Hypothesis is a social annotation tool that can be used to facilitate online class discussions and group work, annotate lectures and syllabi, share and organize research, take notes, and more. Hypothesis is integrated into PLU’s Sakai Learning Management System. Students and instructors can annotate webpages or PDFs with comments, formulas, highlights, and tags without leaving Sakai. It can be used for entire classes, breakout groups, and individual users.

The Hypothesis tool is readily available in every Sakai course site. To get started, visit the PLU Knowledge Base for instructions.


Why Use Hypothesis?

  • Hypothesis fosters critical thinking, reading, and writing on Sakai. It is a text-centered alternative to forums that allows you to:
  • Ask students to respond to specific passages (e.g., a single sentence or an entire paragraph) by composing an annotation.
  • Annotate your syllabi or lectures, formulas or lab reports to introduce students to concepts and/or ask them to reply to questions asynchronously or in real time.
  • Ask students to annotate your syllabi or lectures, formulas or other instruments to demonstrate what they understand or to ask you questions asynchronously or in real time.
  • Ask students to reply to each other’s annotations and enter into dialogue with each other.
  • Ask students to explain concepts to each other asynchronously or in real time.
  • Ask students to annotate using images or videos, hyperlinks or formulas.

Hypothesis is integrated to Gradebook and makes it easy to assess student work.


Example Assignments

English Literature – Frankenstein’s Library

Instructor: Dr. Adela Ramos

View the assignment prompt (PDF)


Nordic Studies – Ibsen Collaboration

Instructor: Dr. Jen Jenkins

screenshot of Hypothesis interface

View the assignment prompt (PDF)


Liberal Arts and the Professional Schools

  • Hypothesis can also be used in all fields. You can find examples at Liquid Margins.
  • For example, in 008 Part 1 and Part 2 mathematician, Dr. Matthew Salomone (Bridgewater State University), explains his pedagogical reasons and methods to incorporate Hypothes.is into the math classroom.



For technical assistance with Hypothesis, contact the Sakai Support Team. For questions regarding assignment design and other pedagogical inquiries, contact Adela Ramos.