Marginalia Central: Social Annotation as Discussion Forum

This post was co-written by Sean Michael Morris and Jeremy Dean.


Like page-bottom comments sections on online articles, discussion forums emerged in the Internet Age as a way for readers and students to engage with published authors and each other. Like page-bottom comments sections, discussion forums have largely failed to cultivate the kinds of meaningful conversations they promised.

Discussion forums are among the most difficult of all the digital spaces that teachers must organize and occupy. In the fifteen years that Sean has been working with teachers in online and hybrid classes, he has encountered more confusion and complaints about discussion forums than any other digital tool. The problem is that the discussion forum is, quite simply, not designed for discussion. Continue reading “Marginalia Central: Social Annotation as Discussion Forum”

Reading is Lonely, Reading is Social

Reading is Lonely

Reading can be an intensely lonely activity. Curled up on a couch, wrapped in a blanket, deep in a book, the world falls away. Sometimes we may look up from the pages as if waking from a dream, unsure of where we are, vividly disoriented.

This is as it should be. Reading as disconnection, a distinct kind of un-networkedness as we are in a sense hardwired only to the book itself. It’s an experience that is perhaps even more valuable in today’s hyper-networked world than ever before. We read best while on vacation where the connections are otherwise poor.

The solitary vision of reading is only the first stage of many in the literacy process. We have to do something with that loneliness, that alienation, of reading.

Continue reading “Reading is Lonely, Reading is Social”