OU Annotate: what comes next?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working with project manager Louise Olney to answer that question.  We’ve been avoiding tinkering with the system too much since it launched to all students in February while we watched to see how it settled down.

Now we have a range of ideas, from student and staff feedback and our own wish list, which we will be working on steadily over the next 6-9 months.  So here’s roughly what we’re planning, and I’ll blog about the more interesting individual elements as we work on them in more detail

December 2012 (definitely)

Nothing terribly thrilling in here:

  • a plagiarism awareness check (boring, but sadly necessary)
  • adding an edit button in the main manager screen for your own annotations to reduce number of clicks to edit
  • some underlying changes to the way the code works to make life easier for us to run the system
  • automated reporting for Louise (again, because it makes my life easier!)

And if I get time there may be a few extra usability fixes like the edit button that make the cut for the December release.

March 2013 (probably)

Focusing on usability:

  • Moving all the editing for an annotation into the comment window that opens when you click on the pin beside a highlight (and removing it from the toolbar)
  • Adding advanced search/filter to the toolbar
  • Making bookmarking easier
  • Improving guidance texts
  • Improving groups support for staff
  • Import bookmarks from Delicious

The biggest change here is the top one, I’ll post some pictures of the new toolbar & comment window when I get them.  As we’ve worked through the designs we’ve been really pleased with this – it just ‘feels’ better to us and I hope to you too.

June 2013 (maybe)

OK, so this is where we focus on some of the bigger wish list things.

  • toolbar to be more accessible for those with special needs
  • toolbar to be ‘on’ constantly on VLE pages
  • an OU Annotate gadget
  • improved support for exporting annotations in context
  • toolbar interaction on mobile devices

Technically the gadget and mobile device features are the most interesting to me.  I shall be doing a lot of research about mobile interaction to work out how to make this intuitive – comments welcome on what does and doesn’t work on other systems!

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