An annotation tool has been proposed for writing school as a new way of assignment evaluation. The proposal is based on the assumption that the target population is not very familiar to web technologies. The annotation tool has also been compared with other annotation tools used worldwide.

Creative Writing… How About Starting With Some Classes?

Who does not enjoy a breathtaking adventure novel? A short story that touches one’s heart always leaves a mark. Even if it is not noticed, there is more than just the writer behind those texts. Before reaching the reader, a story goes under several cycles of writing, checking and editing. Along with editors, advisors and close friends play an important role in the checking stage of these cycles. Their comments and corrections are very helpful to improve the work or even change the course of the plot. Especially for the writers who are at the beginning of the writing career, each and every comment is valuable.
Writing schools provide fundamental knowledge of creative writing as well as the evaluation opportunity of the given assignments through the term. Students share their work with the other members of their group and in class under a teacher’s supervision, each work’s weak and strong points, possible improvements are discussed by the group. Everything sounds easy and convenient so far. Let’s look more into the details…

Where Is The Difficulty?

Well-known writing schools (Istanbul Film Akademi Screenplay Writing, Uğur Mumcu Araştırmacı Gazetecilik Vakfı and Sinemart) have been explored. While collecting the assignments from students, they are using Google Groups, a Google product for discussion groups . The main advantages of the product is both being free and its simplicity of using with just sending a mail. However Google Groups has two main constraints. All students and teachers need a Google account. Accounts other than Google can still use the product but not with full functionality. Also making comments is another constraint when the concern is writing schools. The comments from the other members of the class appear as replied mails, the information relating replied mail and part of the assignment is missing.
Submitted assignments are evaluated and brought to class by the teacher. Later, these assignments are discussed with the group. During the discussion, owner of the assignment should either take detailed notes of the comments or some of them would be lost. Also if some of the comments are lost, remaining ones will not provide a collaborative environment. Illegible handwriting degrades the efficiency of comment done. However the product of handwriting is subject to being destroyed or it can be lost. Since paper is corporeal, it can be damaged easier than a digital document. Even if the paper is still in hand and the comments are legible; in order to edit the commented assignment quickly and save safely, it is necessary to use technology.
The technology is continuously developing, yet pen and paper images are still inseparable with the action of writing. So, the solution to replace the current system should be simple enough to be usable by the people who cannot keep up with the latest technology. In other words a new system to evaluate assignments should be user friendly.

What Happened So Far?

Additions to a document that are referred as comments before are technically named as annotations. Annotations, namely, developments on adding comments to a web document has begun with World Wide Web . Although adding an annotation on a web document has appeared in the first examples of web browsers, that utility is later abandoned. At the beginning of 2000s, several annotation applications have been developed, but currently most of them are abandoned too. In the meantime, many annotation applications have come onto stage. Recently, on February 2017, web annotation is accepted as a web standard . Nowadays a new version of annotator.js is under development.
Web annotations can be considered as a layer on the web document. All of the added comments are on this new layer as highlighted text. Thus the original content is preserved while the document is annotated. The possible targets of annotation has been illustrated in the following figure.