Collaborative Annotation with

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Many courses are using Open Education Resources (OERs), websites or online articles as course reading, instead of traditional textbooks. These flexible materials are free, openly licensed, easily linkable and readily available online, anytime. The low cost and high flexibility make them a favourite with learners and educators alike (Smith-Jaggars, Folk & Mullins, 2018). Logo Logo by

But how can we ensure effective studying with websites and OERs? Websites and open textbook platforms often rely only on browsers, and lack built in study tools like sticky notes, highlighting and annotation. This is where apps browser extensions, like, can help.

Teaching and Learning in partnership with the Online Learning Center. (2020). Overview [Video file.] CC BY. Retrieved August 2020 from

Tips and Suggestions

Get Started

To get started with, register for an account, and add the extension to your browser.create a free account;

Click on the icon in your browser to activate it.

Figure 2. annotation sidebar. Screenshot by J. Wilkinson, January 3rd, 2020.

In the sidebar of your screen, you’ll be able to see your own annotations, and those anyone else has posted publicly. users can choose whether they are posting privately or publicly, and can reply to each other’s annotations and comments, creating dialogue and discussion directly within websites and OERs.

Once active, you’ll be able to start selecting and highlighting text on any web page, OER, and even on articles in open digital access journals. Select text in a sentence and release to annotate or highlight.

Select text in a sentence and release to annotate or highlight.
Figure 1. Select and annotate or highlight text on web pages. Screenshot by J. Wilkinson, January 3rd, 2020.

Learn more about the features available within the extension or bookmarklet, or learn more about how we read digital texts.

Create Guiding Questions

To introduce a tool like in your teaching, consider pre-populating a reading with some guiding questions.

Researching in the Problem-Based Learning Cycle

You can also use to support the research stage of a problem-based learning cycle or approach. Create groups, or encourage learners to create groups, and share these within your course.


Shanna Smith Jaggars, Amanda L. Folk, & David Mullins. (2018). Understanding students’ satisfaction with OERs as course materialsPerformance Measurement and Metrics19(1), 66–74. Retrieved from

Jess Wilkinson

Jesslyn is the Educational Technology Officer at Conestoga. An Ontario Certified Teacher, and holding a B.A. and B.Ed., Jesslyn researches and promotes new technologies for faculty to enhance pedagogical practices. She brings to the role her experience as a Google and Microsoft certified technology trainer and as a classroom teacher in South Korea, Mongolia, and Ontario, focusing on special education and assistive learning technologies. She is available for workshops, consultations, and support with using technology in higher education contexts.

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