Perusall: University learning-teaching innovation employing social annotation and machine learning

Graziano Cecchinato, Laura Carlotta Foschi


This paper presents the learning-teaching innovation process of a
University course. The traditional elements of the teaching-learning
process (lecture, study, exam) involving students in ongoing activities
have changed. The paper focuses on the learning changes introduced
by social annotation activities carried out through the Perusall web
environment. In particular, Perusall functionalities that assess students’ participation were examined. These rely on multiple indicators set by the teacher, and a Machine Learning algorithm, which assesses the quality of annotations. A study was carried out to examine the validity of this process by analysing the relationship between Perusall algorithm’s scores and teacher’s scores, and how students perceive the automated scoring. The relationship was investigated through the Spearman correlation coefficient and Kendall’s coefficient of concordance.
Thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data
concerning students’ perceptions. The results indicate that the Perusall algorithm provided scores quite similar to those of the teacher, and
that students positively perceived the automated scoring.

Parole chiave

Perusall; Social Annotation; Machine Learning; Peer Instruction; Learning-Teaching Innovation

Full Text

PDF (English)