Changes to Viewing & Annotating Blackboard Assignments in January 2018
Crocodoc, the window where you can view and annotate students’ assignments in Blackboard will be replaced by a new product called Box in January 2018 (Box purchased Crocodoc and are replacing it with their own service). Below are some FAQs to support staff affected by this change.
Note: If you use Safari on Mac OSX you may have issues loading the new Box view after the upgrade; try accessing the assignments via Chrome or Firefox if this is the case.
If you see this logo above an assignment you are viewing or annotating in Blackboard you will be affected and need to read these FAQs.
- Who is affected?
- When will this change take place?
- I annotate submissions with Crocodoc – what will happen to assignments I have already marked? Will I lose my annotations?
- My students submit Assignments online, will this affect my future assignment submissions and marking?
- What will happen to assessments that have been submitted but not marked?
- What about Safe Assign?
- What will the new Box View look like when I annotate work?
- What are the benefits?
- Will any functionality be lost?
- Will annotations used as part of delegated grading be affected?
- What alternatives are available for marking assignments?
- What will happen during the transition?
- Who can I contact for more information?
Only people who annotate and view student assignments through their web browser in Blackboard will be affected. If you annotate work via Turnitin in Blackboard you will not be affected.
2. When Will This Change Take Place?
There will be a downtime period for all Blackboard users on 1st January to prepare for the update then on the weekend of 5th-8th January documents will be converted from Crocodoc to the new Box view. Notifications will be posted on the mymodule.tcd.ie homepage and IT Services’ alerts page to notify users of the times and dates.
3. I annotate submissions with Crocodoc – what will happen to assignments I have already marked? Will I lose my annotations?
Blackboard will retain all existing annotations. These will be incorporated into a PDF along with the original document in the new Box view. Further editing, updating or deleting of the annotations will not be possible. The annotated PDF will be available to view through the Grade Centre. The original uploaded assignments will be unaffected and will still be available to view and download.
4. My students submit assignments online, will this affect my future assignment submissions and marking?
- Staff who use Turnitin for assignment submission will not be affected by the upgrade
- Staff who use Blackboard assignments for submission, but then download and mark work in other programs (such as Word, Excel etc) will not be affected
- Staff who add marks in the Grade Centre will not be affected
- Staff who use Blackboard for viewing assignment submissions in the browser and adding annotations to the submissions WILL BE AFFECTED.
- The image below may be helpful in identifying if you will be affected.
- The area with the grey background where you view students’ submissions is the Crocodoc area and is identifiable by the ‘Powered by Crocodoc’ logo.
- The Comments and Mark Up area in the centre of the screen is part of Crocodoc.
- The area on the right ‘Assignment Details’ including the Attempt Mark, ‘Feedback to Learner’ and rubric windows are not powered by Crocodoc and will not be affected.
Assessments that have been submitted, but not marked will not be affected.
Safe Assign is a separate system and will continue to function as it does now.
The workflow, look and feel of the new tool will be similar to the current Crocodoc experience.
Box supports displaying a wider range of file formats through your web browser than Crocodoc.
Other improvements to the interface will be available over time.
Drawing and strikethrough will no longer be available as annotation tools. The option to download an annotated version of the assignment is not available currently.
Blackboard are working with Box to improve functionality, particularly around downloading/printing annotations and adding strikethrough and drawing tools.
Yes – please see Blackboard's guide on this which outlines different use cases.
Turnitin offers an alternative to submit and provide assessment feedback and is already integrated in Blackboard as part of the VLE project this year.
Assignments can still be submitted through the Bb assignment option, but will need to be downloaded and marked offline during the transition period.
If you need more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information is available on the Blackboard website.
This guide is adaptedfrom Ruth Smalley’s guide for Edge Hill University with permission. Further information taken from Blackboard’s community site and support documentation.