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Thursday, June 18 • 1:45pm - 2:45pm
RTD.12 - An investigation of students’ engagement with peers and assigned readings in annotation-enhanced discussion forums

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Engaging with texts by scribbling comments in the margins is an ancient tradition (Howard, 2005). Online discussions can be enhanced by allowing students to use annotation tools to do just that—insert comments in the margins beside the excerpt of interest rather than posting a reply at the bottom of the post (Xin, Glass, Feenberg, Bures, & Abrami, 2011). The purpose of our study was to examine how students commented on each other’s written responses to course readings in annotation-enhanced online discussion forums, and how this process contributed to their learning. To facilitate students’ critical engagement with readings, we implemented an instructional process called the “triple-entry notebook” (Kooy & Kanevsky, 1996) that required them to prepare a response to each reading that included a summary, selected highlights with reflections, and a lingering question. Classmates posted their responses and commented on each other’s in small groups on a discussion forum augmented with an annotation tool called Marginalia. This tool allowed students to highlight text and write notes in the margin of classmates’ responses, just as readers might underline and annotate a book. Data were collected from 17 students in a post-baccalaureate Education course. Many students exceeded the required contributions and all reported no difficulty making the required contributions to the online discussion. Patterns of interaction among classmates emerged that demonstrated they engaged in true, multi-voice, multi-comment discussions rather than posting individual isolated remarks. The depth of their engagement varied depending on the composition of the group. We will present our results, share our instructional materials, and engage attendees in a discussion of how such instructional practices and enhanced discussion forums can be used to facilitate critical reading of literature and active engagement with classmate’s understandings online. 


Kooy, M., & Kanevsky, L. S. (1996). Making meaning from assigned readings: A process for using the triple-entry notebook in teacher education. Teaching Education, 8(1), 45-54.

Howard, J. (2005). Scholarship on the edge. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

Xin, C., Glass, G., Feenberg, A., Bures, E., & Abrami, P. (2011). From active reading to active dialogue: An investigation of annotation—enhanced online discussion forums. In F. Pozzi & D. Persico, Techniques for fostering collaboration in online learning communities (p. 300-318). Hershey, NY: Information Science Reference.

Thursday June 18, 2015 1:45pm - 2:45pm PDT
Bayshore Salon ABC

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