COVID-19 is affecting most major institutions and causing economic and supply chain upheaval. Almost every planned gathering has been cancelled or postponed to promote social distancing — from the MLB and NHL seasons to almost every conference or event. The education industry is facing similar disruption, with many colleges extending spring break, delaying classes, or in some cases — cancelling the remaining semester.

The rapidly-occurring changes are going to impact the way classes are taught, as many schools are switching to online learning to keep classes from being outright canceled. If you’re preparing to become an online student, or a teacher deciding the best way to deliver a quality learning experience, you’ll want to make one tool a central part of any plan for the coming months: a PDF reader.

Not all readers are created equal, and picking the right tool for yourself (or your class) can make all the difference. We’re going to break down four key functions your PDF reader needs to perform to ensure a good e-learning experience. 

Highlighting & Annotating

A PDF reader’s core function in an online classroom is going to be its note taking capabilities on handouts, eBooks, or other class materials. Most e-readers will include some type of highlighter, but identifying a solution that gives students the full range of creative flexibility that they would enjoy in a physical classroom lends itself to the different learning styles. 

You’re looking for a tool that allows various forms of markup, like highlighting excerpts, adding comments, or taking handwritten and/or hand-drawn notes.


Add Presentation Value

Whether you’re a student compiling a report or a teacher sharing an outline or other document with a class, no online classroom is complete without a good way to let others observe your work. Some PDF readers offer presentation mode, which gives professors and their students the option to quickly convert documents into interactive displays that can include audio recording for submitting presentations to online course platforms or creating e-lessons.

Slideshow mode

Consider Group Work 

Classrooms are making a quick shift to online, but that doesn’t have to change the project dynamics. Group projects are still an important, and in some classes, an essential part of the process. An important requirement for the online group project is making sure that sharing notes and work is as seamless as possible. That means finding a reader that makes it easy to export documents with any annotations made on them. 

There will be times throughout the semester when resources, like online textbooks or larger documents, won’t fit in an email. That’s why easy integration with the cloud storage solutions is also an online learning must-have. This makes sharing any sized file as quick as copying and pasting a download link. 

DON’T FORGET – students use a variety of computers and smart devices. If you’re considering a PDF reader for your whole group and/or class…make sure it’s one that can provide a consistent experience across platforms and devices!

More Than Reading Texts

Reading textbooks and taking notes on class materials is the quintessential purpose of using a PDF reader in an online classroom, but don’t limit yourself (or your students) to only performing these functions!

PDF readers, depending on the one you select, are also great options for facilitating the routine activities involved in the learning process, like filling out forms, getting syllabi signed, or any other document-related procedure. 

Get Started with the Top-Rated PDF Editor for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows Devices

There’s plenty of PDF readers/editors available, but few meet the wide range of needs that online classrooms will have over the coming months. Kdan’s PDF Reader is a cross-device and cross-platform solution that gives students the freedom to edit and/or annotate documents, and then share across different platforms via email, Google Drive, Kdan Cloud, Dropbox, and other channels. 


Right now, you can sign up for a special 30-day free trial here using your .edu email to start making the most of your online learning experience!

This post was edited by Frank Lin and Emily Lin.

Also published on Medium.



About the author

Joey DiGangi III

Joey DiGangi is a global marketing specialist with Kdan Mobile, located in the US office in Pennsylvania. He graduated in May 2018 from Juniata College with a degree in marketing management and a minor in communication.

View all posts