The role of social annotation in facilitating collaborative inquiry-based learning

Jackie W.W. Chan, Jacky W.C. Pow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines whether a social annotation (SoAn) tool may help facilitate students' collaborative inquiry-based learning (CIL). This kind of SoAn tool enables students to bookmark, highlight, annotate, share, discuss, and collaborate on information sources collected for their collaborative inquiry-based learning assignments (CILA) online. An analysis of these interactions may help instructors understand how students learn and may provide useful advice to them during the learning processes. This study invited 377 freshmen or sophomores from three different general education courses at a Hong Kong university to try out a self-developed SoAn tool, the Web Annotation and Sharing Platform (WASP). Quantitative data were collected from a questionnaire survey, activity log files, and CILA marks, while qualitative data were collected from individual interviews. The survey revealed that WASP facilitated the early stages of students' CIL in identifying inquiry questions and searching information. Students agreed that the SoAn tool is useful and effective in facilitating their CIL, but there were no significant changes in their CILA marks. This study revealed that no correlation was found among students' perception of the CIL/SoAn tool, the usage of the SoAn tool, and their CILA marks. With students' high perceived usefulness and effectiveness of SoAn tools, further studies should focus on how to better utilise SoAn tools in students' CIL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103787
JournalComputers and Education
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education

User-Defined Keywords

  • Collaborative inquiry-based learning
  • Social annotation
  • Social network analysis
  • Undergraduates


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