Researching Annotation’s Power With Our First Scholar in Residence

By jeremydean | 3 September, 2020

Dr. Remi Kalir's picture annotated beside text

Hypothesis and the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) are collaborating to initiate a new interdisciplinary research program investigating how social annotation technologies and practices enrich student learning and engagement. Dr. Remi Kalir will lead this new effort as the first Hypothesis Scholar in Residence.

Social annotation is booming in education. Since Hypothesis released our integration with learning management systems in 2019, we have seen an exponential rise in annotations, annotators, and documents annotated — largely driven by teachers and students reading texts together. There are now over 150 educational institutions partnering with Hypothesis: from public and independent high schools to community colleges to large and small colleges and universities across the United States and around the world. Learn more about this community at AnnotatED, a program Hypothesis started to bring together educators, researchers, and technologists from organizations that engage deeply with collaborative annotation as a transformative practice in teaching and learning.


View the recording from Liquid Margins 11, “Researching Annotation’s Power With Our First Scholar in Residence,” where Dr. Remi Kalir, the first Hypothesis scholar in residence, spoke with Hypothesis VP of Education Dr. Jeremy Dean about his new role and what’s happening with research on social annotation, now and in the future.

Beyond supporting the wider and more effective use of social annotation, one of AnnotatED’s primary goals is to investigate connections between collaborative annotation, social reading, and student learning. In what ways can reading and annotation — as active, visible, and social practices — support student success? How might students’ meaningful use of social annotation vary by discipline or purpose? How can educators create learning environments and plan instructional activities to effectively support students’ social reading and annotation?

As our first major step to support these investigations, Hypothesis is excited to announce a new research collaboration with the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education & Human Development, to be led by Dr. Kalir, Assistant Professor of Learning Design & Technology at CU Denver. Dr. Kalir is a learning scientist and teacher educator who has published extensively on social annotation and learning, is a co-founder and facilitator of the Marginal Syllabus project, is co-author of the forthcoming book Annotation from The MIT Press, and co-developed CROWDLAAERS, an application that visualizes annotation activity using Hypothesis data. As the first Hypothesis Scholar in Residence, Dr. Kalir will start working during the fall 2020 academic term to collect, analyze, and disseminate existing research on social annotation, and to develop a collaborative research program with Hypothesis and scholars from AnnotatED institutions.

Our first project with Dr. Kalir will be to develop and publish a guide to existing scholarship and practices that connect social annotation with student learning. Dr. Kalir will also lead the development of a research agenda and associated processes to initiate new, interdisciplinary investigations into social annotation, student learning, and student success. Our goal is to start pursuing that research formally in early 2021 in collaboration with the broader AnnotatED and scholarly community, drawing on the substantial quantitative and qualitative annotation data already being generated by teachers and students, and following rigorous research and privacy practices.

Hypothesis is fortunate to be collaborating already with a diverse community of educators, educational institutions, publishers, and technology providers, and we hope to partner with multiple stakeholders as we advance annotation research. We will begin with the AnnotatED community and build from there. Our first steps will include: establishing an initial research agenda that investigates social annotation and student success; securing formal IRB approval to conduct ethical, transparent, and partner-driven research; ensuring that student privacy is protected throughout all stages of research; and connecting with other scholars and organizations eager to collaborate.

To get further updates, subscribe to annotation news from Hypothesis, and/or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. If your institution is not yet formally engaged with Hypothesis, get in touch and we’ll talk about how you can get involved to join in using collaborative annotation to enrich teaching and learning. We’re also grateful to hear any questions or suggestions you might already have about our plans to conduct further research into social annotation and student learning.

Start using Hypothesis in your LMS and learn more about pricing for your school.


About the University of Colorado Denver

The University of Colorado Denver is a public urban research university that serves approximately 15,000 students and is the most diverse research university in Colorado. The School of Education & Human Development (SEHD) is ranked among the top schools for education according to U.S. News & World Report. CU Denver’s SEHD hosted both the 2016 Hypothesis Educator Summit and the Fall 2018 Annotation Summit, and members of the SEHD community participated in the 2019 AnnotatED Summit at OLC Innovate in Denver, where UC Denver’s Dr. Manuel Espinoza delivered the Summit’s opening keynote.


Dr. Remi Kalir
Assistant Professor, Learning Design & Technology
CU Denver School of Education & Human Development | @remikalir (Twitter)

Share this article