GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 65-12
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


VAN DER PLUIJM, Ben, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, 1100 North University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1005,

Ever wonder what colleagues do with textbook material, or what they say about it? Want students to be more engaged in their learning experience? If so, online materials that complement standard lecture format can provide new opportunity through managed, online group annotation that leverages the ubiquity of the internet access and personalizes learning. The concept is illustrated with the new online textbook “Processes in Structural Geology and Tectonics”, by Ben van der Pluijm and Stephen Marshak, which allows alternative organization of material and, notably, a platform for sharing of experiences, supplementary materials and approaches, including readings, mathematical applications, exercises, challenge questions, quizzes, alternative explanations, and more.

The annotation framework used is, which offers a free, open platform markup environment for annotation of websites and PDF postings. The annotations can be public, grouped or individualized, as desired, including export access and download of annotations. A teacher group, hosted by a moderator/owner, limits access to members of a user group of teachers, so that its members can use, copy or transcribe annotations for their own lesson material. Likewise, an instructor can host a student group that encourages sharing of observations, questions and answers among students and instructor. Also, the instructor can create one or more closed groups that offers study help and hints to students. Options galore, all of which aim to engage students and to promote greater responsibility for their learning experience.

Beyond new capacity, the ability to analyze student annotation supports individual learners and their needs. For example, student notes can be analyzed for key phrases and concepts, and identify misunderstandings, omissions and problems. Also, example annotations can be shared to enhance notetaking skills and to help with studying. Lastly, online annotation allows active application to lecture posted slides, supporting real-time notetaking during lecture presentation.

Sharing of experiences and practices of annotation could benefit teachers and learners alike, and does not require complicated software, coding skills or special hardware environments. Wanna try?

  • 2016GSAposter.pdf (2.7 MB)