Collaborative Annotation (

Collaborative Annotation ( is a free, web-based tool that enables multiple people to add annotations in the margins of web-pages or PDFs found online, a practice referred to as “social annotation.” Within courses, faculty and students can collaboratively annotate web-pages, PDF documents, and other textual internet resources as part of a private group or within a Moodle course.

Why use

  • The practice of web-based collaborative annotation can transform the solitary act of reading into a social experience. 
  • Collaboration and peer connection in remote learning environments is key for maintaining student engagement. offers a space in which students can interact with their peers around a shared course reading.
  • empowers students to make their thinking visible to their peers while enabling instructors to assess student understanding of concepts and to identify areas of shared interest or confusion in the readings.

Sample Uses

  • Students can use to annotate readings ahead of synchronous class meetings. 
  • Instructors can frame annotations as “reading actions,” in which students make comments, pose questions, provide answers, or make connections to other resources on the web. 
  • Use annotations on research papers to help students navigate the structure of a scientific article or to help them remember the definitions of technical terminology as they read.
  • annotations can be an alternative space for students to comment on course readings. Unlike Moodle discussion forums or written response papers, students’ annotations are tied directly to passages in the readings.


  • The Teacher Resource Guide includes:
    • Detailed tutorials for using the tool across different types of online readings.
    • Example assignments and links to webpages annotated by students as part of those assignments.
    • guides designed for students. 
    • Links to webinars, blog posts, and research articles about pedagogy of social annotation.
  • Read recent research on web-based annotation using
    • Kalir, J. et al. 2020. “When I Saw My Peers Annotating:” Student Perceptions of Social Annotation for Learning in Multiple Courses.” OSF Preprints. March 17. doi:10.1108/ILS-12-2019-0128.
    • Kalir, J. 2019. “Social Annotation Enabling Collaboration for Open Learning.” OSF Preprints. December 21. doi:10.31219/

Get Help