An Exploration of Digital Reading Practices and Pedagogy
curry mitchell

The technology that supports active reading in digital environments is getting better. Common devices and freely available software make it possible to apply traditional, mindful reading practices to pdfs, digital textbooks, and Open Educational Resources. Still, these high-tech tools are not themselves enough to teach students how to meaningfully engage with text. Along with ever improving technologies and the exciting benefits of OER come a need to maximize the impact of classroom instruction, so students truly benefit from the reading/hearing/playing/watching/swiping they bring to new interactive modalities that are becoming ever more common in higher education.

The following list of resources and annotations seeks to explore:

  • How to support effective academic reading skills given the range of devices and apps present in our classrooms?
  • What new forms of effective reading are possible in networked, digital environments?
  • What digital practices best target comprehension and recall, critical reading and response, and/or active reading and intellectual engagement?
  • How to promote time management, preparedness, and accountability despite the distractions of digital access?

If you would like to contribute to this bibliography, please join our WritingwithMachines Canvas course and add your annotated resource to our Discussion on Digital Reading and Annotation before March 7th. Please join us March 8th from 7:00-8:00 in Zoom for a culminating discussion on pedagogy and demonstration of tools.

Thank you to Lisa Lane, dara, Rob Bond, Megen O’Donnel, Jim Julius, Denise Stephenson, and Anne Fleming for contributing!


Things to watch

Our Discussion in Zoom

Navigate to Lisa Lane’s Demonstration Notes and Tutorials, featured in our Zoom discussion

Using Mind-maps as a/during [Digital] reading process: Coggle for digital mind-mapping, by Anne Fleming, MiraCosta College Writing Center.

I have been working with several students who are frustrated with digital reading. Something I have been trying is both hand-written and digital mind-maps to interact with the text. When students mind-map, they slow down, process better, and their visual map of the information matches/ reflects some of their own cognitive processing. This video has some examples of hard copy and digital mapping and a few ways it can be used in a classroom setting. Here is the link to the Coggleit site.

MiraCosta’s Open Educational Lunch Extravaganza

Nicole Finkbeiner from OpenStax, Keynote

Student Panel

Faculty Panel

Things to Listen to

Assessing the Impact of Open Educational Resources hosted by Bonni Stachowiak of Vanguard University of Southern California with guest C. Edward Watson, the Associate VP for Quality, Advocacy, and LEAP Initiatives with AAC&U. Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast, http://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/assessing-impact-open-educational-resources/

A 30 minute podcast focused on the exciting impact of Open Education Resources on student success. The conversation offers compelling statistics and anecdotes, but it also arrives at one clear drawback stated by students about OER materials: digital content is harder to use than printed texts. Listen to this podcast to get excited about OER, and then explore the resources below that address the need to teach students how to succeed with digital resources.

Igniting Our Imagination in Digital Learning and Pedagogy hosted by Bonni Stachowiak of Vanguard University of Southern California with guest Remi Kalir, Assistant Professor, Information and Learning Technologies at CU Denver. Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast, http://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/igniting-imagination-digital-learning-pedagogy/

A 30 minute podcast that focuses on play as an approach to learning and accessing   digital annotation technologies like Hypothes.is.  The conversation explores social reading as a mode for professional development for faculty, but also digs at the potential combination of digital annotation with classroom discussion as a powerful means of accessing texts.

Things to Read

Beyond the Yellow Highlighter: Teaching Annotation Skills to Improve Reading Comprehension by Carol Porter-O’Donnell. English Journal, May 2004, http://www.collegewood.org/ourpages/auto/2014/8/17/63598523/Beyond%20the%20Yellow%20Highlighter.pdf

Most of us who teach in reading-heavy disciplines have, ourselves, developed effective reading habits that combine highlighting, post-it notes, dog-eared pages, marked moments, coffee stained favorites, and kinetic flipping-across-pages with one’s own hands instead of clicks. O’Donnell’s source offers analog (nostalgic?) touch-stones that we might start to imagine transporting into digital environments.

Recommended by Megen O’Donnel

Welcome to the Post Text World. Multiple contributors: Farhad Manjoo, John Yuyi, Nellie Bowles, Mike Issac, Claire Cain Miller, Sapna Maheshwari, Amanda Hess. The New York Times, 14 February 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/09/technology/the-rise-of-a-visual-internet.html

A mash-up of articles exploring current multi-modal mediums. While some articles offer angst, others, describe empowering modalities. The central question that threads these articles asks how traditional media consumption habits and routines will necessarily change. For us, that question might be: what shifts in classroom instruction should we adopt to facilitate more effective reading/playing/watching/listening/swiping?

Reading on Electronic Devices by Diego Bonilla. https://goo.gl/AFXF8i

An interactive tutorial. Bonilla weighs the pros and cons of using eReaders, focusing on the preferences, behaviors, and outcome goals a student or instructor might bring to an act of academic reading. This is a great source to start encounter early, to weigh the value of eReaders yourself.

Recommended by Jim Julius

Annotation Technologies: A Software and Research Review by Joanna Wolfe, University of Louisville. Computers and Composition (paywall: access through MCC Library). 5 October 2002, https://doi.org/10.1016/S8755-4615(02)00144-5 .

Most of the devices and programs discussed here are outdated, but the theory that underpin this study still ignites the pedagogical imagination on fire. In fact, some of the tools linked at the bottom of this bibliography seem to have caught up with Wolfe’s ambition. This is definitely worth skimming to gain a framework for thinking about current technologies and programs.

The Digital Reader, The Alphabetic Writer, and The Space Between: A Study in Digital Reading and Source-Based Writing by Tanya K. Rodrigue, Salem State University. Computers and Composition (paywall: access through MCC Library), 6 October 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2017.09.005.

A one year study of first year college students who were taught “think-aloud” strategies–screen-casting while reading and responding out-loud–as a means to actively read digital texts. The video-audio think-alouds allow insight into “the cognitive and affective processes” students employ while reading in digital environments when their goal is to write a source-based paper. What’s interesting: many of these students demonstrate they are reading at the sentence-level opposed to the level of concepts or ideas when reading on screens. This article essentially calls for instruction supporting “reading strategies specific to digital environments.”

Social Reading and the Online Classroom (Part I of II) by Katherine Jewel, Teaching United States History, http://www.teachingushistory.co/2018/03/social-reading-and-the-online-classroom-part-i-of-ii.html

A survey of tools and classroom activites that promote collaborative exploration of sources. This is a great source to pair with your own exploration of Perusall (linked below under Things to Try), which will also be demoed in our Zoom discussion.

Recommended by Rob Bond

Writing in Online Courses edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver. Myers Education Press, 2018​.

Recommended by Denise Stephenson

Being a Better Online Reader by Marina Konnikova. The New Yorker, July 16. 2014, https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/being-a-better-online-reader.

This article motivated me to read Proust and the Squid (also another great reading resource) and think about how our brains are structured and that relationship to the act of reading. What I like about this New Yorker article is how it discusses what digital reading seems to do to us. When we digitally read we skim and scan, we flit through other content, and we exhaust faster than reading with a physical text we can hold in our hands. From a double consciousness perspective as both a teacher online and in f2f classrooms and as a coach doing writing center work, this article reveals the struggles our students face reading in the digital age. But this article can also be a jumping off point to possible inform how you will teach digital reading techniques and strategies in an f2f or online writing class.

Recommended by Anne Fleming

Things to Try

Google Play, iBooks, The Kindle app, The Canvas app…and other eReader apps

Beyond Highlighting: How to Get the Most From Your Annotations by Rahul Saigal. Envato How-to Tutorials, https://computers.tutsplus.com/tutorials/beyond-highlighting-how-to-get-the-most-from-your-annotations–cms-20013 .

Common devices that most students bring to class everyday are equipped already with tools that facilitate close reading, highlighting, annotation, quick searches, and more. The benefit: every student can access a digital resource in class immediately. The detriment: instruction on how to use these annotation tools must differentiate because every device and software tool is just slightly different from student to student. The article above offers a nice overview: a starting place to develop a for-all-devices lesson on effective digital reading and annotation.

Hypothes.is

Skills and Strategies | Annotating to Engage, Analyze, Connect and Create by Jeremy Dean and Katherine Schulton. The Learning Network: Teaching and Learning with the New York Times, 12 November 2015, https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/skills-and-strategies-annotating-to-engage-analyze-connect-and-create/?_r=0.

Jeremy Dean is the creator of Hypothes.is, an annotation program, but this isn’t an ad. They discuss the definition of annotating, different programs for doing it, and detailed ways to use it with students.

Recommended by Lisa Lane

Perusall

Individual and Team Annotation Effects on Students’ Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking, and Meta-cognitive Skills by Tristan E. Johnson, Thomas N. Archibald, and Gershon Tenenbaum. Collaboration across Florida State University and ADL Co-Lab,11 June 2010, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.05.014

This article has been uploaded into Perusall, a collaborative annotation tool that can be added to a Canvas course. You can explore Perusall and annotate the above article on annotation using Perusall by first joining our WritingwithMachines course or you can enjoy a demonstration of this tool by Lisa Lane during our Zoom meeting on March 8th from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Recommended by Lisa Lane