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.
This table compares the two annotation services.
|Functions and Details||Crocodoc||New Box View|
|File types for conversion||PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, and DOCX||Over 100 different file types, including video, audio, image, and programming code|
|File types for annotation||PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, and DOCX||PDF, 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 areas||Original assignments, Ultra assignments, and in Ultra tests’ additional submission area||Original assignments, Ultra assignments, and in Ultra tests’ additional submission area|
|Annotation types||Text- and point-based comments, highlighting, and drawing||Point-based comments and highlighting|
|Download||Users download a copy of a student file with the option to download in the original format or in a PDF version that includes the annotations||Users can download a copy of a student file, but annotations won’t appear|
|Students||Can’t add annotations to documents||Can’t add annotations to documents|
|Bb Grader||Can add annotations to documents||Can add annotations to documents with workaround|
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.