The annotations feature in the Open edX platform introduces a new paradigm in online learning. In a way, it disrupts traditional learning and teaching models. Basically, digital annotation tools allow for contextual commentaries and conceptual tagging of media fragments inside online courses.
In 2013-14, HarvardX produced three media-rich tools to annotate text passages, video clips and high definition images. “Poetry in America: Whitman” was the first course with digital annotations. Students had the opportunity to virtually annotate assigned poems much in the way they would do it by hand in a brick-and-mortar classroom. They viewed and interacted with each other as they annotated and explored poems, “making the study of poetry a conversation instead of a solitary endeavor,” explained Leah Reis-Dennis, from HarvardX (See video above).