#ProfChat about Open Annotation

March 8th Update: Here’s a Storify from tonight’s #profchat about open annotation in higher education. I’ll dig into thoughts, questions and resources in a forthcoming post. Thanks for all who joined this evening!

Most Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST, a thoughtful group of higher education practitioners gathers together on Twitter for #profchat. As organizers Rusul Alrubail and Paul Wilson note at the beginning of each chat, “This weekly Twitter chat is for Higher Ed teachers who are interested in talking about teaching practices at the Higher Ed level.” I enjoy participating in #profchat and usually do so a few times a month. I have also previously moderated #profchat conversations about game-based learning in higher education, as well as teaching and learning across settings.

When I saw a request yesterday to facilitate #profchat this coming Tuesday, March 8th, I jumped at the opportunity to share and deepen a conversation that is increasingly defining my own teaching:

As readers of this blog know, my graduate course INTE 5320 Games and Learning is publicly and creatively playing around with the social practice of open annotation. We’re using the platform Hypothesis to mediate our annotation-as-discussion of course readings. And as we read, and as we annotate, I have begun to share observations about students-as-readers’ initial annotation practices, the playful qualities of their open annotation, and my contingent solutions to learners’ concerns about open annotation.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the more I write about annotation in the open, the more meaningfully I connect with other higher education practitioners who share similar interests. Within the past week, encouraging responses – such as those below – indicate a willingness among thoughtful practitioners and designers to further discuss the intersection of open annotation, pedagogy, and social practice in higher education teaching and learning.

I’m thrilled that #profchat this coming Tuesday will serve as a forum for people to discuss open annotation in higher education. I hope regular #profchat participants are joined by folks who come for the first time because of our given topic. However, I’m also aware that various everyday realities – whether time zone differences or dinner plans – will prevent wise thinkers from contributing in-the-moment. Thank goodness a solution is so easily enacted:


Well then, here we go.

First, for regular #profchat participants who may be less familiar with open annotation, and specifically the platform Hypothesis, I highly recommend starting with Hypothesis’ Education resources (and directions for installing and beginning to use Hypothesis are included at the end of this post). Second, consider exploring various learning activities that either utilize, or reflect upon, open annotation as a social and networked practice. Examples include:

I also highly recommend Howard Rheingold’s recent DML Central interview with Jeremy Dean – Annotation, Rap Genius and Education.

Finally, this post serves the practical purpose of inviting readers to utilize Hypothesis, to annotate this post, and to refine, perhaps reject, and certainly to remark upon my questions for Tuesday’s chat. Whereas some Twitter chats are more free-form (such as monthly #digped chats, and the recent #profchat I co-moderated with Anna Bartosik about reflective practice), #profchat typically structures the hour-long discussion through a sequential question-and-answer format (e.g. Q1/A1).

Here are my draft questions, accompanied by related thoughts about why these may be useful questions to discuss. Readers will invariably use Hypothesis to comment upon – and begin discussions about – the following, and I will synthesize contributions and alter my chat moderation plans accordingly.

Q1 What are your experiences w open annotation in teaching, learning? And/if none, what are your curiosities abt open annotation? #profchat

This question allows the chat to start with “where people are at,” and recognizes that while some people may have extensive experience with open annotation, others may be learning about open annotation for the very first time. And irrespective of prior experience, everyone likely has curiosities to share, providing (ideally) a rich set of subtopics and tangential questions that can help sustain conversation.

Q2 What are pros and cons of open annotation in #highered teaching and learning? And how best to promote & also address concerns? #profchat

This question builds upon Robin DeRosa’s request and my subsequent response. All tools, platforms, and teaching practices have advantages and limitations. By surfacing these qualities early in the chat, we can hopefully return to and build upon these throughout the discussion.

Q3 For teachers, what pedagogy helps you facilitate open annotation? And for students, what supports help you to annotate in open? #profchat

Students are always welcome participants in #profchat. This question seeks to address pedagogical strategies associated with open annotation from multiple perspectives.

Q4 What is the future of open annotation in #highered… in courses, civic engagement, institutional collaboration, and research? #profchat

Participants in #profchat often play multiple roles in their higher education worlds – as teachers, designers, researchers, and provocateurs. Let’s do some agenda-setting and consider the varied implications for open annotation across higher education settings and purposes.

Q5 Let’s crowdsource open annotation resources! Who are the people and what tools, networks and texts should we know about & why? #profchat

We’ll conclude with some crowdsourcing of people, ideas, and resources.

Thanks for helping to refine – and to begin discussing – questions for this coming Tuesday’s #profchat. Please join us at 8 pm EST (6 pm MT, 5 pm PT).

One thought on “#ProfChat about Open Annotation”

  1. Hi Remi:
    I shall be interested to see how modern students and educators respond to the call for open annotations.
    Open annotation connects with an ancient tradition of textual annotation of sacred Western texts. Consider this definition of midrash: http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t94/e1254
    Our recent devotion to wiki’s and peer redacted texts such as Google docs connects us to a tradition predates modern technology by centuries.
    This also raises a wonderful set of questions to ponder regarding text, textual variants, authorship, and community collaboration in truth making. I am intrigued by the thought you will tackle all these wonderful questions as you work with your students in open annotation project.


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