Course texts and multimedia are organized by week and instantly accessible to students – no downloading necessary. Reading features include a page turner, bookmarks, annotation filters and toggles, and iPad/tablet accessibility so students can truly customize their reading experience.
Students read actively as they highlight key concepts and passages and make notes to record questions, comments, and reactions to the text. Instructors can also embed annotation prompts and questions. Each annotation can be tagged for easier searching later. Individualized permissions and visibility options let students decide whether they want to keep each annotation private, shared just with the instructor, small groups, or everyone in the course.
Students and professors can tag documents, annotations, and written responses, allowing them to draw meaningful connection across all the original or user-generated content on Lacuna. Instructors can create “Curated Tags” to center the class discussion and vocabulary. Curated tags appear first on the drop-down list of tags that have already been created by the instructor and students.
Lacuna supports all forms of student writing, from class notes to short response papers, proposals, drafts, and final essays. Features like the automatic bibliography generator allow students to easily cite syllabus materials, as well as creating direct hyperlinks to annotations. A “Responses Map” visualization show how student writing references syllabus materials over time.
In the Sewing Kit, students can find, search, and filter all of their annotations in the course (and across courses), along with viewing annotations that have been shared by their instructor or co-learners. Amidst thousands of annotations, for instance, a student can filter by “questions” and their annotations that have the tags “narrative” and “gender.” This feature allows annotations to connect ideas across texts and lets students begin thinking about how to organize their ideas into arguments or writing.
Threads are groupings of annotations, or “stitchings,” which students and instructors can use to summarize discussions on the text, organize their ideas, or begin creating paper proposals or outlines by re-ordering their annotations to create a narrative flow. Threads can also be collaborative, so students and instructors can add or suggest other annotations or materials to help support each others arguments.
Students can track their progress by seeing how many annotations they have created over time, on which texts, length of annotation, and what categories they have used. Instructors can prepare for class b examining a summary of students’ reading patterns: Did students do the readings? Which texts did they find confusing or difficult to finish?
Lacuna includes a number of Learning Management System (LMS) features that instructors are used to from other platforms like Canvas, Blackboard, or EdX. Instructors can easily create and setup their own courses in order to have simple and direct control over course access. These features protect course materials that are copyright limited to enrolled students for educational purposes. All of these features are designed to make course materials and student privacy safe, secure, and easy to manage!