LMS FAQ2020-11-05T07:33:16-08:00
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Now that you’ve got your Hypothesis-LMS integration up and running, here’s a few frequently asked questions to help you when you need! You are always welcome to get in touch with us by:

FAQ for all LMSs

Canvas-specific issues

Blackboard-specific issues

Non-Canvas issues


FAQ for all LMSs

The most recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge should work. As of March 24, 2020, the most current versions of these browsers are:

  • Chrome 80
  • Firefox 74
  • Edge 80

It is important to note that Internet Explorer 11 is not compatible with the LMS app. You can check your browser and version number at https://www.whatismybrowser.com/.

How do I create a Hypothesis-embedded assignment in my LMS?

Use one of these guides below:

We’re using Hypothesis in our LMS, do I need to make a Hypothesis account?

One of the advantages of using the LMS app is that you and your students do not need to make accounts in Hypothesis – our app will automatically create an account for anyone who launches a Hypothesis-enabled assignment in your course site. Manually creating Hypothesis accounts is only required for our non-LMS app.

How do I assign the same PDF to different groups?

Future versions of Hypothesis will work with course sections and/or groups. For now, you can accomplish the same effect in just a few steps. First use this page to create a new version of the PDF with a different fingerprint. Make sure to give each copy of the PDF a unique name so you can tell them apart!

Next, assign each PDF to a different group of students in your LMS (methods will vary depending on the LMS). Doing this will make sure that students in one group do not see the annotations made by students in another group.

I can’t highlight the text in my PDF, what’s wrong?


All PDFs have a layer that is just a picture, whether it looks like images, text, or both. Some PDFs also contain a second layer of invisible, digital text. It’s this text that Hypothesis (and any other web app) “grabs” on to. Adding this text layer is done by a process called “optical character recognition,” or OCR. For scanned PDFs the cleaner the scan, typically the better the result. Scans that are less than optimal will end up with less than optimal text layers.

Less than optimal scans typically have very dark pages, have been scanned on an angle, or are blurry. The closer a scan looks to a freshly printed page from a word processor, the better it is.

How to test if your PDF has digital text

You can open the PDF in your browser, and, if you are able to highlight, copy, and then paste the text elsewhere, you have digital text. If not, you’ll need to add digital text to the PDF.

Adding a text layer to a PDF

This article contains instructions on adding a text layer to a PDF. The article references a paid Adobe product; we’ve also had users report success using the free tool at http://ocr.space/ when selecting the following options:

  • Create searchable PDF with invisible text layer
  • Use OCR Engine1

If you need help with testing or adding a text layer to a PDF, send us the file and we’ll look into it for you.

Files in Drive, Dropbox, or Canvas Files are not compatible with the “Enter URL of web page or PDF” button, and will result in unpredictable behavior. You have to use the “Select PDF from Google Drive” button or the “Select PDF from Canvas” button when creating the assignment.

What happens if I delete an old Hypothesis installation?

If you delete the only Hypothesis installation in your LMS, Hypothesis assignments will stop working, and instructors will be unable to create new Hypothesis-embedded assignments. Hypothesis will still retain your LMS data (unless your school has asked us to delete it), and installing a new instance of Hypothesis in your LMS will make the old assignments available again with all data intact, as well as allowing instructors to create new assignments.

If you delete an old installation of Hypothesis and there are other installations in place, Hypothesis assignments will work for instructors who have access to the Hypothesis instance that was not deleted.

Currently, the Hypothesis LMS app can associate one web page or document with each assignment or module item created within the LMS. That means for assignments created from HTML pages, clicking a link on that page will log users out of their Hypothesis-LMS accounts. When annotating HTML pages, advise your students to stay on the assigned page. They can open links in a new tab or window to view linked content outside of the LMS app (but they won’t be able to annotate those pages with their LMS app account).

If you’ve assigned an ebook or a similar site that requires students to click a link to get from chapter to chapter, you can get around this by making each chapter its own discrete assignment.

How do I copy Hypothesis assignments from one course to another?

At this time, Hypothesis is not compatible with course copy functions. We plan to add support for course copying in the future. In the meantime, assignments need to be manually re-created.

What are some helpful guides to getting started using Hypothesis in my LMS?

Canvas-specific issues

Why don’t I have the Canvas File Picker button?

When Hypothesis is installed into Canvas, there is an optional step that will enable you to use documents from Canvas Course Files. To get this option, simply uninstall the current Hypothesis app, and reinstall, making sure to use the optional step 1 and create new credentials.

You can read about this here.

SpeedGrader submission

SpeedGrader requires the concept of submitting an assignment in order to work, and Hypothesis does not have a “Submit” button. Hypothesis creates a submission whenever a student launches an assignment, even if they have not made any annotations. That’s why you may see a student appear in SpeedGrader when they haven’t annotated yet.

Because students might visit an assignment, annotate, leave, come back and annotate some more, etc., we know that “launching an assignment” is not necessarily an accurate representation of when a student’s work is complete. We use a hard-coded submission time stamp that is far enough in the past to not be mistaken for a real submission date. If you wish to evaluate student annotations against an assignment deadline, each annotation card contains a date/time stamp for the annotation and any edits.

In the future, we may explore the option of adding a “Submit” button to our UI or using “most recent assignment launch” as the submission timestamp.

Blackboard-specific issues

Generally, we see this message in Blackboard when the LMS administrator admin has blocked LTI tools. Administrators can check their settings in the Administrator Panel > Integrations > LTI Tool Providers > Manage Global Properties.

Non-Canvas issues

Why does the Hypothesis Grading bar always ask for grades out of 10 points?

The Grading bar is actually showing you a proportional grade, so a grade of 8 out of 10 means the student will be given 80% of the maximum points possible for an assignment.

Related Articles

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