Comment, reply, repeat: Engaging students with social annotation

Picture the last time you sat down to read an article for class. If your university experience was anything like most students’, chances are, you were alone.

While solitary reading has benefits and is a common aspect of learning in higher education, it may not be the most effective way to read. Research suggests that social annotation (SA) tools—which allow students to highlight and comment on digital course materials as they read—have impressive educational benefits. SA tools can help with students’ reading comprehension, peer review, motivation, attitudes toward technology, and much more.

But how does SA help students learn? To find out, we introduced the SA tool Hypothesis into three different undergraduate courses at Simon Fraser University: one in Gerontology, one in Publishing, and one in Women, Sexuality & Gender Studies. Together, students created more than 2,000 annotations atop more than 250 course readings over the course of a semester—all of which we collected and coded for evidence of learning. We also asked students about their experiences with the tool in an online survey at the end of the semester; 33 students across the courses completed our survey.

The outcomes of our research were thought-provoking and inspiring—and we’re eager to publish the full results soon. But for now, we’re sharing a sneak peek of the preliminary findings, right here on the ScholCommLab blog.

Continue reading Comment, reply, repeat: Engaging students with social annotation – Scholarly Communications Lab on the ScholCommLab blog.