A Healthy Dose of Social Annotation Advice

By frannyfrench | 22 February, 2022

The teachers, librarians, instructional designers, researchers, and others who have graced the Liquid Margins screen with their presence have left behind a treasure trove of invaluable wisdom, practical advice, and inspiration. In this, the first in a series of blog posts highlighting practical tips from Liquid Margins, we offer a distillation of some of the insightful offerings from Liquid Margins 26, “Bodies of Knowledge: Teaching Health Professions With Social Annotation.” Big thanks to the episode guests: Danica Sumpter, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Texas School of Nursing, and Rachel Derr, Director of Pre-licensure Programs and Clinical Assistant Professor at Rutgers University Camden School of Nursing.

Both Danica and Rachel are passionate about teaching, and they’ve found novel and wonderful ways of using social annotation to reach, interest, and motivate their students, as well as provide those students with the agency to really own their learning and to create a supportive learning community. The nuggets contained in this episode are pure gold, and while the discipline focus is nursing, Rachel and Danica’s pedagogical uses of social annotation are transferable to virtually any area of study. Read and watch below, and then feel free to put their methods to use in your own classroom and share them (and/or the full episode) with your educational community.

To the lighthouse

In this first clip, Rachel offers us a beautiful metaphor to keep and ponder as she describes her approach to teaching nursing; specifically how she uses social annotation to facilitate class discussions carried by students.

Here, Danica talks about how social annotation offers a “warm call” for students, drawing them closer to the assigned reading prior to class and fostering deeper engagement during class, as students build off of their pre-class annotations.

Agency and epsom salts

In a great bit of storytelling, Danica recounts how in her Race, Power, Privilege, and Health class students clearly understand the value in and power of social annotation. And she shares what social-reading gratitude looks like for one student. (Hankies not included.)

Social annotation to the rescue

In this clip, Rachel describes how the pandemic has hampered nursing students from getting the type of hands-on clinical experience they would normally have access to, and shares how social annotation offers creative ways to build the critical thought processes that students need, post-graduation, for clinical judgment as nurses.


In this pair of clips, our guests discuss a topic that’s often on the minds of those who use social reading in their teaching: How do you grade annotations?

Pets & punctuality

And finally, in this exchange, we get a rare scheduled appearance of a pet on screen and hear tell of an equally rare occurrence in the classroom, spurred on by social annotation.

Got annotation advice?

If you care to share, let us know what your annotation tips are. Annotate this page, Tweet us, or drop us a line.

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