Here are a few key points about the way we’ll use the app in this class:
- The Chrome plugin is not necessary: our website has Hypothes.is automatically activated! I’ve left an annotation at the “quick start” page that explains the details….
- We will be using “tags” to organize our annotations. These will allow us to read the class’s annotations collectively, as a single stream, in addition to viewing them on the documents where they were made.
- Annotations can be set to “private” and then made public; if you’re shy, practice with private ones first!
When annotating, you will be doing several different things: I’ll break this down into three loose categories:
1) information/contextual notations:
These sorts of notations are “footnotes”: providing a chunk of information that furnishes helpful context for readers. Different printed editions of texts have different styles of footnotes; I expect that you will make annotations of this sort primarily for your own purposes, or to fill in gaps in the context I’ve provided for you (and I’ll be making these annotations on texts myself!)
2) rhetorically focused notations:
Here we’ll be focusing on what the author is doing and why they are doing it: annotating to enhance our understanding and build a foundation for engaging with the authors’ argument.
3) interpretive/analytical notations:
Here we get to the kind of thing that might happen in an online “discussion forum.” You will be making claims; pointing at contexts to show why those claims matter; analyzing chunks of text that provide evidence to support those claims; analyzing texts, events, and ideas to generate that evidence; using key terms that we’ll weave into our conversations as the course; and, while doing all these things, honing your own sense of written style and characteristic stance as a writer.
In other words, you’ll be working on all the things I will ask you to do in your formal written essays! But with a difference–or differences. The “perfect”, lengthy, overly formal post that tries to exhaust an issue, rather than engaging with others, is rarely a successful move (TL;DR). What you write will be more conversational in tone. Some of you may find you like your own informal writing better!–that it feels fresher to you; we’ll work on trying to get some of this freshness into your more formal written work…