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Adding and configuring a PDF Annotation

Adding and configuring a PDF Annotation


The PDF Annotation activity allows students to add questions, annotations, and comments to a PDF document. Since all students, instructors, and tutors can read and respond to the questions and comments posted, it is made easier to resolve open questions about lecture slides, scripts, and other learning materials in PDF format collaboratively, quickly, and in specific context.

A tabular overview shows all open and closed questions from all instances of PDF annotation within a course room, making it easier to find questions and associated answers.

All participants can be notified of new comments via email.

The following screenshot gives you an impression of how the PDF annotation looks like:

PDF-Annotator in RWTHmoodle

On the left side of the PDF are the annotations, for which there are different tools. In the column to the right of the PDF, all participants can comment on the annotation or respond to existing questions and comments from other users. All comments are visible to all participants in the course room. However, they can optionally be made anonymously. The comments can contain references to an important passage or an error, or a question that should be answered by other students.


1. Add a PDF Annotation

  • Activate the edit mode by clicking on "Turn editing on".
  • Click "Add an activity or resource" in the section where you wish to add the Assigment activity.
  • Mark the checkbox at "PDF Annotation".
  • The PDF Annotation activity is created. You will now be taken to the settings page to configure the activity.

2. Configure a PDF Annotation

2.1. General

  • Name: Give the PDF Annotation a name. This will appear on the course page.
  • Description: Enter a brief description of the content.
  • Show description in course: If you check this box, the above description will be displayed directly on the course page.
  • Select a pdf file: Upload the PDF file here that may be annotated.

    Screenshot PDF-Annotator settings, General, upper part


With the following settings you define which tools and options are available to the students.

  • Votes/Likes: Allow participants to vote on comments. This allows them to indicate that a question is important, for example.
  • Textbox: When you share the Textbox feature from the toolbar with participants, they can insert text directly into the PDF.
  • Drawing: If you share the pen feature from the toolbar with participants, they can draw directly into the PDF.
  • Save and print pdf document: Use this option to allow participants to download the document.
  • Save and print comments: Use this option to allow students to download the comments.
  • Allow personal notes: With this option you allow participants to create personal notes that are only visible to the person who created them.
  • Allow private comments: With this option personal comments can be created. If annotations are marked as "private comment", they are only visible for the author and the managers, but not for the other students.

    Screenshot PDF-Annotator settings, General, lower part


By default, private comments are only visible to the author and manager. Optionally, these can also be made available to tutors. In this case, tutors will also be able to view and reply to all private comments. If you want to do this, activate the option "PDF Annotation - Manage PDF Annotation" in the permissions for tutors.


2.2. Outcomes

If you have created learning outcomes for the course, you can select here which outcomes should be associated with this activity. These will be listed in the gradings along with the activity and can be graded separately using the scale assigned to them.


2.3. Common module settings

  • Availability: Choose whether the Annotator should be displayed to students immediately or hidden from them.
  • ID Number: The ID number for the Annotator is used to assign a label that can be used in the gradebook when calculating overall grades. If the Annotator is not needed to be graded, the field can be left empty.
  • Group mode and grouping: PDF annotation is currently not usable in group mode. Therefore, these settings currently have no effect.

2.4. Restrict access

These settings allow you to set certain conditions on the visibility and availability of the PDF annotation to students. For more information, read the article Restrict Access


2.5. Activity completion

With these settings you define criteria or conditions when an activity is considered completed (i.e.: successfully edited). For detailed information, see the article Activity completion settings.


For more information:

last changed on 05/11/2021

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