External App: Hypothesis

The Poorvu Center will be piloting Hypothesis for six months, available to all academic courses in Canvas for the Spring 2021 term.  


Hypothesis is a collaborative, digital annotation tool, which allows students to add comments, notes, and highlights to the margins of a shared digital document, whether it is an article on the web or a PDF.  Annotation types include highlights, comments, notes, and replies to other students' annotations and notes. Annotations can be made public, private, or only visible to a group of students.

Hypothesis features include:

  • The ability for instructors to embed student discussions directly in digital texts.
  • The ability for instructors to create assignments that allows students to read and respond to their peers' annotations, prompting  reflection and promoting a sense of community.
  • The ability to encourage joint student discussions and create active and social  learning opportunities.

Hypothesis will work with files stored in your Canvas site's Files area.

Hypothesis will NOT work with materials in your course sites Course Reserves tool or any materials stored in library databases like ProQuest or JSTOR which require a proxy service.


Hypothesis can be added to your Canvas site as a Module for ungraded group annotation, or as an assignment for graded annotation for individuals or groups. You do not need to enabled Hypothesis for your course, you can go directly to Modules or Assignments to begin using it.

Additional Resources

For more help with Hypothesis, or our pilot, please email askpoorvucenter@yale.edu.