Remote Teaching & Learning

Computing & Information Services


Hypothesis is a tool that allows students to collaboratively annotate a public web page or PDF. Annotations made in Hypothesis for Moodle are visible only to members of the Moodle course page. 

PDFs must have selectable text (OCR) to work with Hypothesis. If you would like to use a PDF that is not publicly available on the web, you will need to store the PDF in Google Drive. (Although you and your students will access Hypothesis through Moodle, PDFs stored in Moodle will not work with Hypothesis.)

Creating a Hypothesis activity

To create a Hypothesis activity in Moodle, make sure editing is on and click “add an activity or resource.” From the Activity Chooser, select “External tool.” 


In the set up page, you’ll see a drop down menu for selecting a Preconfigured tool. Choose Hypothesis from the list.


From the set up page, you can also modify other settings, like grading and visibility.

After you select “Save and Display,” click “Open in new window” to launch Hypothesis. You will then see the option to either use a URL or a PDF hosted in Google Drive. If you are using a publicly available PDF or webpage, enter the URL for the page or resource. 

If you’re using a PDF that is not publicly available, first store the file in Google Drive. Then, from the setup menu, “Select PDF from Google Drive.” If you access more than one Google account on your device, you’ll be prompted to choose the correct account. 

The first time you complete this process, you will be asked to give Hypothesis access to view and modify files in your Google Drive. This access is necessary for Hypothesis to function. After you accept, you’ll see the Google Drive file picker. Search for and select the file you’d like to annotate.

Viewing and creating annotations

Once you have entered a URL or selected your file, it will load in the Hypothesis annotation window. Here’s an example with grading enabled, allowing you to filter annotations by student using the menu at the top of the page.


This view has the annotation pane open, although the class does not have any annotation yet. You can use the magnifying glass icon at the top of the pane to search annotation text, annotator names, or tags (search tag:[tag name]). Annotations appear in the pane based on their location in the text. You can use the arrows icon to bring the most recent annotations to the top.

To make an annotation, select Text. You’ll see the option to highlight (visible only to instructors and not students) or to annotate.

Once you select Annotate, a text editor will appear. Using the text editor, you can add links or media to your annotation, or tag your annotation. Once you start typing a tag, you’ll see a list of tags already in use for your class. In this example, I’m making an annotation that’s visible only to me; use the drop down menu at the bottom of the annotation screen to post to the class. 


Hypothesis has useful help pages and a blog to get you and your students started.

If you have any questions about using Hypothesis in your Moodle course page, contact ITS at .