Designing digital tools for critical reading : multiple perspectives on a platform for social annotation
- How does software design create opportunities for learning and instruction in the context of college courses? Learning is an ongoing process shaped by individual activities, as well as interpersonal interactions. Focusing on a recently designed platform, Lacuna Stories ("Lacuna"), I examine two distinct roles that software can play in college courses: first, as a mediator in a complex activity system of roles, relationships, and discourse practices, and second, as an observation instrument for learner data that can be analyzed by researchers. Lacuna is an example of an online learning platform designed to embody valued educational activities for a specific context: college-level literature and literacy courses. Since 2013, Lacuna has been developed through an ongoing collaboration between myself and my Digital Humanities colleagues in Stanford's Poetic Media Lab. The central feature of the Lacuna platform is social annotation, which allows students to share their comments on a text with one another in a private online space. Through social annotation, Lacuna embodies two central practices of college-level literature and literacy course: critical reading and dialogue. The two perspectives on Lacuna appear in the two empirical chapters, Chapters 4 and 5. Chapter 4 - "Mapping the Social Annotation Ecosystem" - draws on the qualitative data from sixteen courses to examine the ways that the UI and UX of social annotation, as well as other aspects of digital reading on Lacuna, mediates the evolving system of roles, relationships and practices in courses across multiple institutions. I find that students and faculty experienced both benefits and challenges when integrating social annotation with Lacuna into their learning activities. For example, social annotation increased the opportunities for individual students to better understand their readings and gain multiple perspectives on the texts, though at times seeing others' annotations was overwhelming or could undermine students' personal interpretations. For instructors, annotations were used to provide a novel window into students' sensemaking of texts that could be an extension of classroom discussions, though bringing student annotations into class adds a new task to instructor preparation practices. For both students and instructors, the norms and expectations for social annotation practices were still emerging. The balance of these benefits and challenges will vary depending on the context and are likely to ebb and flow throughout the experience of students and instructors. Naming them in this chapter is a way of mapping the territory so that the benefits can be maximized and the challenges minimized - through pedagogical design, technological design, and various combinations of the two. Chapter 5 - "Towards the Development of Critical Reading Analytics" - brings individual student reading practices to the foreground. I use the novel data source of digital annotations to identify commonalities in college student annotation strategies across a diversity of settings and texts. The analysis focuses on indicators of critical reading, a key learning outcome for college literature and literacy courses. Synthesizing multiple ideological heritages of critical reading and a random sample of the annotation data, I iteratively and collaboratively develop a parsimonious taxonomy of six core critical reading strategies that can be identified in student annotations: questioning, evaluation, interpretation, identification of literary/rhetorical conventions, interpretive paraphrases, and elaboration. The taxonomy additionally includes six comprehension-oriented reading strategies, because the data demonstrated that students regularly move between these two reading goals. The taxonomy is successfully applied to N=2,000 annotations from three distinct institutions. On average, the students in the courses using Lacuna used critical reading strategies in the majority of their annotations. Critical reading is a complex process, going far beyond a reader's initial contact with a text. My work demonstrates that students' annotations, produced as they actively read, is a significant starting point for evaluating whether and how students are engaging critically with texts.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Schneider, Emily Louise Forrester
|Stanford University, Graduate School of Education.
|Pea, Roy D
|Pea, Roy D
|Kelman, Ari Y, 1971-
|Kelman, Ari Y, 1971-
|Statement of responsibility
|Emily Louise Forrester Schneider.
|Submitted to the Graduate School of Education.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016.
- © 2016 by Emily Schneider
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC-SA).
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