exploring the iPad – scenario one – annotating docs

This is post the HeLF event in November  where Neil Ringan explored uses of the iPad.  It also builds on the ideas of Aaron and David – thanks 🙂

I’ve been exploring the idea of moving documents, annotation / update and distribution. The scenario is, I work via the cloud – all on Google, Dropbox, web based as well as editing microsoft docs.

In a work context, this might be an administrative task of annotation and feedback of student submitted work.  So the scenario is, downloading a word doc, editing it, and uploading.

The solution – Office2 HD (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id364361728?mt=8). This lets you access word docs (google docs / word docs), annotate them and save them to either local drive or – google docs / dropbox. This could be really useful as a means of annotating student submitted work. I’ll explore this a little further.

This could be further enhanced with the iAnnotate PDF (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iannotate-pdf/id363998953?mt=8)

What did I try

I needed to comment on a number of ILTS proposals for work. These had been printed and handed to me. I read, commented on the Office2HD at home, offline. Then “moved” the doc to my GoogleDocs account (into the correct folder). Next day, I got to work, re-read, added a little more, and shared the google docs with appropriate managers. Worked perfectly.

Next things to explore

  • Annotating a PDF
  • Working with Blackboard Assignment Manager


  1. andyoutandabout

    Just a quick note … Aaron mentioned we should be able to use WebDav to achieve the transfer of docs between Blackboard and Office2HD on the iPad. Aaron … could you explain more?

  2. Aaron

    One of the optional parts of Blackboard is the “Content Collection” area which is Blackboard’s document management system (DMS).

    This feature offers WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) which is a protocol that allows users to create, amend and delete documents from outside of the DMS, basically giving the users “virtual disk space” .

    Each course, module or user has their own area within the DMS, each of these areas are assigned a unique address, allowing users to connect directly. The protocol uses Microsoft’s Web Folders and Mac’s “Connect to Server” via the Finder, which makes management of documents very easy.

    With newer tablet type hardware becoming more popular there are now many apps that can connect to WebDAV enabled spaces, one of these apps mentioned by Andy above is Office2 HD (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id364361728?mt=8), as well as being able to sync with GoogleDocs, Dropbox it is also able to connect to WebDAV spaces.

    In theory this app could display all the documents you have stored in your course area in Blackboard, as well as allowing you to edit that document and then save it back directly to Blackboard.

    If the document is linked into one or module of your teaching spaces, it would automatically update and display the changes you had made to the students. Therefore allowing you to update your teaching materials without needing to login to Blackboard.

    I mention “In theory” as the current version of Blackboard Learn (9.0) we are running has a number of issues, one of which is with WebDAV, we have been informed that these issue are fixed in version 9.1.

    • andyoutandabout

      Hi Peter,

      The first stab was very unsophisticated … simply upload the docs to dropbox.com (I could imagine students uploading to the VLE, and I’d zip up, transfer to dropbox, unzip). Then simply add notes in a different colour in the word doc, and save back to dropbox.

      We have been starting to explore the use of the iPad stylus, so this might offer some opportunities, but I’m not sure if Office2HD would be the appropriate tool.

      Are you thinking / requiring something more sophisticated?

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