I’ve never been a fan of policing student behavior in my classes. I don’t take attendance, I’m pretty generous when it comes to late work and making up assignments, and I try to make participation in class something that’s organic rather than something structured and forced. In recent years, this hasn’t necessarily gone well. For example, the undergrad class I’m currently teaching has lousy attendance, and I struggle to get anyone except the 3-4 same voices to contribute to class discussions.
I keep a journal using the Day One app for macOS/iOS, and while I have some lingering concerns about platformizing (and even digitizing) my journaling, there are also some pretty neat aspects to using an app like this. First, it’s very easy to copy text from other electronic sources into the app, and that really helps me capture things that made an impression on me from day to day. Second, it’s also easy to search for, read, and even be reminded of old entries.
In addition to all the irritating ClassDojo stuff going on at kiddo’s school, I’ve also spent some time banging my head against the wall made up of two forms: One to opt out of FERPA directory information sharing, and the other to opt out of kiddo’s information being shared with media outlets. I’m too tired tonight to get into all the details of what’s been going on, but the short version is that there’s no (clear, easy) way for spouse and I to request that kiddo’s name and image not be shared on school social media without also insisting that kiddo’s name and image not appear in innocuous things like… a school yearbook.
Shortly after last week’s mostly-successful experiment with Hypothesis, I noticed Chris Aldrich posting to Micro.blog about the software and started up a conversation. I’d followed Chris a few weeks before in trying to get more into Micro.blog (perhaps my favorite indie social media platform out there, though I’m also enjoying getting into Mastodon) by following academia and academia-adjacent folks, and was pleased to see an area of common interest.
It wasn’t until a separate conversation on Mastodon this morning that I remembered that my Hypothesis setup was dependent on my manually checking annotations on my website.
As I’ve been working on updating this website and revamping my web presence over the course of the summer, one of the items on my to-do list has been to add a commenting feature to the website. I love Hugo, but the absence of any in-built commenting feature is definitely a downside. I’ve looked over various Hugo-compatible commenting systems, but I honestly don’t know how much commenting activity I’ll see, and I’ve been hesitant to pay a third-party platform to do all of this for me.
I’ve been trying to figure out for weeks how to best add commenting to my Hugo static site, and it just hit me that I could embed Hypothesis and use that as a social layer. Very excited about this idea.
I just had to annotate a class reading to explain first that “AIM” stands for AOL Instant Messenger and second what instant messaging was, all because I wasn’t sure my students would understand either. This makes me uncomfortable.
Special thanks to Google Drive for breaking the iframes I’ve been using to set up annotation-enabled readings in Canvas this semester… during the week that students are reviewing readings for their final papers. Really appreciate it.