Submitting Handwritten Answers to Blackboard

There may be times when a student needs to write out answers to homework or exams by hand and then submit that work to a Blackboard assignment dropbox or exam. If the student does not have a document scanner, a camera-equipped smartphone can be used to scan the written pages into a PDF file which can be submitted to Blackboard. This process is outlined below.

Note: iPhone and iPad users have an alternate method of scanning handwritten work using the Notes app. Instructions for scanning can be found on Apple’s website. After scanning, the process involves transferring the PDF file to your computer and then uploading it to the Blackboard assignment.

Step 1: Getting the Mobile App

The recommended app for Drexel students is Microsoft Office Lens for mobile devices. The app is free and does not require any in-app purchases to scan documents to PDF. Links to the app in the app stores are provided here:

Microsoft Office Lens

Download the app and then log into Microsoft using your Drexel email address and password. You may also need to approve the login using multi-factor authentication.

Step 2: Connecting Blackboard to your Microsoft OneDrive files

While this step is optional, it will help streamline getting your scanned PDFs into Blackboard. If you do not complete this step, you will need to send your scanned PDF to your laptop computer some other way (e.g. using Air Drop on iOS/Mac, or by emailing the file to yourself and then downloading that email attachment to your laptop).

  1. Log into Blackboard at http://learn.drexel.edu
  2. Click the Tools link in the left-hand menu
  3. Click the button shown below to Connect your OneDrive account:
    Connect your OneDrive account
  4. Authorize the connection by logging into Microsoft with your Drexel email address and password.
    You may also need to approve the login using multi-factor authentication.
  5. You should now see an additional button (called “Browse Cloud Storage”) shown below on any Blackboard pages where you can upload files:
    Browse Cloud Storage

Step 3: Scanning your handwritten pages using the Office Lens app

  1. Launch the Microsoft Office Lens app on your mobile device. You will see your previous photos at the bottom (which you can use if you already took photos of your document pages), or you can take new photos of your pages by tapping the round shutter button. Avoid stacking your pages, since the software may have difficulty finding the edges of a single page (see right-hand image below).

    Microsoft Lens Scan

  2. When a page is scanned, the app will show you the result. If the page is turned to one side (like the right-hand image below), you can tap the rotate button at the top until the image is displayed properly.

    Rotate image

  3. When the current page is displayed properly, click the “Add New” button in the lower-right to take a picture of the next page. Repeat this process until all of your pages have been scanned. Then, when the last page is displayed, click the red Done button.

  4. After tapping the Done button, you will see the Export To screen shown below. Tap on the option to export as a PDF, and then select OneDrive as the target location. You can also choose to send the file via email from the Export To screen.
    "Export to" screen

Step 4: Uploading your scans to Blackboard

  1. Your page scans will be stored in a folder called “Office Lens” in your OneDrive Files area. In Blackboard, navigate to the location of the assignment or exam and locate the Browse Cloud Storage button.
    Browse Cloud Storage
  2. In the OneDrive file-picker, navigate to your main Files area, and click on the folder called “Office Lens.” Select the PDF you just created, and click the Select button to attach your file.
    Office Lens Folder

IMPORTANT: Attaching your file is one step, but don’t forget to click the Submit button to complete the submission process. If you do not click Submit, your attachment will not be sent to your instructor.

NEED HELP? Business course students can email the LeBow Instructional Support team at lebowintech@drexel.edu. Be sure to include the course name and section and the location and name of the assignment or exam. Students can also contact Blackboard 24/7 support at 215-895-1224.