Perusall Basics - Start Here

Perusall Basics - Start Here

Perusall, a collaborative annotation and reading tool, is integrated with Canvas. This page provides a roadmap to using Perusall. Note that the links to support documents and online guides will open in a new page. Some will link to the UO Teaching Support and Innovation website resources. Others will link to the Support website, and Perusall’s documentation for instructors on many aspects of using Perusall. 

For information about Perusall and Hypothesis as teaching tools, please read - Collaborative Annotation Tools - Hypothesis and Perusall.

Related Topics: Canvas Assignments, Canvas

Getting Started with Perusall

IMPORTANT!: Scanned PDF documents used with Perusall must be put through OCR before they are used in Perusall. The OCR process makes using the text selection tool in Perusall work as it should.  If the document is a scanned PDF, basically an image or picture of the document, the text selection tool will not work. If you need assistance determining if your PDFs are scans or OCR, or with converting PDFs to OCR, check out the "Creating Text Based PDFs for Hypothesis and Perusall How To."

Create a New Assignment in Canvas

Begin in your course in Canvas. Create a new Assignment using the external tool, Perusall. Creating Perusall Assignments in Canvas is explained in the Creating Perusall Assignments in Canvas How To. Once the assignment Is created in Canvas, return to this page, and follow these steps:

Setting up a Course in Perusall

Once the assignment is created in Canvas, click on the Load the “Assignment” in a new window button to open Perusall. Perusall will open in a new window and your course site in Perusall has been created for you. 

Perusall Course Settings

Click on the Settings link in on the Course Menu in Perusall. Work through each page, using the tabs at the top of the page. On the General tab, check the setting options for Availability period of assignments.  If you have GEs who should have instructor access to Perusall, click on the Access button.  In the Invite section, add your GEs’ email address(es.) Click on the Send Invitations button. Click on Save changes.

Perusall has a Student View. The link is on the navigation menu. Note that it will log you out of Perusall to present the student view. Go back to Canvas and click on the Open Assignment button to return to the assignment in Perusall.

Perusall Scoring

Scoring is done in Perusall using artificial intelligence and is based upon an algorithm. 

  • On the Settings screen, click on the Scoring button to set the scoring for your course.
  • To best understand Perusal Scoring review How Scoring Works.
  • Scoring, by default, is based on a score of 0-3. This can be changed in Settings > Advanced > Assignment Score Range. OR the Perusal score will be converted to the points scale in Canvas, if the Canvas assignment is worth a different number of points.  Since the scoring is set for the course, select a range that students will understand. If all your assignments are worth 10 points in Canvas, set this range in Perusall to 0-10.   
  • Annotation quality is defined by Perusall. Check out their explanation - How is annotation quality defined in Perusall?

Creating an Assignment in Perusall

Creating an assignment in Perusall is a two-part process. Create an assignment in Canvas first and then create a matching assignment in Perusall. Note: the name of the assignment in Canvas and Perusall must match. Link to How to: Creating a Perusall Assignment in Canvas.  A best practice when introducing Perusall to a class is to have a practice Perusall assignment (minimal points) using your course syllabus as the PDF.  This will give the students an introduction to Perusall, and they will read the syllabus more carefully.

NOTE: When using Perusall we recommend using the Until Date in Canvas as the Due Date for all assignments in Perusall. This will close the assignment in Canvas and not allow students to access the assignment in Perusall to make further annotations after the Until Date.

  1. Add/select Content
  2. Set Options (Submission deadline, Assignment name, Instructions)
  3. Scoring (use default course scoring or customize for this assignment) How do I create, edit, or delete an assignment?
  • On the Course home page, select an assignment to see the Assignment dashboard, with several buttons that are used to manage the assignments. Use the Copy full title for LMS to copy the title from Perusall. Go back to Canvas, edit the assignment, and paste that title you copied from Perusall, as the title in Canvas. This will ensure that grades from Perusall are added to the correct Assignment Grades in Canvas.

Groups in Perusall

  • Students are enrolled in the Perusall course site when they click on the Load the assignment in a new window button in Canvas.
  • Perusall will begin to create groups automatically when at least 15 students have clicked on the assignment in Canvas and opened Perusall. 
  • Perusall group assignments apply to all Perusall assignments in the course as groups is a course setting in Perusall.  More information about Perusall Groups is available on the webpage - How do Groups Work?
  • Want to use a Canvas Group Set?  On the webpage - Canvas Setup, scroll down to Syncing Perusall groups with Canvas groups. Instructions are there!  Warning: Perusall does not work with Canvas Group Sets if there is more than one Canvas Group Set in the Canvas course.  If you have more than one Canvas Group Set use Perusall to set up the groups.  

Confusion Report

What is a Confusion Report? Review - How do I review student work?  The Confusion Report is on the Assignment Dashboard.

Gradebook in Perusall

Grades in Perusall can be reviewed by selecting Gradebook on the left navigation menu. Note that grades, once released to students in Perusall are synched with Canvas Grades. Review Scoring & Grades documentation at

Want to become a Perusall power user? Check out and their many instructor support documents at Perusall Support

For further assistance, UO Online & Canvas Support is available.

  • In-person: Room 68 PLC
  • By phone: (541) 346-1942
  • By email:
  • Chat with us at
  • Submit a Service Portal Ticket by clicking the Help button at the bottom of the Global Navigation Menu in Canvas.