Using Tags to Create Hypothesis Reading Groups

This article describes using Hypothesis’ tagging feature to allow an instructor to create reading groups with students. For other methods to implement reading groups in your LMS, see How to Assign Hypothesis Readings to Small Groups.

Using tags to implement reading groups has the added benefit of allowing students to see each reading groups’ annotations and even looking at the cumulative efforts of the whole class, something the other methods can not do.

What are tags in Hypothesis?

In Hypothesis tags are an additional element of Annotations and Page Notes. They can be used to organize annotations, group them, and even allow annotators to add a metacognitive layer to their annotations.

You create tags by selecting the tags field in an open Annotation card.

Arrow pointing to a tags field on an open annotation card

After typing in a tag, hit the Enter button before posting the annotation. You’ll notice the tag gets saved to the annotation before posting. This will allow you to differentiate between saving a tag like “vocab words” and two tags, “vocab” and “words”.

Using tags to create reading groups

This method for creating reading groups requires the instructor to make a single LMS assignment and designate a specific tag to be used by students to indicate their reading group. The students can then filter on this tag to show only annotations from their reading group, or choose to clear the filter, allowing them to then view all annotations, or re-filter on another group’s annotations.

Organize students into groups

Because students will all end up in the same LMS assignment you’ll need them to understand which reading group they are in. Consider leaving this list in your LMS or linking to it from your syllabus so it’s easily accessible for students!

Creating tags

Students will need to know how to add tags to annotations (see above), and they will have to make sure to use the correct tag when annotating. It’s probably best if the instructor defines the tag nomenclature for students. Something like “group 1” and “ group 2” or just “1”, “2”, etc.

It’s worth noting that adding a group tag doesn’t stop users from adding other tags as well, if students are using tags for additional reasons.

Filtering the annotations you see in the Sidebar by tag

In the Hypothesis Sidebar click on the Search button (which looks like a magnifying glass) and type in tag:”group 1” (or whatever your tag is). This will filter out all annotations that do not contain that tag. Even better, the filter will stay on while you’re in the assignment, so as you create new annotations with your tag you’ll still see them, while others’ annotations without the tag will not become visible.

Arrows pointing to the Hypothesis Sidebar search function and a saved tag in an annotation card

Viewing other reading groups or the annotations of the whole class

Once your students are done annotating in their reading group they can filter on the other tags (tag:”group 2” for example) to see the work of the other groups. They can also press the “Clear search” button and see the annotations of the whole class.

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