The Blackboard Assignment feature has an online document viewer and online marking interface named Crocodoc, which is a third party technology licensed by Blackboard. Crocodoc will stop working on January 15, 2018 as the technology has been deprecated by the third party supplier. A replacement document viewer and online marking interface will be made available as part of an update supplied by Blackboard. The new inline grading tool is known as the new Box View and will be activated on December 21st as part of the upgrade to Blackboard.

What happens when we move to the new document viewer and online marking interface in December?

When we move to the new document viewer and online marking interface all existing assignments that were submitted in Blackboard will be transitioned to the new interface. There will be a short time where it will not be possible to view Blackboard assignment submissions using the marking interface, but the submissions can be downloaded directly to your computer.

Once the transition to the new document viewer and online marking interface is complete assignments that were marked with the old interface will have any annotations that had been made during marking “burned in” and those existing annotations will no longer be editable. Blackboard has also informed its customers of an issue where comments made within Crocodoc, especially lengthy comments, may get cut off by the right margin within the new Box View. Additional annotations can be made over the top of these old assignments if required.

New and existing assignments will then use the new document viewer and online marking interface.

What changes will I notice with the new document viewer and online marking interface for Blackboard Assignments?

The new document viewer and online marking interface for Blackboard Assignments will have much better support for file types and fonts and will resolve a known issue with rendering of some documents.

The new document viewer and online marking interface will not immediately support “freehand drawing” over a submission – only comments and highlighting.

The image below shows the old and new interfaces side by side.

Assignment view comparison

This table compares the two annotation services.

Functions and DetailsCrocodocNew Box View
File types for conversionPDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, and DOCXOver 100 different file types, including video, audio, image, and programming code

File Types and Fonts Supported in Box Content Preview

File types for annotationPDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, and DOCXPDF, DOC, DOCX, ODT, PPT, PPTX and ODP

New Box View also supports only point-based annotations on these file formats: AI, BMP, DCM, EPS, GIF, PNG, PS, PSD, SVS, TGA, TIF, and TIFF

Course areasOriginal assignments, Ultra assignments, and in Ultra tests’ additional submission areaOriginal assignments, Ultra assignments, and in Ultra tests’ additional submission area
Annotation typesText- and point-based comments, highlighting, and drawingPoint-based comments and highlighting
DownloadUsers download a copy of a student file with the option to download in the original format or in a PDF version that includes the annotationsUsers can download a copy of a student file, but annotations won’t appear
Print functionNoYes
StudentsCan’t add annotations to documentsCan’t add annotations to documents
Bb GraderCan add annotations to documentsCan add annotations to documents with workaround

Annotate submissions in Bb Grader app

 

What do I need to do?

If at all possible, consider not grading assignments during the week of December 17th unless all of the assignments can be graded prior to the 20th. Delaying grading will avoid any problems if grades/comments need to be changed for recently graded assignments.