Annotating Open Pedagogy

Exploring open pedagogy examples using web annotation framework

“Mural” flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using (CC0)


Traditional annotations are marginalia, errata, and highlights in printed books, maps, picture, and other physical media. Web annotations are an attempt to recreate and extend that functionality as a new layer of interactivity and linking on top of the Web. It will allow anyone to annotate anything anywhere, be it a web page, an ebook, a video, an image, an audio stream, or data in raw or visualized form. Web annotations can be linked, shared between services, tracked back to their origins, searched and discovered, and stored wherever the author wishes; the vision is for a decentralized and open annotation infrastructure.

Many have tried over the years to establish web annotations. The lack of standards has been one of the key things holding these efforts back. February 23, 2017 the W3C, the standards body for the Web, standardized annotation. is an web annotation tool educators are finding a useful asset in helping students engage with online material. The tools are simple, students can be up and going quickly.

There’s a number of ways to use group annotations with students. Of course, having your students use will enable them make their own annotations as well as see and reply to the annotations of others. This enables them to see how others have parsed material as they seek to understand it themselves. Also your students can interact with each other and outside annotators as they grapple with the concepts.

Some other helpful ways to use annotation:

  1. Teacher annotations: add explanatory notes to readings or prompt questions
  2. Annotation as Glossary: have students research and build an annotation-based glossary of key terms
  3. Annotation as question: have students highlight passages that are confusing to them for later discussion
  4. Annotation as Close Reading: have students identify formal textual elements and contextual elements
  5. Annotation as Rhetorical Analysis: have students identify and explain rhetorical strategies, or, conversely, flaws in passages
  6. Annotation as opinion: have students develop and articulate their own opinions on topics
  7. Annotation as Multimedia Writing: have students annotate with images or videos
  8. Annotation as Independent Study: direct students to the exploration of material on their own and provide analysis
  9. Annotation as Annotated Bibliography: have students annotate sources on a topic or theme and use their annotations to build a bibliography
  10. Annotation as Creativity: have students respond to readings with creative pieces of their own.

What to Do

We will be using to explore and annotate examples of open pedagogy.

  1. Sign up for a account
    Like many web-based services requires you to have an account and be signed in to use the service. accounts require minimal information: username, email, and password.
  2. Although offers plugins for WordPress as well as extensions for browsers, we will be using the Hypothesis ‘Paste A Link’ method.  This link is found at the top of the page of the site.
  3.  Choose one of the collected examples and copy the URL.
  4. Submit this URL to “Paste A Link” at
  5. Once submitted, your will see a panel in the far right of browser display.
      • The arrow button at the top opens and closes the panel.
      • Annotations in the page text are highlighted, the eye icon turns the highlighting on and off so that the page can be read without the distraction of the highlights.
      • The third item down alternates between page notes and annotations depending on if text in the page is selected or not,
      • The final item with the number in it is a marginal marker indicating an annotation and how many are in the area. There can be many of these down the site of the page.From top to bottom:
  6. Open the panel and review the ‘How to Get Started’ information.
  7. Start highlighting text and adding annotations to your open pedagogy examples.  You may want to consider using the Hegarty model to identify specific aspects of open pedagogy and comment.


Featured Image: Mural flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)