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Allow Annotation of PDF Documents Directly In The Canvas App

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In the Canvas Community Ideas space, you can share, converse, and rate idea conversations related to software improvements to Canvas products.

Allow Annotation of PDF Documents Directly In The Canvas App

  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

 

  Idea will be open for vote Wed. October 7, 2015 - Wed. January 6, 2016  Learn more about voting...

 

I recently saw an archived idea (listed at the end of this listing). I am sad to see that it was archived with only 42 votes (I just leaned about voting today...brand new here). I would like to reemphasize a use case.

 

In today's paperless classroom it is useful to gather information from students through writing. Specifically in the K-12 arena, where we still sometimes ask students to fill out worksheets to show certain level of mastery of fact based work such as mathematics and grammar. While K-12 education should be striving to change from multiple choice tests and simple drill and kill to cognitive mastery, there are still cases where this type of assignment can be useful at reemphasizing skills. Furthermore, while speed grader does give the ability to the teacher to quickly click through rubrics or embed notes there are times teachers would like to "write" directly on student submissions. Adding in an annotation feature helps in both of these situations. Annotation features could also be used for signatures of documents passed back and forth for things such as field trips and other permission based files teachers may wish to send home with students.

 

For younger children especially, it is hard to advocate for using separate apps. Having one application that does viewing of pdf files and annotation would cut down tremendously on downtime used to submit and view documents. It would also tie well with the offline files feature that Canvas has already implemented for uses where internet is not reliable or homes which have no internet.

 

I would like to see the archived idea reopened for a vote. There are many competing products out that already do this sort of annotation. Our school is actually moving from a different product to Canvas because we want a more full blown LMS for online courses in the future. My teachers are all still under beginning phases of training and would all vote for the feature if it were opened up again. That would be 80+ more votes for implementation.

 

Student assignment annotation on mobile by Hilary Scharton

 

 

 

  Comments from Instructure

 

For more information, take a look at the release notes:

Canvas by Instructure Release Notes (iOS 3.15)

Canvas by Instructure Release Notes (Android 5.5) 

69 Comments
Instructure
Instructure

Hear, hear!  When this idea opens for voting, I'm in.

Smiley Happy

Community Coach
Community Coach

I teach at a school with 1:1 iPads. I can rally many of our teachers for this feature too. The timing on the last voting just missed us as well. Thank you for reviving ​!

michael.berg@eastern.k12.in.us, add some more tags to your feature request so more people can find it. The more (relevant) tags, the better!

Community Coach
Community Coach

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Thank you for your Feature Idea submission, michael.berg@eastern.k12.in.us. (And welcome to the Canvas Community).

You're right, there already was a similar idea called , which was submitted in a different voting period. It may contain valuable discussion and insight as this discussion moves through the voting process.

At this time, we don't re-open archived feature requests that have been archived due to lack of votes. However, we do accept duplicate ideas for a re-vote -- sometimes the timing of an idea just wasn't right.

We also encourage you to check out this article that can help you maximize the exposure and support of your Feature Idea: How do I write a good feature idea submission.

This idea will be open for vote in the next voting period. Smiley Happy

Community Member

Thank you all for the feedback. My teachers are doing training periods starting this Friday. I will make sure they are all aware of the community and the voting process!

Community Coach
Community Coach

This idea is now open for voting. Smiley Happy

Instructure
Instructure

Vote, Vote, Vote! Don't forget to tell your friends. Smiley Happy

Community Member

Oh my goodness, yes! Sharing this with the whole school. Right now our Middle School student shave to get a PDF in Canvas, send it to Notability, then once they complete the task, open it into Canvas again and then submit it. Writing on PDF's is a common feature in other learning tools. I feel like this is something a powerful LMS should be able to accomplish as well!

Community Member

YES! We are currently looking at teaching students how to coordinate between Canvas and Notability. It's not horrible, but it seems like this is something we should be able to do all within Canvas. I teach math, and allowing students and teachers to write on files would be incredibly beneficial. I don't give a lot of multiple-choice tests because I want to look at the process as much as the product.

Community Member

Many of you might already know about this, but have a look at Kami​!  Using Kami, students can easily annotate on top of PDFs (even do so collaboratively) it save to Google Drive, Dropbox and Box and the link can be turned in via a URL submission in Canvas. It also has a browser extensions that support offline use.

Maybe if there was an integration with Kami that would meet the needs of this idea, but even without an integration you can accomplish almost everything described.

Community Member

Chris,

Thanks for the suggestion but it looks like that is still using a third party app. The integration idea would have to be involved with Canvas directly since they would have to put it into their app to meet the expectations of the original post. The idea is to take the whole "open in" step out of the document flow within the canvas app so that students could just open the file, tap a tool and annotate, and immediately save or turn the file into an assignment. With all ages, the fewer steps to do something the better.