Hypothesis: Overview

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. The integration of Hypothesis into Canvas allows the tool to directly link to your Canvas files.

Hypothesis will no longer be available as an integrated tool in Canvas effective the week of May 23rd.

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

Why Use Hypothesis?

Annotation helps in reading comprehension and in developing critical thinking about course materials. Hypothesis enables students to continue this active learning practice with online readings. Digital annotation also offers new possibilities such as enabling students to respond to text using different media, and empowering students to collaborate on understanding / developing ideas about their readings.

Hypothesis has the potential to increase student engagement, expand reading comprehension, and build critical thinking and community in classes. Collaborative annotation makes reading active, visible, and social—enabling students to engage with their texts, teachers, ideas, and each other in deeper, more meaningful ways.

Use Cases for Hypothesis

A non-exhaustive list outlining what Instructors can use Hypothesis to facilitate in the online portions of their courses include:

  • Embedding student discussions directly in digital texts
  • Creating assignments that allow students to read and respond to their peers' annotations, which prompts reflection and promotes a sense of community
  • Encouraging joint student discussions, and creating active and social learning opportunities

How do I use Hypothesis in my course?

To learn more about how to use Hypothesis to facilitate social annotation activities, please reference:

Hypothesis Demonstration for Yale

What will my students see?

When students enter into a Hypothesis Assignment, they will see your instructions across the top, and the Hypothesis side-bar along the right-hand side of the content selected for the assignment. On the page students can:

  1. View Help instructions on how to start using Hypothesis on the assigned content
  2. Create new "Page Notes"
  3. Highlighted annotations made on the content
  4. Toggle between a list of class "Annotations" and "Page Notes" already made in the class

Additional Resources

Please visit these resources for more information on using and applying Hypothesis to your course work:

For more help with Hypothesis click the "New Support Ticket" button in your Hypothesis assignment (found under the "Help" instructions) to work directly with Hypothesis on an issue, or please email askpoorvucenter@yale.edu to support through Yale's Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning.