Digital Handwriting Annotation

digital pen mice for handwritten annotation
Digital tablet with pen for handwritten annotations
Use of digital pens in the open source video conference BigBlueButton


This learning unit deals with digital handwritten annotations for digital documents. The course unit is available during the COVID-19 pandemic

Learning tasksEdit

  • (comparison standard mouse pen mouse) Compare a mouse with a pen mouse in terms of advantages and disadvantages! Describe for which application you would use a standard mouse or a mouse pen!
  • (Collaborative work - video conference) Analyze the possibility of using pen mice in a video conference Use the software together with students or pupils! What is the function of working together, for example in mathematics, collaboratively developing solutions, fixing errors or adding additional comments. In a video conferencing software there is also the possibility to create text documents together. In such a case one would use the shared notes in BigBlueButton, where all participants of the video conference can add comments and correct errors at the same time. However, a text-based presentation is unsuitable for graphical representations, mathematical formulas, and the collaborative development of graphical illustrations (e.g., flowcharts or diagrams). Describe the advantages of developing graphical representations or diagrams in a teaching-learning situation! Are these advantages of collaborative drawing development also transferable to business videoconferencing, where collaborative ideas are developed? What are the special features to be considered here?
  • (digital correction of exercises) In a practice company, exercises have to be worked on by students and these exercises are sent to a practice group leader who corrects these exercises, provides them with correction codes and sends them back to the students. The open source software Xournal can be used to annotate PDF documents. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of digital handwritten annotation to an annotated digital office document (e.g. in LibreOffice-Writer).
  • (Collaborative Digital Whiteboards and VR) Compare collaborative tools for learning that use handwriting and annotations with a digital OpenSource white boards (see Youtube Demo by Marlon Lückert 2020[1] or GitHub-Repository Whiteboard VR[2]). What are the requirements and constraints for using a collaborative digital whiteboard in learning? Identify the benefits of collaboration with Open Source tools for joined annotation and drawing of diagrams! Why is a web-based infrastructure helpful for collaborative use? When would you use a desktop application which provides additional options and features? What are features that can be realized much better in a desktop applicaation. What are the drawbacks of desktop applications (e.g. requirements of installation, constraints of operating systems, ...)

Basic Hardware and Driver CheckEdit

Basically you can move a mouse and press left mouse button, if you want to draw and emulate a digital pen attached. This basic emulation of handwriting is basic use of attached hardware to your computer. Check that under Linux, Windows and/or MacOSX and a browser e.g. Firefox to test the basic feature of digital handwriting. Your hardware/driver should at least allow this basic mouse movements for writing in video conferencing tools like BBB that is used in learning resources.

For more advanced use of hardware also the pressure is used in the software. I.e. that higher pressure on a digital pen will affect e.g. the thickness of line or the brightness or transparency of the color. This is a more advanced use of digital handwriting tools. In general the basic use of the pen/stylus hardware attached to your computer should be sufficient for applications digital pens e.g. in BigBlueButton or Xournal++[3].

See alsoEdit


  1. Marlon Lückert (2020) Whiteboard VR - Realtime Collaboration - Youtube Upload: 30.03.2020 URL: - accessed 2020/07/14
  2. Marlon Lückert (2020) Whiteboard VR - Implementation of Tool with NodeJS - URL: - (accessed 2020/07/14)
  3. Xournal++ (2020) Release of Open Source Software on GitHub - URL: (retrieved 2020/08/03)