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Weekly Tip: Perusall Testimonies: How are WSU Faculty Using Perusall?

Interested in Providing Students with a Collaborative Reading Experience?

Perusall is a free social learning platform designed to motivate students through collaborative reading activities and group annotations via e-textbooks, uploaded documents, and videos. By working through content together, students can share in the learning process, reduce feelings of frustration and isolation, and encourage meaningful interaction.

Perusall was Initially developed to ensure students complete readings in preparation for in-class active learning. It was also designed to help instructors understand student’s thinking, questions, and misconceptions prior to class so that instructors could better focus their attention on specific parts of the reading. Still, Perusall’s use is not limited to preparing for in class activities. Many instructors use it in a variety of ways to make sure students are reading, and Perusall especially helps build community and conversation in asynchronous formats.

WSU faculty have been using Perusall for years to encourage collaboration and engagement. Take a moment to review these testimonials illustrating how WSU faculty are using Perusall and how it benefits students. 

Perusall Testimonies from WSU Instructors

It encourages dialogue between the student and their peers, between the student and their instructor. [Perusall] helps them engage with that reading material at a much higher level. I have found that it has dramatically improved student engagement in the class.

—Kara Whitman
School of the Environment

Screenshot: Kara Whitman Perusal video.Video: Kara Whitman’s Perusall Testimony

Classroom discussions are deeper because the students have read and thought about the material, and they’ll even go back a couple weeks to past readings and bring that up.

—Carol Kawula
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Screenshot: Carol Kawula Perusall video.Video: Carol Kawula’s Perusall Testimony

I learned about Perusall while converting a course to Open Educational Resources as part of a summer grant provided through the Provost Office. I chose Perusall because it is a great tool for engaging with the readings selected through Open resources (Creative Commons, Library holdings, and industry reports).

The kinds of media I use through the tool are articles, case studies, and industry reports. The students make comments, ask questions, and respond to one another while reading.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how much the students engage with the readings. It makes homework FUN!

I do like the confusion report as I can take a quick look right before class and target topics that need more clarification or discussion in class. These also make excellent quiz and exam topics.

—Mark Beattie
Carson College of Business

I first heard of Perusall when starting to teach online for the Murrow College of Communication this fall (2021), and I use it for both of the courses that I am teaching this semester. 

I decided to use Perusall because it is an interactive way for students to engage with the reading and with each other. It fosters engagement with the material and it also provides a sense of collaboration and community for the students, which can be hard to achieve sometimes in an asynchronous remote course.

In one course, I have students annotate specific articles for extra credit.

In the other course, I have the students annotate textbook chapters in Perusall as well as specific articles for extra credit. I assign the readings for each module and then the students enter Perusall to annotate the respective chapters. They can comment, highlight, ask questions and up vote content.

—Jennifer Henrichsen
Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Perusall Resources

Learn more about this flexible and collaborative reading tool through an Introduction to Perusall. Read more about how instructors at other institutions are using Perusall in their courses. Also, find upcoming Perusall trainings on the Learning Innovations training schedule.

Further Reading on Perusall

This series of videos and teaching tips is presented by Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI). We invite you to join the conversation. Share your tips and ask questions through this blog. If you would like these posts to be sent directly to your email each week, subscribe to the listserv by emailing aoi.li@wsu.edu.

For more information or to schedule time with an instructional designer or emerging technologist, contact aoi.li@wsu.edu or request training on demand. You can also visit the Spark Faculty Innovation Studio in room 102 any time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during the academic year.