Perusall: Add social annotation assignments to Moodle

Perusall is an online social annotation platform, which instructors can use to add graded or ungraded collaborative annotation and discussion assignments to a Moodle course. Instructors can upload their own text, audio, or video files or draw from Perusall's library of open-source and commercially published e-textbooks. Perusall accounts are free, although students may need to pay for access to commercially published textbooks and materials.

Before you start, you may need:

  • a Instructor of record or Other editing teacher role in a Moodle course 
  • Perusall instructor account (you can create this when adding your first Perusall activity if needed)

Create a Perusall link from your Moodle Course

Prefer video? See Perusall's instructor setup demo

Follow the instructions below to add a Perusall activity to your Moodle course that creates and links to a corresponding Perusall course. You and your students can click this activity to open your course's home page in Perusall.

  1. Log into your Moodle course and switch Edit Mode on.
  2. Click +Add an activity or resource in the section where you want to add the link to Perusall.
  3. Select Perusall from the Add an Activity or resource window.
  4. Type in an Activity name.
  5. Click Save and Display.
  6. Click Open in a new window to open your Perusall course in a new browser tab.

Tip: Whenever the Perusall activity is launched in your Moodle course, Perusall checks the Participants list in your Moodle course and adds or removes people from the roster on the Students tab of your Perusall course if needed to sync them.

Set up your Perusall course

Follow the steps on the Get Started page to begin setting up your course. If you are new to Perusall, be sure to expand the Tips for course setup in the first step to learn more about how Perusall assignments work and how you can use data about student engagement with materials to calculate grades automatically (if desired). 

At step 3, Basic Settings, you will configure a few settings that control grading

  • Scoring and analytics controls whether and how assignments are graded in Perusall:
    • Automatic grading and engagement analytics (default). Perusall to auto-grade based on students' interactions with the assigned material.
    • Manual grading and engagement analytics. Choose if you if you prefer to manually grade assignments. 
    • Disable grading, but provide engagement analytics. Choose if you don't want to grade assignments, but you still want to view data about student engagements with assigned material.
    • Disable all analytics. Turn off grading and analytics. 

Tips: See Perusall's How Scoring Works video for details on how grades are calculated. By default, students do not see grades until you release them, and you can review and override automatic grades if needed. If you want to grade on a credit/no credit basis, enable the threshold scoring option.

  • Grade sync to LMS controls whether and how Perusall assignment grades are added to Moodle
    • Automatically sync individual assignment scores back to the LMS (default). Every assignment you create in Perusall is added to the Moodle gradebook as a separate grade item (gradebook column).
    • Do not sync grades back to the LMS. Perusall assignment grades are NOT added to the Moodle gradebook.
    • Manually sync individual assignment scores back to the LMS. You pick which Perusall assignments are added to the Moodle gradebook as separate grade items (gradebook columns).
    • Automatically sync students' average scores to LMS. Perusall adds a single grade item (gradebook column) to your Moodle gradebook for the students' mean scores across all Perusall assignments. 
  • If you choose to manually or automatically sync individual assignments, an additional LMS gradebook column management setting controls when they show up in Moodle
    • Perusall creates gradebook columns in LMS for each Perusall assignment automatically (default). Keep if you want Perusall assignments show up in your Moodle gradebook as soon as you create them in Perusall.   
    • Instructor creates deep links in LMS; no Perusall gradebook columns will appear in LMS until deep links have been created. Select if you plan to add Perusall assignments to your Moodle page ("deep linking") and you want the grade items (gradebook columns) to show up in Moodle after you add those links.
  • Click Continue to save these initial settings. If you need to change them later, click Settings in the left sidebar of your Perusall course page.

Add links to Perusall assignments to Moodle

You only need to add one Perusall activity to your Moodle course to give students access to your Perusall course and sync grades back to Moodle (either as individual grade items or a single summary grade, depending on your settings). However, you can help students keep track of Perusall assignments, by adding Perusall activities that link directly to each assignment (called "deep linking") to your Moodle page. 

  1. Create an assignment in Perusall.
  2. Log into your Moodle course and switch Edit Mode on.
  3. Click +Add an activity or resource in the section where you want to link to a Perusall assignment.
  4. Select Perusall from the Add an Activity or resource window.
  5. Type in an Activity name for the assignment.
  6. Click Select content
  7. Find and select the Perusall assignment.  
  8. Click Save and display

Videos & Further Reading on Perusall


If you have any additional questions or problems, don't hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440 | Library and Help Desk hours
Email: help@brynmawr.eduService catalog
Location: Canaday Library 1st floor