Collaborative reading at Carnegie Mellon

As reported in this Campus Technology article, Carnegie Mellon University has started using a product called Classroom Salon to encourage collaborative reading and commenting. This seems like a very effective way to share comments on specific passages in a text, either assigned by the instructor or submitted by students themselves.

I think that such a process is probably very effective, and would benefit from being more largely applied to electronic textbooks and other learning objects of different forms (think Youtube or Flickr annotations, for instance). Academic reading is about finding sentences that raise questions or make students think of something else that is related, so this system is perfect for those tasks.

Institutions can request access to pilot, but it doesn’t seem like the software itself will be made available as open source from what I have seen, which is a shame.


5 thoughts on “Collaborative reading at Carnegie Mellon

  1. I’ve seen this kind of thing also done with Diigo. Seems like you could also do a lot of it with the discussion feature of Google Docs.

  2. @Pat: Agreed, a lot of this don’t require another centrally-hosted service to support. Diigo has so much to offer, higher ed educators should step up and give it a try. The “importance slider” and the filter by user features of Classroom Salon are not things that Google Docs supports though, and that I see as interesting filters.

    @Bruce: Preaching to the choir. Any chance these features could be integrated in Sakai CLE as well? OAE is just so far down the road for us…

  3. Many players are trying to build this sort of thing into their eReaders, so for textbooks, choosing the right eReader might be the answer. You can also do this sort of thing with any PDF at, which is free, but not (?) open source. I don’t think they have anything like an importance slider, but then again, I haven’t checked it out in a couple of years. Things change so fast. I just downloaded a new version of Nook Study today…

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