Using iAnnotate for Marking

Just some notes on my first impressions. I’ve used iAnnotate a lot since I first wrote these notes, but reading back, my first impressions were pretty accurate.

  • It can open documents from Dropbox (registered on iPad as a send target) and iAnnotate converts them to PDFs automatically.
  • Fidelity of PDF conversion is not great (there’s an on-line service for this now). I’ve found that it’s best to save documents as PDF from desktop first.
  • Good set of annotation tools (including voice). Uses more gestures than I’m used to. I Found the text annotation most useful (with a proper keyboard!)
  • Syncs readily to iTunes Document Sharing, the provided free desktop client and Dropbox. After some usage, I found Dropbox to be the most convenient.
  • Needs Adobe Acrobat Reader to access all annotation types. On Mac, built-in Preview shows notes, highlighting and scribbles but not audio. On windows, you’d be using Adobe Acrobat Reader anyway.
  • Annotated PDFs can be uploaded to VLE (Blackboard at my institution) as attachments to feedback in grade centre.
  • You still need to record marks on paper or perhaps in a spreadsheet (with documents to go offline) or with Google docs if you’re on line.
  • There is a way to upload/download spreadsheets to Blackboard Gradecentre but it requires some preparation before hand (another article?).
  • It’s more difficult to do marking with Blackboard rubric tool unless you had an off-line version of the rubric to use on the tablet. I suppose you could flip between iAnnotate and Safari.

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University