Quality feedback is important to students, but it also comes in different shapes and sizes. Inline feedback can be important for students working in areas where equations, diagrams and other kinds of visual media are used. If you want to write better inline feedback you’ll need the right tool for the job. Acrobat DC is one such tool.
Before you start you’ll need to:
- Get the right version of Acrobat for you. Acrobat Reader DC is free and contains all the commenting tools of the full version. You can also install Creative Cloud Acrobat DC or Acrobat Professional from the Software Centre on your UTS computer. If you can’t find either of these, contact ITD for assistance.
- Open the file in PDF format. The best way to do this is to ask your students to submit their work in PDF format. You can also print the file in PDF format from UTSOnline or download it from Turnitin.
- Remember to always keep student submissions in a safe and secure place, such as your UTS provided MS Office 365 account.
Perhaps the best way to get started using Acrobat Reader DC is to watch the Lynda.com tutorial.
To jump straight into using the commenting tools, open a PDF file in and choose the Comment tools from the right hand pane:
Depending on your individual style of providing feedback you may wish to use one of the following tools available in the Comments toolbar:
- The Sticky note tool: This tool allows you to insert notes anywhere on a page. An icon represents The text of the related note appears in the Comments pane, not on the page. This is useful if you want to make lots of notes without cluttering up the page.
- The Add note to text tool: This tool allows you to highlight selected text while simultaneously creating a pop-up comments window. The comments appear in the Comments pane in the same way as Sticky Notes do. This is useful if you want write a comment on a specific part of a page.
- The Add text comment tool: This tool allows you to write directly on the page. The comment also appears in the comments pane.
- The Drawing tools: These tools allow you to make shapes of different kinds on the page, then add notes to them. The Add text callout tool is useful if you want to write on a specific part of the page but there is no blank space near where you want to write.
Why shouldn’t I use Track Changes in MS Word to write better inline feedback?
If this works for you and your students then there is no reason not to use Track Changes. However Track changes doesn’t allow you to draw on the page, use shapes etc in the way that Acrobat does.
This process is a bit fiddly. Isn’t there a better way to write better inline feedback?
The UTSOnline Assignment tool has a limited rage of annotation tools, while Turnitin is very focused on annotating text. Other tools may require you to upload student submissions to an non-UTS website. Using Acrobat DC offline provides a reasonable balance of security and functionality.