Creation and curation tasks ask students to actively participate in the learning process. The students do not passively receive knowledge – instead, they must research, select, distill, evaluate, and re-present. This can mean

  • collecting online websites and tools
  • surveying current events and issues
  • aggregating journal articles and scholarly sources on a specific subject

Many online tools exist to facilitate this process, and to allow students to seamlessly collaborate on the creation of a shared resource.


The sense of purpose and ownership that students have as creators / curators can be leveraged to increase student engagement through active learning. Creating, or curating, resources and content is a great way to give such ownership to students, harness their prior understanding / expertise and collect a variety of contributions. By adding an element of collaboration to such content creation / curation, such as group work or project based work, there is an opportunity for a powerful and authentic activity resulting in a valuable shared resource for the wider course cohort.


In one research course, students were given editing rights to a particular Canvas page, and asked to collectively collate a series of research journals and a bibliography of articles that were relevant to their research topic. During the literature gathering phase of the course, students added pertinent resources and collectively created an annotated bibliography that addressed themes that were relevant to their collective research topics.

In another example, students were encouraged to use Google Docs to collaboratively notetake during lectures. This resulted in a student created artefact, which included a variety of points and reflections from the wider group, that was available for review by the whole course cohort.

Where to next?

Collaborative annotated bibliographies are a good way to crowd-source resources, and are useful for modelling good literature annotation and referencing to beginning researchers. Developing familiarity with useful social bookmarking and research tools such as Refworks, Zotero, Endnote and Mendeley is advantageous for emergent researchers, and well worth the time and effort spent in getting started. While set up might take a little longer than a collaborative document or wiki page, the long-term advantages lie in the software’s ability to accelerate and cross-check referencing as research is written.

Tools and Tips

Canvas pages have permission settings for who can edit the page: lecturers, instructors, students, or anyone. The default setting is to restrict editing of pages to lecturers only, however, this can be changed by selecting the Who can edit this page drop-down menu, at the bottom of the page. Within this drop-down menu there are options to allow only teachers, teachers and students, or anyone to edit that particular page. By providing the opportunity for students to edit certain pages, students can edit and contribute to course pages, which could then be viewable to all students or a select student group.

Google Apps for Education, a web-based suite of tools which includes: Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc., are available to all staff and students at the University by using their UPI. Therefore, both staff and students have access to co-create content and share with others in collaborative settings.

EndNote is a specialised database tool for storing and managing bibliographic references. The University of Auckland has a site licence that allows the use of this software on all desktops and laptops that are owned or leased by the University.  Endnote allows you to copy references from the Catalogue and Library databases into your EndNote Library using filters and connection files, and also works with MS Word so that you can insert in-text citations and create reference lists in your documents in specific referencing styles. Postgraduate students and staff are charged if they want to purchase a copy for work at home.

For information about other reference management software tools available to staff and students see the University’s Referencing page.











Cole, D., Rengasamy, E., Batchelor, S., Pope, C., Riley, S., & Cunningham, A. M. (2017). Using social media to support small group learning. BMC Medical Education, 17, 201.

Hagerman, M. S., & Coleman, J. (2017). Implementing a digital hub strategy: Preservice teacher and faculty perspectives. Learning Landscapes, 11(1), 137–151.

Oakley, G., Pegrum, M., & Johnston, S. (2014). Introducing e-portfolios to pre-service teachers as tools for reflection and growth: lessons learnt. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 42(1), 36–50.

Shaw, R. J., Sperber, M. A., & Cunningham, T. (2016). Online social media as a curation tool for teaching. Nurse Educator, 41(1), 41–45.

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