, book chapters, images, podcasts, and videos
  • Decide if you will want to use Perusall with the Moodle gradebook or use it independently more as a library of texts for students to read without Perusall generating grades.
    • Note: you can still access Perusall analytics about student reading/viewing behavior without using the grading functions. Also, as an instructor, you have full control over using Perusall auto-grading or manually grading within the Perusall interface.

After initially creating your account by accessing Perusall via Moodle, you can go directly to and log in with your NC State Google account to manage assignments, review student comments, and, if desired, send grades back to Moodle.

Help students learn how to use Perusall well by integrating an introductory assignment and guide them in how to write quality annotations. Note: Perusall has built-in dynamic feedback for students that will give them tips as they write. This feature can be toggled on or off by instructors.

Examples and Use Cases

Flipping/Blended Classes: In a face-to-face course with multiple reading assignments, include all readings in Perusall. Ask students to read and comment before class and then review their comments before your in-class discussion. Star comments as you review the work students have done so you can use those comments to launch a more thorough dive into the content when you meet face-to-face.

The Confusion Report: Integrate a difficult text (video, reading, infographic, etc.) and ask students to fill it with questions they have. Use the “confusion report” included in Perusall to quickly pull together topics to cover in more detail in course videos or in-person sessions.

Annotation Practice: Add a Perusall assignment in which the text is about annotating. Students can practice using the features while learning about good annotation practices. Check out this article.

Lively Student Engagement: Read the experiences of a series of Vanderbilt instructors using Perusall in various fields, including law, chemistry, and business, and check out these use cases from Yale University faculty.

Peer Review: Using “differentiated assignments” and student upload folders in Perusall can allow students to use the annotation features of Perusall to give feedback to classmates. Perusall peer review directions.

Multimedia: Perusall “texts” don’t have to just be readings. You can integrate the annotation features with video, podcast and images. Integrating multimedia in your courses can lead to more inclusive teaching practices, helping students visualize course concepts, promote deeper learning and help students engage with varied content. Learn how to integrate video and podcasts as assignments or library “texts in Perusall. Check out this blog post from Derek Bruff on his multimedia uses of Perusall.

Use Cases and Teaching Ideas

See more examples on the Perusall blog.


Perusall NC State Instructor Guide

Perusall Getting Started Guide for Instructors

Perusall Support

How is comment quality defined in Perusall?