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Comment Histories in Annotate PRO

Our vision for Annotate PRO (AP) is to go far beyond being a better mousetrap for creating feedback. We hope the speed and ease of creating and using libraries of comments is hugely compelling…and that the feature is free should help.

But our real crazy-scientist-in-the-basement work is focused on making feedback more impactful. Whatever process you use, ‘feedback’ in EDU is more of a one-way street than a continuous loop. Comments go back to students…and we never know if students applied those comments on their next assignment or even read them.

Comment Histories are a big part of our master plan to change this…

With a flip of a switch, literally, you can save every comment you make in Google Docs or Canvas SpeedGrader (including rubric comments). And Microsoft Word is even easier – just type your comments into the big friendly Free Form Feedback box and they’ll automatically become part of your Feed.

Why do this?

  1. Effortlessly use saved comments to create new reusable comments.
  2. Review a history of comments for each of your students (Canvas SpeedGrader and Microsoft Word only, for now).

click for a larger view

That second item is a game-changer and we’ll be bringing it to Google Docs and Moodle soon.

In a conference with a student? Quickly pull up a visual representation of previous feedback AND all of the text you’ve created. Across multiple assignments…even across courses. With links to jump you straight to the SpeedGrader assignment if you are a Canvas user.

Even better, with our toolbar turned on, you’ll see the total number of comments for the current student in Canvas SpeedGrader, as you comment on new work. Click to pop the current student’s personal history and heat map of feedback then quickly filter to see previous comments focused on different skill areas (aka ‘Groups’ in AP).

In the screenshot of Canvas SpeedGrader below we have clicked on the student’s avatar/name area (#1) to pop a window summarizing their feedback to date. Feedback by Group is represented in the left pie chart. You can click on pieces of the pie to drill down; the pie chart on the right shows distribution by individual comment for the chosen Group. Below the pie charts (not shown) are the specific text comments. And they update based on your choice of Group.

Our Word 2016 app keeps a history of your comments too, but since Word 2016 does not have any unique identifier for a student, we log the ‘author’ of the document when you create feedback. Instruct your students to make sure the name associated with their Word apps is specific and unique (ideally something like “Mary Smith (4542003)”, where the number in parentheses is their school student ID.

Summary of History Features by Solution

Annotate PRO’s History feature defaults to OFF. Flip the History OFF toggle in Annotate’s Chrome popup to History ON to enable the feature.


Save Free Form (custom) Comments

Create Comment Histories for Individual Students

Microsoft Word

Any comments entered via AP for Word’s Free Form text entry box will be saved in your Feed (so you can create new reusable comments from them) and against the name associated with the current Word document (ideally the author/student’s name). If you don’t want comments saved to the Feed use Word’s native “new comment” feature.

Canvas SpeedGrader

With History ON any comment entered into a margin comment in Document Viewer, an overall comment in SpeedGrader, or a rubric comment will be saved. If you update margin or rubric comments AP will update its record accordingly.

AP saves choices from your Comment Libraries and custom comments made in SpeedGrader against the current student, assignment, and course.

Google Docs

With History ON any comment entered into a margin comment in Google Docs will be saved to your Feed.

Not supported. We are working on a Google Drive integration that would create a similar experience to Canvas SpeedGrader.