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Wednesday, June 22 • 14:45 - 15:35
CON03.05 - The Case for Social Annotation: Co-Reading in Real Time

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One of the foundations of literary study is close reading, that is, the careful study of word choice, punctuation, metrics, figurative language, allusion, et cetera, designed to map the polysemy or multiple meanings of a text. In lecture, we often attempt to model this kind of thinking so that students can practice it in their own reading. But what if we could demonstrate even more vividly, through shared digital documents, how scholarly reading is performed? What if we could stage the practice of textual annotation on-screen and offer students a way to participate in reflection collectively?

I propose to demonstrate how instructors might take advantage of sharing documents to design class activities around annotation and close reading. Following a series of historical case studies in social annotation, we will proceed to annotate a poem in real-time, before ending with a reflection on the pedagogical potential for in-class instructor-student collaborations.

In this interactive workshop, I will begin by offering a 10 to 15-minute historical overview of active reading, highlighting examples from the long history of individual and social annotation. Case studies to be discussed include the circle of astronomers who socially annotated Copernicus’ works, the annotated works of Northrop Frye, as well as some recent digital experiments in crowd-sourced annotation. From here, I will turn to the demonstration outlined above, asking a select number of audience members to co-annotate a modern poem with me in real time for 10-15 minutes. Finally, I will offer a reflective rationale for social annotation, while asking broader questions on what we mean by reading and how we evaluate the middle ground between silent reading and composition.


Scott Schofield

Scott Schofield is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Huron University College at Western University. An Early modern scholar, his research is in the history and future of reading with recent articles on “The Digital Book”, social annotation and Shakespeare’s reading practices.

Wednesday June 22, 2016 14:45 - 15:35
UCC 58

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