Hypothesis in Canvas

logo for Instructional Technology Group

Tech Tip

by Suzanne Thompson
Updated 7/15/21

screenshot of hypothesis demo course screen

Hypothesis allows you and your students to have a shared conversation on a website or PDF, using annotations.
Thanks to the Canvas-Hypothesis integration at Wake, you and your students do not have to create a Hypothesis account when using it inside of a Canvas course.
And you use the Canvas SpeedGrader interface to grade Hypothesis assignments!

For your STUDENTS— you can post these in your Canvas course:

How-To Video: How to complete a Hypothesis Assignment in Canvas 
Website of tips re. content: Annotation Tips for Students

FACULTY videos: 

How to create a Hypothesis Assignment in Canvas, add annotations, use SpeedGrader
How to create a Hypothesis link in Canvas that is not tied to the gradebook


Use Chrome or Firefox browser when building your Hypothesis assignments. Some faculty have reported problems with Safari when building a Hypothesis assignment in Canvas.

Copying Canvas courses that contain Hypothesis Assignments
These types of Hypothesis Assignments will continue to work in the new course:
–those that link to a URL of a webpage or a PDF
–those that link to a PDF in your Google Drive
These types of Hypothesis Assignments will not work in the new course, and will need to be rebuilt:
–those that that link to a PDF in your Canvas Files*
*(As of 7/15/21, the developers are working on this. Please stay tuned.)

Subscription database articles / e-books that require a login
Please note that these links may not work with Hypothesis, since everyone is logged in to a different “instance” of the page. Please see ZSR’s guidance here or reach out to them for more information.

FYI re. the sharing properties in Google Drive
If you create a Hypothesis Assignment using a PDF in your Google Drive, please note that the integration automatically changes the sharing properties of that PDF. While it will not be searchable online, it will become “Anyone with the link can view.” Here is more information about sharing settings with Hypothesis and Google Drive. 

Scanned PDFs
If you create a PDF from a scanned item and the text is not recognized / you can’t click to select words, you can use Adobe Acrobat DC to make the text recognizable / “OCR.”  (WFU faculty, staff and students can download Acrobat DC, part of Creative Cloud,  at software.wfu.edu)
If you need assistance, please reach out to your ITG.

3 Ways to Create Groups in Hypothesis
NEW! As of 7/15/21 By Canvas Groups.
See: Using Canvas Groups with Hypothesis
By Course Section in Canvas (for ex. in a cross-listed course).
See: Annotating with Sections in Canvas.
You can use tags to divide students into groups.
See: Using Tags in Hypothesis LMS App to Create Reading Groups

NEW! The “Notebook” feature in Hypothesis
This new feature is available now! Stay tuned for an overview video, but for now, here is information from the preview.

Why December 31, 2000?
If you notice that student submissions in Hypothesis have a date of “December 31, 2000” in SpeedGrader, that’s intentional. Hypothesis assignments are never really “submitted,” in the same way a paper would be, so this date was intentionally chosen so it would be obvious that the date isn’t accurate. You can see the correct timestamp on individual annotations.

If a Hypothesis assignment in Canvas continually asks for authorization, check the following:

  • Is the person’s browser in need of updates? Chrome and Firefox are recommended.
  • Do you have multiple installs of Hypothesis in your course? To check, go to Settings > Apps > View App Configurations. If two instances of Hypothesis are listed there, you should be able to delete one. Note that this will likely remove the Hypothesis integration from the problematic assignments, requiring you to re-create the Hypothesis portion of the assignment.
  • If you are trying to annotate a PDF in Canvas Files, is the PDF set to “Published”? If not, your students will not be able to view it.
  • Did you create the assignment by copying it from another course? Currently Hypothesis module links and assignments don’t reliably copy from course to course. It’s best to re-create Hypothesis assignments fresh in each class.
  • In most instances, simply deleting and re-creating a problematic assignment fixes the issue. If you find no problems with any of the above, and are still experiencing authorization issues, please reach out to support@hypothes.is with a detailed description of your issue. 

For more information about Hypothesis or for about using Hypothesis outside of Canvas,

Scroll to Top