Important – this will impact your online marking

Blackboard online assessment services will be unavailable momentarily on January 14th to accommodate the transition between suppliers; the service Blackboard uses to add annotations to online assignments from within the browser. The service that Blackboard currently uses, Crocodoc, has been brought out by Box Corp and has made the decision to retire Crocodoc in favour of its own software. Blackboard has therefor made a decision to use Box’s own, almost identical, system called Box View. 

Unfortunately this transition is beyond our control; Crocodoc will no longer be available as a service to anyone after 15th January.

Transition from Crocodoc to Box View

Blackboard has been working with Box for several years to build a conversion service that will ensure legacy Crocodoc annotations will still be accessible to institutions and to students from within Box View. The conversion service they have developed (expected to be run at UEA on 14th January 2018) works by permanently ‘burning’ Crocodoc annotations into the student’s work so they are visible within Box View after the migration. Once this has happened the legacy Crocodoc annotations can be viewed on the students work but they cannot be edited or deleted. Editable annotations can then be added using Box View and the students’ original unannotated file remains available.

How will this impact me?

As soon as the migration service is available, and we have completed our tests, we will be using it to transition all Crocodoc annotations to Box View; we expect this to happen on 14th January. After the transition, all annotations will be added and viewed using Box View not Crocodoc. After the migration any annotations made using Crocodoc cannot be edited or deleted. Our only workaround, if an annotation must be changed, will be for us to replace the whole assignment with a fresh copy of the unannotated version and start again.

Should I continue to add annotations to students’ work or should I wait until after 14th January?

Feedback suggests that students value annotations on their work, so if you use them, we recommend that you do not change your current practices. However, before the 14th January 2018 please be very careful about adding draft annotations. It is important to remember that you will not be able to edit or delete any Crocodoc annotations made before 14th January once we have run the conversion service.



Known Issues & Workarounds

Highlights Covering Text

After the migration has completed we have noticed there may be slight formatting issue with how Internet Explorer (IE) displays the ‘burnt in’ annotations from Crocodoc. For example, as seen here, some highlighting is viewed within IE without visible text. 


Workaround - view the assessment in Google Chrome. 




Viewing Area Comments

Area comments written in Crocodoc and converted to Box appear as a red box and to view them requires hovering the mouse over the area. Sometimes the box displaying the comments appear slightly off-screen. 

Workaround - use the collapsing and expanding tools in the top right hand side of the grades centre.  Use both tool to remove the side panel. Clicking them again will bring the panel back.



Printing Migrated Crocodoc Annotations

To print out all migrated crocodoc annotations (only available for migrated annotations) you  need to download the work first by clicking the download icon which is located top right (), open in Adobe PDF Reader and ‘print…’. Before committing to print press the ‘Summarize Comments’ in the Comments & Forms section. This will append all the annotation submission comments to another page on the document for printing. 



Comparison between Crocodoc & Box View

Functions and Details

Before Migration (Crocodoc)

After Migration (New Box View)

File types for annotations


Over 100 different file types, including all supported by Crocodoc 

XLSX (Excel) files can be viewed but not annotated

Images displayed


Yes, including the ability to comment

Annotation types

Text and point-based comments, highlighting, and drawing

Point-based comments and highlighting


You can 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

You can download a copy of a student files with annotations (only for migrated crocodoc items)

Print function


Yes (including annotations for migrated content, after migration. No support for box annotated content)

Mobile Marking



The UEA Learning Technology team will be piloting marking on mobile devices soon, please contact LTT for details.




Frequently Asked Questions - Crocodocs to New Box View

What is "inline grading"?

Inline Grading is the ability to use a web browser to add annotations such as comments or highlighting a block of text on a student assignment attempts on Blackboard.

Who is affected by the change?

The change to New Box View will only affect instructors who used the Crocodocs (inline grading) feature in Blackboard only. If instructors enter feedback into the "Feedback for Learners" box in the Assignment grading screen, and provide a grade only, the change to the new tool will not affect your previous work.

When will this happen?

The change to New Box View will occur during the second week of January 2018, so we don't interrupt grading over the Christmas period.

Does this affect using the SafeAssign or Turnitin (Plagiarism Detection tool)?

No - accessing originality reports is not impacted by the change to New Box View.

Does this change affect using Rubrics in any way?

The transition won’t impact using Blackboard Learn's rubrics or rubric data. Instructors will be able to use the same rubrics within the inline grading interface alongside the New Box View service. Rubrics are a separate feature that do not share code with the Crocodoc or New Box View service.

What happens to all of my work using Crocodocs (Inline_Annotations)?

Annotations made in Crocodoc will not be editable when they are migrated to New Box View – they will be burned into the document. This applies to any existing annotation on a submission in Crocodoc – regardless of whether the assignment has been released to students or not. While the Crocodoc service will technically reach end-of-life, the databases that contain student-submitted data and documents won’t be deleted or destroyed. The data will still be available for migrations that occur after the end-of-life date, as well as for critical situations such as grade challenges. The Crocodoc service will display a “Service Unavailable” message to users after this date. Blackboard is working with Box to define a long-term strategy for the decommission of Crocodoc servers permanently.

Why are we doing this now?

We have no choice in the matter, and normally, would not implement a change like this during the academic year. Box has purchased Crocodocs and as such, Crocodocs will be deprecated (taken out of service) January 15, 2018. More on the acquisition in this article detailing the change.

Who can I contact with questions?

You can contact the LTT Team at or by submitting a call via the IT Service Desk, we will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.