14 New Schools Pilot Hypothesis and Join AnnotatED

By Nate Angell | 13 December, 2019

The Hypothesis logo surrounded by logos for 14 educational institutions: American University of Armenia, Brigham Young University, Colgate University, College of Western Idaho, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Contra Costa College, Dearborn Public Schools, Diablo Valley College, Muhlenberg College, Plymouth State University, Rutgers University, St. Edward’s University, Trinity College, and University of Portland.As the fall 2019 academic term comes to an end, a diverse group of 14 new institutions are joining the schools already formally piloting collaborative web annotation with Hypothesis and participating in AnnotatED, the community for annotation in education: Brigham Young University, Colgate University, College of Western Idaho, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Muhlenberg College, Plymouth State University, Rutgers University, St. Edward’s University, Trinity College, University of Portland, and — for the first time — both a K12 public school district, Dearborn Public Schools, and an international university, American University of Armenia.

These 14 institutions include schools of every type: small and large, public and private, from K12 schools to community colleges to small liberal arts colleges to large universities. The wide range of institutions starting pilots shows how collaborative web annotation is enhancing teaching and learning across various disciplines with different types of students and classes, both online and face-to-face. Teachers using Hypothesis are finding that collaborative annotation not only helps them know if and how students are reading for class, but also provides a better way to have conversations about readings, right on top of the texts themselves. Educators are already reporting both qualitative and quantitative evidence that collaborative annotation is improving student learning experiences.

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Why Hypothesis?

Hear from some of the people involved in establishing formal Hypothesis pilots at their institutions:

Phil Windley, Enterprise Architect in BYU’s Office of the CIO says: “I’ve used Hypothesis personally for several years, so I’m excited to use it in my class to enable students to collaborate more effectively. Shared annotations are a super power for increasing student learning and interaction.”

“Our faculty have been particularly interested in how Hypothesis can amplify our students’ increasing engagement in public-facing work,” says Robin DeRosa, Director of the Online Learning & Teaching Collaborative at Plymouth State University. “Because our institution is exploring a learning model focused on interdisciplinarity, project-based learning, and open education, our students are doing more work on the web. Hypothesis is another tool we use to bring our university into a collaborative, transdisciplinary relationship with the larger world.”

“I’m delighted that so many of our faculty are interested in using Hypothesis in their classes,” said Jonathan Rees, Professor of History at CSU-Pueblo, “and thrilled that more will be able to do so because we joined this pilot.”

“As a learning technologist, I’ve been excited about digital annotation and the open standard that Hypothesis brings to the web for years,” said Benjamin Kahn, Technology Solutions Architect at the University of Portland. “However, with the need to create and manage accounts, install plugins, and deal with privacy concerns, using Hypothesis in the classroom was a “techie” ideal that was out of reach for many faculty. With the new LMS integration, I feel that the barrier to entry has been lowered. We have faculty from diverse disciplines like Education, Communication Studies, Psychology, Physics, Nursing, and Theology participating in the pilot. I’m super excited to see the emergent approaches our faculty and learners will take to digital annotation to collaboratively read, discuss, and learn in new ways.”

Muhlenberg College is taking a different approach, looking to support teaching and learning outside the LMS environment across the whole web. As Lora Taub, Muhlenberg’s Dean for Digital Learning, describes it: “Our work in digital learning at Muhlenberg centers on inclusion. Underlying our interest in working deeply with Hypothesis on the open web is its possible use as a resource for opening to more equitable participation and inclusive dialogue in teaching and learning. Our choice to annotate on the open web rather than within an LMS is guided by the value we place on student voice and agency within digital learning. Developing practices of multimodal annotation is amplified through the work of creating an archive of one’s digital engagement with texts and with fellow readers and meaning makers.”

We are excited to collaborate with each of these piloting schools. Each has a different mix of faculty and staff that have identified Hypothesis annotation as a worthy tool to add to the innovative teaching and learning they provide to their students. They will also join the AnnotatED community to share experiences and research with annotation. You can explore AnnotatED resources on annotation, face-to-face and virtual events coming up over the course of the academic year, and archives of past events.

Working with Hypothesis, each school will support an initial cohort of teachers and students to incorporate collaborative annotation into course reading assignments, often delivered by their LMS. Pilots will include technical integration of the Hypothesis LMS app via LTI — now including gradebook integration, virtual or on-campus training, regular check-ins for pilot participants, on-demand support for teachers and staff, teacher and student surveys, and final reports on pilot outcomes. The goal of piloting is to understand how Hypothesis can be best supported for wider use across the institution.


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We’ll continue to announce more schools that start piloting Hypothesis and invite everyone subscribed to our updates to upcoming AnnotatED community events.

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