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Annotations can be used to provide inline feedback to students on file or text assignment types in Brightspace. For example, you can mark, highlight or underline text, add notes and text boxes directly on documents. This tool might be considered for;

  • providing contextual feedback to students on written submissions which helps them to reflect and review their assignments
  • as a replacement for hand-written annotations as it provides legible digital annotations on students’ work which is accessible in one place
  • for draft assignment submissions, students can view annotations and use them to improve and for writing new versions

How to use the Annotations Tool

1. Navigate to ‘Assessment’ in the navbar of your module and select  ‘Assignments’.

2. Select the desired submission you want to provide feedback on.

3. When you open a student’s submission it will load within the page itself allowing you to view the document inline. You will see the annotation toolbar along the top of the document. This contains the main tools that you will use to mark up a student’s document.


4. You can choose to use these tools by clicking on the icons from the annotation toolbar which has several features (e.g. text highlighting, freehand drawing, text annotation, note annotation) to enable you mark up text in documents.  The navigation bar also allows additional actions i.e. to navigate between the pages, replace your cursor with a hand icon, zoom in and out, print the file including the annotations, search within the file and download the file with the annotations as a PDF-file.

5. Once you have completed the annotations and provided a grade or additional feedback (if required via the feedback panel) you can choose to ‘publish’ it or ‘save as draft’.

Practical Tip

The annotation tool does not autosave. Make sure that you ‘Save as Draft’ frequently if it takes you some time to mark up submissions. If you close your browser without saving, or your Brightspace session times out, you will lose your work

How students view the feedback annotations

From the students' perspective if the lecturer has provided annotations, they will see the text ‘View Inline Feedback’ under the heading Inline Feedback. Students will need to click this to view their annotated script which they can compare with the original submitted. The annotated script in the document viewer will open in a new window and they will have the option to print or download it. It is recommended that you let the students know where they will see ‘view inline feedback.


As an instructor you will have the ability to see whether or not the student has read/viewed feedback via the user/submissions page of the assignment


Learn More

If you want to learn more about annotating students’ submissions you can watch this short video (1.54) from D2L: Provide contextual inline feedback in Brightspace