Hypothesis for Canvas

The logo for Hypothesis (stylized as “hypothes.is”).

CATL is excited to announce the launch of a formal pilot of the Hypothesis social annotation tool for Canvas. Hypothesis is a digital and social take on the classic practice of physically writing in the margins of a text. It is an annotation overlay that you can add to any PDF or website reading assigned in your Canvas course. Adding an annotation to a passage is about as simple as selecting a word or phrase and then typing the annotation in the Hypothesis overlay. Students and instructors can view and reply to each other’s annotations to ask and answer questions and build upon each other’s ideas. UWGB’s pilot of Hypothesis is unlimited, so all instructors are invited participate and there is no need to sign up or make an integration request! This post contains ideas for using Hypothesis in your course and instructions for creating activities with the Hypothesis Canvas integration, which is available now in all UWGB courses.

Hypothesis Use Cases

The Hypothesis overlay being used to annotate a New York Times article on a reptile fossil.

Annotation with Hypothesis can facilitate many types of class activities. Here are a few example activities:

  • Assign a reading and ask students to leave questions as annotations on passages they find difficult. Instructors can reply to annotations to answer these questions, use the questions to inform lessons and follow-up resources, or assign students to review and answer their peers’ questions.
  • Instructors can add their own annotations to a reading before assigning it to students to create a guided reading experience that signals areas of importance and offers clarification at potential sticking points. Instructor annotations can include questions for discussion that students can reply to right “in the margins” of the reading, placing discussions in context.
  • Task students with developing a glossary layer on an assigned text by adding annotations to difficult words, passages, or allusions. Encourage students to include definitions, contextual research, and possible interpretations in their annotations.
  • Present an example of an essay, lab write-up, or proof that intentionally has errors. Ask students to identify and correct these missteps by adding annotations to the document either as a group or as an entire class.

These use cases were inspired by the post Back to School With Annotation: 10 Ways to Annotate With Students on the Hypothesis blog. Read that post and explore other posts on their blog to collect even more ideas!

Learning Hypothesis

The app overlay has a quick start guide on how to create your first annotation, highlight, or reply to another annotation, along with support links.

Hypothesis has a robust online user guide with several resources tailored specifically to helping instructors and students use Hypothesis in Canvas.

Resources for Instructors

The following guides cover the technical basics of adding Hypothesis activities to your Canvas course.

Resources for Students Everyone!

Providing these resources to your students can help them understand how to use Hypothesis and how to write quality annotations. The insights in these articles are valuable for anyone new to Hypothesis and digital annotation, so we also encourage instructors to review them!

Finding Support

Technical support for Hypothesis is available by contacting the vendor’s support team through their simple Help Request web form and additional user guides are available on Hypothesis’s Help website. As always, CATL staff are available to provide consultations to discuss how to best leverage Hypothesis in your courses! Request a CATL consultation online or email your questions to us at catl@uwgb.edu.