Hypothes.is

Resources and FAQs

As we explore the benefits of social, digital annotation—and especially as you prepare your final project for this learning experience—you’ll probably come up with a few questions about how to use Hypothes.is in your teaching and scholarship.

Here are a few answers to a few questions we could think of in advance. If you have any other questions about using Hypothes.is in your work, feel free to send Jeremy an e-mail.

How do I use the tool?

How do I use this in my classroom?

How do I train students? What steps are involved in setting things up?

    • Currently two steps are involved in students getting started: 1) creating an Hypothes.is account and 2) activating Hypothes.is on a document. If you set up the WordPress plugin or Canvas app, you can eliminate step 2 for them.
    • Again, you can have students annotate however you want them to. But here are some general tips on how to make the best use of the application’s set of features.
    • And here’s a student facing guide to Hypothes.is you can share with your classes.

Is Hypothesis aligned to FERPA? What concerns should I have around privacy?

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. As per FERPA requirements, according to our Terms of Service, schools may request access to content created by students as part of a course using Hypothes.is.  

FERPA concerns aside, annotating in a private group may make students feel more safe as only their peers will be the audience for their comments and conversations. If not fully comfortable with students annotating in public, teachers might consider beginning a course using private groups and building towards public annotation.   

Working in the public expands the audience for student work and can encourage and inspire students by making their school work a contribution to real world knowledge production.

Hypothes.is can be used in a FERPA compliant way, but requires teachers and students to follow some best practices. If you are concerned about privacy, you should definitely have students annotate in private groups. Students should be instructed to:

  1. ensure they are annotating in the private group and
  2. never to share the invite to the private group publicly. For an added layer of security, you may want to have students use pseudonyms for their Hypothes.is usernames.