Hypothesis Logo Color

Hypothesis is an open annotation platform that allows users to highlight and leave notes and annotations directly on webpages, pdfs, news articles, and more. It can be added onto a web browser as an extension or integrated into an LMS if your school is a participant in the Hypothesis coalition. Currently, Hypothesis is available to DU faculty as the browser extension only. Hypothesis is a social platform, based around students building community through collaboration, sharing notes and ideas, and posing and answering questions from instructors or peers.   

Website: https://web.hypothes.is/   

  • Use hypothesis to: 

    • Run peer revisions. Separate students into groups and have them highlight and provide constructive feedback directly on the work of their peers. 
    • Practice building reading comprehension. Use Hypothesis as a tool to encourage students to read texts critically by annotating as they read. Instructors can respond to annotations with questions and direct feedback, prompting students to push their thinking further as they   
    • Create instructor annotations. Highlight important terms, ask questions, and provide further explanation of confusing concepts to support student learning. Additionally, videos, links, and images can be included as annotations, which instructors can use to supplement the original text. 
    • Collaborative close reading and/or rhetorical analysis assignments. Students can be assigned into small groups and complete close reading assignments where they annotate, come up with questions for each other, and respond directly on the text. Additionally, students can have conversations within Hypothesis by responding to the notes and questions posed by their peers.  
    • Create a crowd-sourced study guide. Upload important topics or concepts, and have students provide additional/important information as annotations. This creates a glossary of important concepts, created by students, for students. 
    • Check that students have read important documents, like syllabi or big assignment guidelines. After assigning, require students to leave a question or comment directly on the syllabus or assignment instructions. 


    For more examples of how Hypothesis can be used in the classroom, check out this link! 

Hypothesis is a useful tool for fostering student engagement with assigned texts. It includes many different annotation features to use to support student learning. 

  • Active learning. By highlighting, asking questions, and leaving notes about important concepts in the margins of a text, annotation encourages students to read closely and connect with texts on a deeper level.   
  • Community building. Because Hypothesis is a social platform where students can interact with their instructor and peers, Hypothesis can help build connections in a virtual space.  
  • Formative assessments. Use Hypothesis to gain insight into student learning throughout the term by getting a direct look at where students are asking questions and struggling to understand concepts as they engage with assigned materials. 
  • Group work. Hypothesis has a group function that allows students to be organized into smaller groups—a great option for instructors with large class sizes.  
  • Upload multimedia notes for creative annotation. Annotations aren’t just limited to text—videos, images, and links can also be used as annotations. 

Important note for LMS users: Because of recent security issues, Hypothesis as an LMS integration has switched from an open proxy to only approved URLs for annotation. This means that certain webpages are unable to be used with Hypothesis. However, if the integration is not available for your school, students can use the web extension, which does not have this limitation. At DU, Hypothesis is currently only available as the web extension. 

Meets or exceeds the Office of Teaching and Learning accessibility standards.

  • Supports Text to Speech (TTS) such as NVDA, Jaws, or Voiceover
  • Supports Speech to Text (STT) such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Voice Dictation
  • Supports Alternative Input Experience/Keyboard Navigation
  • Supports Screen Magnification and Color Contrast
  • Has an accessibility statement, however they do not have specialized accessibility support

“This technology is not included with the University of Denver. Faculty, staff, and students may need to purchase a subscription. The technology may offer educational pricing with an “.edu” email address. Free trials or free accounts may also be available through the technology website.” 

  • No support is available through the University of Denver. DU does not accept the liability for the use of this tool. 
  • Hypothesis support 

Brown, M. and Croft, B., 2020. “Social Annotation and an Inclusive Praxis for Open Pedagogy in the College Classroom.” Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2020(1), p.8. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jime.561 

McDaniel, S. (2021, March 3). Social Annotation and the Pedagogy of Hypothes.is. The University of Chicago Academic Technology Solutions. https://academictech.uchicago.edu/2021/03/03/social-annotation-and-the-pedagogy-of-hypothesis/ 

OTL Technology Rating
YELLOW technologies are not widely supported. DU may or may not have a 3rd party vendor security agreement for the use of these tools. However, some uses of this tool may be appropriate for teaching if certain conditions are met.