Reading and Annotating Texts with Course Assignment

A key part of our course is reading and annotation in preparation for our lectures and writing assignments. You will complete readings before we cover the material in class; this way, you can guide our discussion by offering comments, questions, areas of confusion and additional resources for class review.

  • What is it? “Annotation” is the process of analyzing and understanding a written work. Annotations are not just a summary of what is going on, but also an examination of the speaker, history, language, evidence, symbolism, imagery, tone (feeling), and anything else that catches your eye.
  • What are the requirements? In order for a text to be considered fully “annotated”, you must include: 250 words of annotation (the box to the left defines what counts as an “annotation”).  DO NOT simply cut/paste content from the internet; if you take info from other sources, put information into your own words and cite it (with hyperlink) for it to count as an annotation.
  • Looking for student samples? Once you install the chrome extension, you will see LOTS of examples from former students on the “Public” page.
  • How will I be graded? Here is a rubric. If you have any other concerns or questions, let’s talk about them 🙂


Submitting Annotations

Annotations will be completed using (a system for annotating the web) on our Open Companion for British Literature I: 

  1. Sign up for an account (here is a screencast tutorial if you need).
  2. You can choose any username you want; just make sure to record it on this spreadsheet so I can identify you. This will ensure that you receive credit/grade for your contributions.
  3. Add the Chrome Extension (for information on how to do this, look here).
  4. Locate the assigned reading in our Companion (here is a 1-minute video).
  5. Join our course group (link is on Blackboard) or you can annotate publically. I will be able to find all work you do through your username.
  6. Go forth and annotate 🙂


How to Annotate

Consider all the “types” of annotation you can create:

  1. Respond to questions: I am also annotating our texts and will often ask questions to get the ball rolling; feel free to respond to my prompts (or reply to other students whose insights you find intriguing). My username on is “msallegra”.
  2. Glossary: Look up and identify/define difficult words and allusions/symbols for the entire class (or the entire world!)
  3. Questioning: Flag a passage, word or concept for discussion; this gives me a “heat map” of what we need to cover in class.
  4. Close Reading: Look up and identify broader historical, social or biographical contexts for formalist elements (setting, imagery, repetition, word choice, metaphor, etc.)
  5. Opinion: What strikes you as particularly beautiful? Strange? Hillarious? What confuses you? What biases do you detect? Feel free to share opinions on the text.
  6. Multimedia: Find images, videos, .gifs that help us better understand the text.
  7. Research: Find and share additional texts, links, and information that relates to what we are reading


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An Open Companion to Early British Literature Copyright © 2019 by Allegra Villarreal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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