Using iBooks and iAnnotate

This blog post consists of notes from the recent workshop: ‘Exploiting existing text resources’. This workshop was the third in the ‘Teaching with your iPad’ series. The learning objectives for this session were to be able to:

  • locate, download and store a journal article for offline viewing
  • annotate your articles
  • organise your journal articles into categories
  • understand copyright implications for using resources in iPad teaching.

iBooks is an app that allows you to download books and PDFs so that they can be read on your iPad.

Andy Zarkesh, from The University of Manchester John Rylands Library, led colleagues through some exercises on iBooks using a series of videos. Andy’s iBooks workshop videos (and others) can be found here.

An additional handout that takes you through some activities step by step can be found here (iBooks handout).

For those of you who might have a large amount of PDF files on a laptop or PC that you would like to read on your iPad, you can put them all into a DropBox file which can then be accessed via your iPad. Alternatively, PDFs can be emailed to you and opened in iBooks. To do this you tap on the PDF attachment at the bottom of your email. Once it is open, you then tap the small arrow in a box at the top right of the page and it should open a window that asks you which app you would like to use to open that PDF. If you select ‘Open in iBooks’, the document will be saved to your iBooks library and then open for you to read.

Ian Miller, from the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences e-learning services, gave a very brief overview of iBooks Author to create learning resources, during which he showed Apple’s promotional video. We shall be covering iBooks Author in greater detail at a workshop scheduled for 12th September.

Ian led colleagues through an introduction to iAnnotate, which is an app that allows you to annotate PDFs, Word and PowerPoint files.

To open a document in iAnnotate, you can download it from cloud storage such as DropBox or from an email. When opening a document attached to an email, go to your iPad email account and open the appropriate email. Tap on the email attachment, which should open the document. Once the document is open, there should be a little arrow in a box in the top right-hand corner. Tap on this arrow and choose the ‘Open in iAnnotate’ option. This will save the document to your iAnnotate library. Tapping on a document in your library will open it for editing.

On the right-hand side of your screen there should be a little tab. Tapping on the tab will open your toolbox for annotating. The following tools should be available to you:

  • Speech bubble – this allows you to add a comment in the document. By tapping on the options bar that will appear at the top, you can change the colour of your comment box.
  • Pencil – this allows you to draw on the page. By tapping on the options bar that appears, you can change the colour of your pencil, erase and undo work.
  • Quill – this allows you to zoom in on a piece of text to write in detail. This facility is also helpful for signing PDFs. Clicking on the options bar allows you to choose the ‘ink’ colour.
  • Highlighter pen – this allows you to highlight certain parts of the text. Use your finger or a stylus to run across the area you wish to highlight. Your highlighted area will have blue dots at either end for you to extend the area of highlight. By tapping on the options bar that will appear at the top, you can select what colour highlight you would like.
  • Abc – this allows you to underline potions of text. Use your finger or a stylus to run across the area you wish to underline. Your highlighted area will have blue dots at either end for you to extend the area of underline. By tapping on the options bar that will appear at the top, you can select what colour underline you would like.
  • Typewriter – this allows you to leave a typed note in the document. By tapping on the options bar at the top you can choose what font and colour you would like the text to be.
  • Toolbox – this allows you to select from additional functions such as:
    –       a wide range of stamps in alphabetical order
    –       a ruler that allows you to draw a straight line
    –       a strikeout function so you can indicate to delete text
    –       a microphone so that you can record an audio comment
    –       a camera so you can insert a photo.

Although this session focused on iAnnotate, there are numerous other apps available that have similar functionality, such as GoodNotes, PDF expert and Notability.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, there are a number of useful applications for iBooks and iAnnotate in a higher education context:

  • Paperless personal mobile library for both academic and student.
  • Feedback on draft work – either written or verbal comments (student work, group work, peer review).
  • Annotate handouts (lectures, field work, lab work, work placements).
  • Annotate/critique a journal paper (this could be done as group work for an activity with students).
  • Complete PDF forms (e.g. UCAS forms, grant applications).

There was a question about whether you could use iAnnotate to annotate summative student work and then upload it to Grademark. At this point Ian thought this was not possible, but we will explore this further.

Neil Sprunt, from the University of Manchester John Rylands Library Copyright Guidance Service, gave a short presentation on Copyright issues associated with using third-party text and static image resources in teaching. You can view Neil’s presentation with his accompanying notes by clicking here (Copyright Guidance FLS).

All University of Manchester staff with questions related to copyright should first check the university’s Copyright Guidance Service website.

Should staff require further information, they can contact either the Copyright Guidance Service or the Digitisation Team, who are available to help you make sure you are copyright compliant.

A copy of the copyright permission request form mentioned by Neil is available here (Permissions request).

Workshop resources
Finally, the following resources have been developed to support this workshop series:

Next workshop
The next workshop, ‘Interactive Teaching with your iPad Using NearPod’, will take place on Thursday, 9th May at 4pm in the Michael Smith Lecture Theatre. On completion of this workshop we hope you will be able to:

  • create lecture content using NearPod
  • share content and control activities with students in a lecture environment
  • monitor individual and aggregate results of students’ NearPod work.

We welcome comments on this post. In particular we would like to hear any other ideas you may have for using these apps in a higher education context.

About Cathy Thomas-Varcoe

I have a passion for distance learning and the opportunities it provides for lifelong learning. I have spent the past 11 years focussing on delivering quality distance learning. Drawing on my nursing background, I initially worked for the Royal College of Nursing Institute who ran undergraduate and postgraduate distance learning programmes validated by the University of Manchester and then for The Open University Health and Social Care Faculty. More recently I was a learning solutions consultant for The Open University’s Centre for Learning and Professional Development. In January 2012 I was appointed as the Distance Learning Lead for the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. I have been involved in courses from concept to delivery, but the bulk of my work has focussed on writing and conceptualising distance learning courses.
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