From highlighting passages in a reading to scribbling notes in the margins, annotation has a familiar place in our roles as students and academics. Web-based tools such as provide a new level of collaboration to that process by giving us the ability to attach notes, commentary, discussion to any document that exists at a URL.

In this activity we offer a chance to explore the potential for annotation as a collaboration space, and it may be useful whether you have experience with the tool, or it’s your first experience ever.

If you like to learn more about how works, they have a great introduction.  But others just like to dive in. Either route is fine.

Gather Around a Web Page

Let’s get started by simply going to a specific web page that we can use to launch conversations. For this example, we chose one on the Ontario Extend Domains site that lists the blogs of participants participating in this mOOC (by the way, if yours is not there, sign up any time).

And we use a special “trick” to automatically activate the Annotation tools, just use this special link to open the page we are gathering around. You know is present when you see the < button in the top right corner.

From the open tool, you can Log in to if you already have an account. But if you are new, you can create one right there by clicking Sign up.

Now what? When is active, any part of the document that already has a note is highlighted in yellow. You may see on example on the text that reads Come on and say hello.

Clicking the annotated text shows the note someone has already added. As annotation can be conversation, you can use the reply button to respond (and say hello).

Click the < button again to hide the tool. Now, scan the page and look for any phrase or word that makes you want to add a comment or question. Select the text, and look for the Annotate button that enables to create a new annotation.

This is very basic, but is intended to get you started. Learn more about how to annotate from

But before we do more annotation, meet Yet Another New Tool – CROWDLAAERs offers a way to see all of the annotation activity in a  series of charts and graphs– see what it shows for the activity on our page we are using here. Do you wonder if something like that might be useful in a class activity using

One more powerful feature of annotation is that it records every note you have created, so it helps keep track of your reading and annotating (e.g. see what Alan has been up to).

Annotate Something Else

We made it easy for you by setting up a special link to do that first bit of annotation. offers browser tools that enable you to annotate any text on the web. Or (and this is how we got the special link), you can use a link maker that produces the URL to load on any web address.

What shall we annotate? mOOC Participants have already taken care of that for us! Back in the Curator module,  Daily Extend 319 asked us to curate something we should all read. Pick one of those, and look for passages in them worth adding commentary or questions to with

To go the extra Extend Kilometer, add an “ontarioextend” tag to all your annotations when writing them. Why? This will aggregate annotation activity across documents in one place.

Collaboration Value Of Annotation

Share some thoughts below of how you might see a use of web annotation as a collaborative activity, or share what kinds of ways you already use tools like (e.g. comments on Google docs is a form of annotation, as are things like Vialogues for annotating / discussing video)

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