What student annotation options are available?

There are three primary tools available within Canvas to allow students to annotate. 

1. Canvas Student Annotation Assignments

Instructor Guide to Setting Up an Online Assignment

Student Guide to Annotating

Allows instructors to upload a file to allow students to annotate directly in canvas. Annotations made by students are visible only to the teaching team members. Other students in the class cannot see each other's annotations unless peer reviews are enabled.

2. Hypothes.is

Instructor Guide to add Hypothesis to Modules

Instructor Guide to add a Hypothesis Assignment

Hypothesis allows students in a course to collaborate by adding annotations and notes to a PDF file simultaneously. Hypothesis files and assignments can be assigned to the entire class or to specific groups. Annotations cannot be made private between just the student and instructor.

3. Harmonize 

Instructor Guide to Allow Student Annotations

Media Annotations Guide

Harmonize enables students to annotate images and videos. Annotation of PDF files is not currently available but is on the roadmap for 2023. Harmonize annotation assignments can be assigned to the entire course, specific sections or groups, or privately between the teaching team and students.


To learn more about the differences between the three options, please refer to our detailed comparison matrix or our simplified high-level matrix