Canvas’ new annotation tool adds features, with more to come

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If you teach with UC Davis Canvas, this news should interest you: Instructure is adding features and making improvements to DocViewer, the new annotation tool that has replaced Crocodoc in Canvas.

Instructors use annotation tools to comment on students’ coursework, typically as part of grading. (The Canvas grading tool is SpeedGrader.)

DocViewer has more features and will integrate more smoothly with Canvas than Crocodoc has, but some DocViewer features weren’t ready when Instructure released the new tool in June. The post-rollout changes address those shortcomings and fix software bugs, guided by feedback from faculty at UC Davis and other universities.

“Our top priority right now is to address the things we’ve heard most frequently from you,” says an update from Instructure (it created Canvas) to Canvas customers. The top three priorities concern comment size, downloading annotated PDFs, and extending the life of DocViewer sessions.

The improvements to DocViewer will be welcome news to UC Davis faculty who had to work around the absent features during Summer Session 1.

Instructure actively welcomes feedback about any aspect of Canvas, and will continue to improve DocViewer based on comments from faculty, staff and students.

If you have questions about DocViewer at UC Davis, please contact the instructional technologists in Academic Technology Services. You can also attend one of their Canvas workshops or drop by during their office hours in 50 Hutchison; here’s their schedule.