Hypothesis LogoHypothes.is is a social annotation tool you can use inside D2L Brightspace. You can select text to annotate, reply and share any annotation using links, images, or video. You can use it as a graded class assignment or student group assignment.

Why use Hypothes.is?

Hypothesis is another form of online course discourse that can be used to allow students to discuss a reading or topic together. Conversations take place in line with the reading or topic, providing further clarity on the context that is being highlighted. Students can share their thoughts and understanding of the reading with their classmates.

Animation of text being highlighted in Hypothes.is

The image shows a student highlighting text inside Hypothes.is

Hypothesis Quick Start Guide

Step 1

Create a Hypothes.is Assignment (non-group) link in D2L:

  1. Click the Existing Activities button within a module in the Content area and choose Hypothesis LTI 1.3 from the dropdown menu.
  2. Select one of the four Hypothes.is assignment content types available (URL, Google Drive, D2L, or JSTOR), and follow the prompts to proceed through the setup. Further instructions on creating each assignment content type can be found in the PCC Instructor Guide.
    1. Enter URL (webpage or PDF). Enter the URL in the textbox and click the Submit button.
      Note: The website/PDF must be publicly accessible, not behind a paywall or a login (i.e., New York Times, EBSCO database, etc.).
    2. D2L (PDF). Follow the screen to allow access and choose the document from the Content module where it resides.
    3. Google Drive (PDF). Follow the screen to allow access and choose the document.
    4. JSTOR (Article). Paste the JSTOR stable URL into the field and accept the terms to continue.

Note: The Select PDF from OneDrive option is not supported at PCC! If the text in your document is not selectable/accessible, use the How to OCR PDFs guide to make it compatible with Hypothes.is.

  1. Enter a name for the assignment in the TITLE field. (Note: The default TITLE will be Hypothesis assignment if this is not changed in the initial creation of the activity. It is best practice to enter a name on this step.)
  2. Click the continue button to complete this step. (Do not check the box “this is a group assignment” if you are creating a non-group assignment.)

For a group assignment, you must first create groups and enroll students in your D2L course.

  1. Follow Step 1 from the using D2L Groups to Create Hypothes.is guide to create the group
  2. Guide to create a Hypothes.is Group assignment
Step 2
Step 2: Provide instructions for Hypothes.is assignment

Follow Step 2: Provide instructions for Hypothes.is assignment.

Step 3
Step 3: Add a grade item to the Hypothes.is assignment (Optional)

Important Notes:

  • A grade item in D2L will automatically be created for the Hypothes.is assignment as soon as you enter a score for a student submission. The default out-of-value will be 100 points.
  • If 100 points is not your assigned value for the Hypothes.is assignment, it is recommended that you change the out-of-value after entering the score for one student. Refer to the guide on changing the grade item value to customize it.
  • Do not manually add a grade item to the Hypothes.is assignment. If you manually add a grade item to the Hypothes.is assignment, it will hide the grade bar when reviewing the annotations.

Follow Step 3: Create the Grade Item (Optional).

Read the page on how to Grade Student Annotations in D2L for more information about how grading works with a Hypothes.is assignment.


Instructor Guides
Teaching Tips

Features you may find in Hypothesis:

  • How to preview the Hypothes.is Notebook
  • Using Tags Tutorial
  • Ideas for using tags in your course. Using tags as a method for categorization or organization can be helpful in your courses.
    • Ask students to tag any questions with “question” so you can easily filter questions that need to be addressed.
    • Assign students specific roles to take in annotation and tag their annotations with their role name (such as questioner, connector, illustrator, etc.–see this site for more examples of group roles).
    • Ask students to tag specific themes, topics, key concepts, etc., that they find throughout the course texts as they identify them.
    • Ask students to annotate from a particular perspective (an author, a character, a theorist, etc.) and tag their annotation appropriately.
Student Guides
Training Workshops & Presentation
  • Liquid Margins 41: Driving Engagement and Insights from Partners on the Hypothesis Impact: Insights from Partners on the Hypothesis Impact, a transformative journey of Hypothesis adoption, straight from the educational pioneers at institutions like Butler University, Grand Valley State University, Portland Community College (James Pepe & David Vasquez), and the University of California – Santa Cruz. Discover their challenges, strategies, and the rewarding outcomes they’ve reaped from integrating social annotation.
Technical Support

Faculty training and support, schedule:

Faculty & Students support from Hypothesis:

  • Hypothes.is is integrated with Brightspace. (Note: You will need an active Brightspace course shell to use Hypothes.is.)