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Richard J. Gray II

Ashland University

Perusall has changed the way in which I teach, by adding a new dimension to the way in which students interact both with the course material and with each other. It has transformed my students from passive receivers of information into active, communicative collaborators.
Richard J. Gray II, Department of Foreign Languages, Ashland University

Why did you choose to use Perusall?

I chose Perusall for a variety of reasons, including its versatility and its flexibility. I like the fact that it can incorporate e-books, but that it can also load in electronic articles or even my own PDFs, which can then be marked up in a myriad ways.

What are your favorite features of Perusall?

The insertion of images, hyperlinks, and even the tagging of people make Perusall multipurpose. Perusall’s features give the peer-to-peer tool a kind of social media feel. But, it also has backend data analytics that are useful to the professor. You can see how long students actually spend within a given text as well as how much time they spend engaged in “deep reading.” The system also generates Confusion Reports that faculty can use to pinpoint problem areas of study.

What are you seeing as a result of using Perusall?

Anecdotally, I’ve always known that certain of my students didn’t like to read or that they didn’t actually complete all of the assigned readings. But with Perusall, we can work to shift the paradigm by crowdsourcing reading in an effort to find out why these things might be true. Furthermore, there isn’t a punitive element associated with Perusall because I use it primarily outside of class, so you’re not singling out students for not having done the reading. Additionally, in my use of Perusall, I heavily underscore the collaborative element of the peer-to-peer tool as well as the fact that students will get the most out of it if they don’t procrastinate in their reading.

How has using Perusall changed your course?

The ability to front load comments and questions, images, and hyperlinks into the system has facilitated my teaching of this particular course. Moreover, the level of discussion among students is unlike anything that I have ever seen within the LMS of any course that I have previously taught.

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