Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Community Member

What are limitations of free draw annotate in speed grader?

When I saw the free draw annotate feature in speed grader I was initially excited that I would be able to grade FRQs on the student's work just like on paper.  I have a Wacom Bamboo USB writing tablet, which I use to draw in microsoft paint.  When I tried to free draw in a file (both a pdf and a jpeg) all it did was act like a mouse, moving the paper around.  I could get a line if I depressed one of the buttons on the pen, but it looks like a 1 yr old's drawing and won't let me lift the pen.  Then I tried a stylus on an ipad - same issue.  Then I tried on a Windows 10 Dell in tablet mode, both with a stylus and my finger.  None of them worked.  I seem to be able to draw only with my finger on the mousepad.   

When it says "free draw annotate" does it really just means "draw a line from here to there"?  I am not sure what else it will let me do.  Is this just a limitation of Canvas?  (If so, please develop this.  It would be fantastic?  

Has anyone found a way to write on a page in speed grader?  I shouldn't have to download them to put into paint and reupload.  

4 Replies
Community Participant

I have the same question! I have just purchased an XP-Pen Deco 03, and have been trying to write comments directly on my students' uploaded pdfs. The experience is NOT user-friendly. If I lift the pen, I am prompted to either save or delete the first stroke of of, let's say, the first stroke of a printed letter 't'. 

If someone has any insights, I would love to read them.

Thanks in advance,

Matt in Pa.

Community Member

The best I've been able to do with my xp-pen deco 01 v2 is forego the drawing with speedgrader entirely and just download all the PDFs and grade them using adobe acrobat reader and then zip them back up and submit to canvas and enter the numerical grades - not smooth at all, but it works (as long as students are submitting PDFs, which is another challenge entirely). The bummer is that students don't immediately see my marked up version of their hw, it goes in as a separate attachment.

I would love to grade with the pen within canvas without that checkbox / delete showing up, as this would be faster for me and more visible to students. Looks like an actual tablet like an iPad would work better with the designated teacher app, but don't have access to such a tablet!

Another alternative which would probably work in your FRQ world would be using Kami through google drive, all hooked up to Canvas - if you have students submit via kami, you would be able to comment with a pen in speedgrader with the Kami app / plugin. Sadly, since I'm having students submit scans of hw they've done in paper (math!), that option wasn't going to work for me without making students jump through even more hoops.

Community Participant

Thanks, hroar! Much appreciated.


Community Member

Does your pen have a "mouse-click" button?  I had the exact same issue with my Microsoft pen for my Surface Pro, and it was infuriating.  (I teach mostly 100-200 level math classes, so trying to make all comments in text form is not helpful to the students and downloading then uploading the pdfs adds so much load time.)


I found that if I hold the side button while writing it doesn't require me to click the "check."  The box with the "check" and "trash can" do show up, but I can continue to write as long as I hold the side button down. 

It still isn't a great solution since now I have to get used to writing while holding that side button.  It is worth it to me because I do like the ability to comment on my writing.  Downloading and writing on the pdf outside of Canvas doesn't easily provide this option.  So I will continue to use "free draw" while holding down the side button on my pen until hopefully Canvas improves the "free draw" functionality.