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Annotate Links

After learning to make links, it's worth teaching students to annotate their links. The simplest form of this is choosing or phrasing the link text carefully. Richer hypertext systems let you annotate links with labels or even lengthy text of their own.

One way to do this would be to lay two texts side by side, and to present an existing link (this could be done on paper). Ask students to give that link a label, either of the 'tooltip' (3-5 words) sort or of a longer sort. Another excercise would be to give an origin text, a description of a destination, and to ask students to choose good link words from the origin text. A third excercise would be to present a small 'concept map' and ask students to label the connections (probably in tooltip format). It would be a good idea to have at least one excercise involve multiple links from the same origin text to highlight the importance of signalling (contextualizing) the destination.

Learning to do that can teach students to:

  • write smooth and informative transitions between topics
  • practice idea-mapping
  • critically examine existing links and transitions in texts

Evaluation is based on:

  • displayed comprehension of the significance of given links
  • clearly contextualizing or signalling the destination of a link

Questions for further discussion:

  • What do labeled links help with?
  • How do we label "links" outside of (the web, hypertext, the software)?
  • When might we not want to label links? What would that do to our reading process?