Hypothesis for History

Hypothesis empowers students and educators to highlight and comment on digital course materials, helping to develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, increase student engagement, and create community in online, hybrid, and in-person courses.

Social annotation works right on top of existing course content to:

  • Develop close reading skills for the comprehension and analysis of primary sources
  • Cultivate disciplinary literacy in the reading and writing of academic research
  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaborative knowledge production
  • Facilitate purposeful asynchronous communication outside of the classroom

What teachers are saying


Explore our collection of conversations with teachers, example assignments, and grading rubrics to get ideas about how to add social annotation to your courses.

  • A video discussion including Alicia Maggard from Auburn University and Mary Klann from UC San Diego about using collaborative annotation to engage students in active, visible, social discussion on history texts.

  • A video discussion including Associate Professor of History at Trent University Olga Andriewsky and Trent University Department of Psychology Associate Professor Fergal O’Hagan about using the pedagogical practice of social annotation.

  • Primary Source Annotation: This assignment probably represents one of the first uses of Hypothesis in an educational context. University of Mary Washington History professor Jeff McClurken has been experimenting with Hypothesis in the classroom since the app’s early days.  Most recently Jeff has used the assignment in a US Women’s History to 1870 class.
  • Ongoing Assignment: An annotation assignment could be a one-off exercise in close reading or it could be a daily practice for students throughout their course readings. This assignment imagines Hypothesis as a go-to reading and collaborating tool for an entire course.

Example courses using Hypothesis

  • Cultural History
  • History of the Future
  • Introduction to History
  • Modern European History
  • United States History to 1877
  • Western Civilization
  • Women in America

Some Hypothesis partners with a History focus

See all schools using Hypothesis and learn more about the AnnotatED community.

Download a one-page handout to share with colleagues via print or email.

Thumbnail of handout: Hypothesis for History.
Two old books seen from the side: One with a green cover and a metal bookmark stacked slightly ajar on one with a blue cover. Image credit: Old Books (https://flic.kr/p/9ot8E8) by Zan Ready, licensed CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/).