Web-based Annotation with Hypothes.is

Web-based annotation is the digital version of adding highlights, comments, notes and other marginalia to print-based texts and documents. Hypothes.is is a free online tool that enables faculty and students to engage in a collaborative and shared reading experience.

Possible Uses

The practice of web-based annotation transforms the solitary act of reading into a collaborative, social experience. Instructors can use Hypothes.is to: 

  • Provide an alternative space for students to discuss course readings. Students' annotations are tied directly to the text (unlike in discussion forums or written reading response papers.) See an example assignment using annotation as reading action.
  • Identify areas of confusion in the text that may be shared among multiple students. See an example assignment using annotation as questions and answers.
  • Provide contextual annotations (e.g.definitions, web-links to other articles) to help students understand key concepts and make connections. See an example assignment using annotation as a tool for navigating research papers.
  • Support connected learning principles in coursework


Support we offer:

  • Brainstorming various instructional uses for web-based annotation to support teaching, learning and research
  • Activity design for reading assignments or research projects that integrate web-based annotation
  • Evidence-based practices around the use of web-based annotations to support student learning
  • Sample formative assessments to collect learner feedback
  • Using Hypothes.is as part of Moodle. (For self-directed learning, review Creating Hypothes.is Enabled Readings in Moodle and Grading Student Annotations in Moodle)


Learn More



Contact Information

To schedule an instructional consultation in the use of web-based annotation, contact:

Senior Instructional Designer - Connected Learning

Ask for Help

If you are unable to find the information you need in the documentation available online, the ITS Service Desk is available to assist.