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Friday, August 14 • 1:25pm - 1:50pm
Annotations and Feedback on the Web: Asking Native Speakers for Help

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Writing for coursework on the web has become commonplace utilizing tools such as blogs, wikis, and Google Docs. Now we are seeing new specialized plugins and modules with a focus on feedback and annotations. We will look at a few of these including the Annotator javascript library, which allows the reader to highlight text and create an annotation for the selected text. We will also demonstrate tools for WordPress and Drupal that allow for comments and feedback by paragraph instead of the entire page, along with examples for when this may be preferable. Resources for how the utilities can be implemented into an institutional website or hosted free elsewhere will also be provided.

We will then present one case study of a second year Japanese class at Dickinson College that utilized one of these tools to receive feedback from their Japanese speaking language partners. The class does regular language exchanges using the Mixxer website, www.language-exchanges.org. Students are partnered with a native Japanese speaker for their lab hour every second week and complete an English/Japanese exchange via Skype. After the exchange, students submit a “Skype report”, an informal written summary of their exchange. In previous years, these summaries would be homework assignments and only read by the instructor or teaching assistant. This year, students will post these summaries to the Mixxer website site and ask their partner and other native speakers for their feedback. We will compare the feedback received on the site versus that of their teaching assistant as well as analyzing how writing for an audience changes our students’ writing. Interested instructors will also see how the same activity could be organized for their classes.


Todd Bryant

Dickinson College

Akiko Meguro

Dickinson College

Friday August 14, 2015 1:25pm - 1:50pm EDT
CGIS Knafel K354 1737 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA