Job and Volunteering Postings

RA opportunity: Encouraging & Supporting Discussions Through Online Annotations

October 26, 2018

The SFU Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines invites applications for a research assistant appointment for the Dewey Fellowship project Encouraging and Supporting Discussions Through Online Annotations to begin immediately.

Salary: $25/hr (incl. vacation and statutory holiday pay, no medical or dental benefits) - based on experience, qualifications and degree program (MA or PhD).
Start date: as soon as possible
Time commitment: 50 hours with a potential to extend for another 50 in 2019 Spring term.
Deadline: November 9, 2018.

Project Description

Seminar courses are predicated on the notion that students learn by critically reading a text, and subsequently engaging in discussions with their peers and with the instructor. This project seeks to expand on this practice by bringing discussions about assigned texts online by encouraging the use of a free online annotation tool that lets students place comments in the margins of any webpage or PDF.

Past experience has shown that online annotations:

  • foster greater participation;
  • encourage students to read closely, without skimming, all the way to the end;
  • show students with less experience how others read closely;
  • give the instructor a sense of what students found interesting or confusing in the assigned texts ahead of the classroom discussions.

The goal of this project is to encourage and support the use of annotations in classrooms across SFU. To support this project, the ISTLD Dewey Fellow Dr. Juan Pablo Alperin is seeking a research assistant that will reach out to faculty to explain the benefits of online annotations.

Learn more about annotating with this “Quick Start Guide” and this series of “annotation tips for students


  • Identifying faculty members who might be interested in using annotations in their classrooms;
  • Creating a “pitch deck” to explain why annotations are useful (in collaboration with project PI);
  • Organizing and delivering presentations on how to use annotations in a classroom setting;
  • Designing and administering survey for students who have used annotations;
  • Analyzing survey results;

Required qualifications and skills

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Excellent presentation skills;
  • Currently enrolled in a graduate program at SFU;
  • Experience teaching or running discussion-based tutorials;

Experience and skills that would be an asset

  • Experience with instrument design (especially surveys, rubrics, interview protocols, observation protocols/checklists, self-reflection tools);
  • Experience with basic qualitative and quantitative data analyses;
  • Experience using online annotations, especially with

Application Requirements

Applicants should send a “pitch” email to Juan Pablo Alperin <> outlining why they should be selected, along with a CV and a list of 2-3 references.

Note: Letters of reference will only be requested from short-listed applicants.

For more information, visit the online posting or the job posting below:

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