Hypothesis for English and Composition

Hypothesis empowers students and educators to highlight and comment on digital course materials, helping to develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, increase student engagement, and create community in online, hybrid, and in-person courses.

Social annotation works right on top of existing course content to:

  • Develop foundational skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking
  • Practice close reading skills for comprehension and analysis of text
  • Cultivate disciplinary literacy in the reading and writing of academic research
  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning and strengthen digital collaboration skills
  • Provide instructors with early and ongoing insight into student engagement, comprehension, and skill development

What teachers are saying


Explore our collection of conversations with teachers, example assignments, and grading rubrics to get ideas about how to add social annotation to your courses.

  • A video discussion about using collaborative annotation to enable students to be more deeply engaged with reading and writing in the classroom and online including Anna Mills from City College of San Francisco, Chris Gilliard from Macomb Community College, and Nima Kianfar from Contra Costa College.

  • A video discussion about using social annotation in teaching foundational English and Composition courses with Justin Hodgson, Associate Professor of Digital Rhetoric in the English Department at Indiana University, (guest moderator), Laura Rosche, PhD candidate in Rhetoric at Indiana University; Alex Penn, visiting English lecturer at Indiana University; and Remi Kalir, Assistant Professor of Learning Design and Technology at the University of Colorado Denver.

  • A video discussion about empowering student writing with social annotation including Mary Traester from the University of Southern California, Noel Holton Brathwaite from Farmingdale State College, and Chris Kervina from Northern Virginia Community College.

  • Adopt a Poem: This assignment serves as a model for how one might empower students as scholars of individual texts, acting as the editors of a scholarly volume.
  • Curate A Novel Chapter: This assignment can be used for novels but it can be adapted for other works of literature, including poems.
  • Ongoing Assignment: This assignment imagines Hypothesis as a go-to reading and collaborating tool for an entire course.
  • Social Annotation Assignment from Katherine D. Harris, Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University.
  • Social Annotation Assignment from Crystal Rose-Wainstock, a freelance educator.

Example courses using Hypothesis

  • Composition & Literature
  • Critical Thinking
  • Intro to College Composition
  • Intro to Fiction
  • Intro to Theatre
  • Reading, Writing & Inquiry
  • Rhetoric
  • Technical Writing

Some Hypothesis partners with an English and Composition focus

See all schools using Hypothesis and learn more about the AnnotatED community.

Download a one-page handout to share with colleagues via print or email.

Thumbnail of handout: Hypothesis for English and Composition.
A black and white photo of three dark ballpoint pens lying diagonally on top of a mottled composition book on top of some other books. Image credit: Three Pens on a Composition Book (https://flic.kr/p/oEFEGs) by Leslie Richards, licensed CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/).