Customizing Your Reading Experience: Annotation Visibility

— Kate, Owl Eyes Staff on

We’ve been seeing a lot of new faces on Owl Eyes these past few weeks, which has been very exciting! Whether you’re new to the site or have visited us before, we’d like to share a few reminders on how our tools work across the website.

Tools for Everyone

Whether reading the classics for fun or taking a break from schoolwork, Owl Eyes has features that are applicable to all kinds of users.

View Owl Eyes Annotations

When first entering the reading view, readers will see selections of highlighted text. Clicking on them will pull up Owl Eyes annotations—the ones that our expert staff has written or approved from contributors. We make sure that these annotations are clearly written, informative, and connected to common literary elements such as themes, character analysis, and literary devices. Our Owl Eyes annotations are also connected to a Common Core standard.

Filter Based on Contributor

By default, readers will see annotations from the Owl Eyes team—but we’ve included a dropdown filter function so that anyone can select from other filters to suit their needs. For a more personal reading experience, readers can choose “My Annotations only” from the filter drop-down to only see their personal annotations and highlights. To see what other people are saying and join in on the discussion, choose “All Annotations.”

Filter Based on Type

We tag all of our annotations with an appropriate label, be it “Character Analysis,” “Themes,” “Vocabulary,” or any other relevant term. This is especially helpful for readers interested in specific aspects of a text or for those writing essays on specific topics and need some help.

Tools for Teachers

In addition to the tools above, those with teacher profiles have a few more options related to their use of the website.

Create Classrooms

Teachers and educators can create classrooms on Owl Eyes, serving as personalized areas of the site. These classrooms can be filled with students or colleagues via an add code or a direct email invitation. We’ve also integrated Owl Eyes with Google Classrooms to help make sharing this information with students much easier.

Add Texts to Classrooms

After creating a classroom, texts can be added to it very simply. When viewing a text, just below the “Continue Reading” button is a section labeled, “Assign to Classrooms.” Teachers can click the drop-down list to select the correct classroom, then click the “Assign” button. The text now appears within the designated classroom and all classroom participants can access a unique version of the text inside the reading view—which we call the “classroom context.”

View Classroom Participant Activity

Teachers also have the ability to view student activity and track student progress. By clicking “My Classrooms” and entering the appropriate classroom, they can see a list of students under the header, “Enrolled Students.” After clicking on a specific student, teachers will be able to see what the student has most recently read, along with how far they are in that specific book. Teachers can also view all of the annotations a student has made within classroom-assigned texts by clicking the dropdown connected to each text.

Tools for All Classroom Participants

Whether teacher, student, or book club member, there are a couple different options available to classroom participants and how they can interact with the reading view.

View Annotations in the Classroom

Annotations made within an Owl Eyes classroom will be visible to others within the classroom by default. If a reader would rather make a personal note to themselves, they can always change the reading context from the classroom view to the general view. This will make annotations private by default, but it will take the reader out of their private classroom context.

Read Texts Outside of the Classroom

Toggling between reading views can be done by clicking the books icon at the top left of the page. This gives everyone the option to read within a classroom view or in the general view. Reading in the general view means that any annotations made there will not be saved inside the classroom. Instead, they’ll be saved as private, personal notes unless submitted to the Owl Eyes editors for review. (Note: Unless a teacher assigns a book to a classroom, readers of all kinds won’t be able to read that book within the classroom view.)

Use More Filters

In addition to the filtering options mentioned above, teachers have more view options within their classroom contexts. Notably, teachers have the option to view annotations from specific students in their classroom. Just click on the individual students names from the drop down and the filter will be applied.

For more help getting acquainted to Owl Eyes, be sure to check out our FAQ page or read our Guided Walkthrough!