Thanks to for announcing that the pilot program for using this tool with Blackboard is free due to Coronavirus cancelations and closures.

This is a very quick guide to using the plugin with Blackboard to annotate texts with your class. This enables all of your students to mark up a text in a private space without an additional login. With this tool students can write comments, provide links, and use images and videos to annotate a website, PDF, or document on Google Drive.

This first video will explain what is and go through the basic features of the tool. You may consider sharing this video with your students, as it demonstrates how to annotate a text using

Click the play button for the basics video

Here is the (cut and paste-able) text of the assignment as I post it on Blackboard:

Each students needs to contribute a minimum of 5 annotations and 2 replies. Here are examples of the types of annotations that might be helpful for you and your classmates. You can certainly expand on this list and annotate in any way you find useful!

  1. A summary/paraphrase of specific parts of the article you found interesting 
  2. Definitions of terms used in the article (with links)
  3. References to people/places/things mentioned in the article (with links or images/videos)
  4. Opinions (respectfully, with evidence)
  5. Questions 
  6. Links to related materials or further evidence on the same subject 

Also, here is a blank copy of the PROBE rubric I use for “grading” participation. The students collaboratively define each category the second day of class, and self evaluate twice a term. The rubric governs all in-person and online participation, as is adapted from a version provide by Cristina Garcia in our Diversity & Inclusion Office.

This next video demonstrates how to add a link to your Blackboard site. Instructors and administrators have the privileges to add links to an LMS for sites with the pilot program installed.

Also, has added a gradebook feature, explained here on their website.

And here are the generic directions they have for adding the app in the course.

For those who wish to use the tool as a standalone application outside of your LMS, here is my walk through of how to create a private group to share with your class.

For the philosophy behind why I use and my pedogogical approach to social annotation, please watch my presentation from the iAnnotate conference:

Or read my book chapter from Digital Reading and Writing in Composition Studies

Please feel free to email me at alicastro [at] stevenson [ dot] edu or tweet @amandalicastro with questions! Good luck!