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Learning Central Blackboard assignments upgrade

11 January 2018

**Please bear in mind that this does not affect Turnitin assignments or Feedback Studio**

As you may have noticed, there’s been an upgrade to Blackboard assignments on Learning Central. The only change is in grading interface for Blackboard assignments known as Crocodoc. All other steps including creation of Blackboard assignments and submissions are still the same. This applies for general feedback and the final grade.

The old…

Crocodoc allowed you to annotate submissions with comments, drawings, strikeouts, etc. The Crocodoc interface was provided by 3rd party company licensed by Blackboard. Crocodoc was replaced with a new interface called Box View on the 11th of January at Cardiff University.

This blog post draws comparisons between the features of the old and new versions.

The new…

Box View is basically a lighter version of the old interface. It doesn’t provide so many features as the Crocodoc interface, but on the other hand it does make it easier for students to view the annotations on the right side of the paper in a clearer way than before.


The main change is the appearance of comments. In the old version, all comments had been placed outside the paper without the date. Now the comments are on the paper and appear once the student hovers over the comment icon. All comments include the author name, date, and time of creation. The feature of reply on the particular comment remains.

Fig. 1 – Old version with different features (1), highlight tools (2), comments (3) in full view (4)

Fig. 2 – The new, lighter version – comment icon (1) print icon (2) download icon (3) and with the comment displayed on the paper (4)

Highlighted text

In the new version you can simply select a portion of text and highlight it or add a comment, all in one click. The colour palette feature has been removed.

Further features

There are a few useful features missing in the new version, which you should bear in mind during your marking. The strikeout/strikethrough function has been removed. The Inline text comment on the paper has been removed, but has been replaced by the point comment and reduces the confusing annotations on the paper, keeping it clear.

What I really miss is the download of annotated paper in PDF. I know this was very handy for some instructors and students. Unfortunately, this feature is not supported in the new version but you still can download the original document (without the annotations unfortunately).

Quick overview

old new
Comment/features Crocodoc Box view Alternative
Point comment yes/sidebar yes/on the paper
Area comment yes/sidebar no highlighted text
Text comment yes/sidebar no point comment in text
Draw yes no no alternative
Highlight yes yes/no multiple colours
Text – inline yes no point comment in text
Strikeout yes no
Post a reply to a comment yes/sidebar yes/on the paper/hover over
Time, date, author only author all
Download original file yes yes
Download PDF with annotations yes no download original

Overall, the upgrade makes annotations more straight forward for instructors and clearly visible for students. Although some of the features are missing, we hope that some of them will be included in upcoming upgrades. In the meantime, there are some workarounds (as you can see in the table above).

If you need any help with online assessment/marking, please contact the Centre for Education Innovation Learning Technology team at

If you experience a technical problems, please contact the IT Service Desk

Useful resources:

Blackboard inline grading help pages

If you will really want to see back the download of annotated paper functionality you can have your say and vote on this site (login required)