Bb Mailbag: Increasing Student Engagement with Perusall


Welcome to the Blackboard Mailbag, where we feature a commonly asked question that has been hitting our mailbox recently: You’ll find an archive of all of the previous questions and answers on our website.  

Note:  Features may change with future updates.  


Q:  What is Perusall?

A:  Perusall is a free tool you can use within Fordham’s Blackboard environment that will help to increase student engagement with your course material before their next class.  Perusall functions as an educational social media platform that deepens understanding while building community.  By fostering a supportive learning community – one where students support one another by asking/answering questions about your course material before class – Perusall enriches your students’ engagement both inside and outside the classroom.

Perusall:  Features


Perusall works with all your favorite course content including books, articles, web pages, videos, podcasts, and images.  To get started with Perusall at Fordham, simply follow the instructions here.

Once Perusall is installed in your Blackboard course, you can begin to upload course material that your students will read, watch, or listen to.  As they engage with this material, Perusall encourages students to annotate your course content by offering their insight, presenting observations, or simply asking questions.  Other students can then comment on existing annotations, add their own, or respond to questions posed by you or their fellow students.  By fostering rich student-to-student engagement with your course material before your next class, Perusall helps your students arrive ready to engage.  In addition, the familiar social media environment motivates your students to perform better by honing their critical thinking skills and developing a deeper understanding of the material.

Feel free to try Perusall and if you have any questions about Perusall or any other aspect of Blackboard, just reach out to us at:  

For additional FAQs and resources about Blackboard, visit, attend one of our workshops, or reach out to us with your availability and we will accommodate small groups and one-on-one sessions.

Have feedback or suggestions on features?  Blackboard’s parent company Anthology hosts The Idea Exchange.  This is a place specifically for Blackboard to track and manage enhancement requests. It allows for things like upvoting ideas and sharing development plans and statuses. You will need to create an account to access the Idea Exchange.

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