Inline Grading, Crocodoc, and New Box View

Blog Post created by tb32012 on Dec 13, 2017

Blackboard and our clients have been well served over many years by the Crocodoc service.  Due to the upcoming end of life of the Crocodoc service, Blackboard has made several releases of Blackboard Learn available that support integration with New Box View service which replaces the Crocodoc service and functionality within Inline Grading workflows.


As clients have started to upgrade to these new versions of Learn, we have received a great deal of feedback about the New Box View service as a replacement for Crocodoc, and we have been working with Box to address several areas of concern.


The overall feedback has a been a mixture of positive sentiment and identification of several areas that clients have found challenging which could be improved.  Some examples of positive feedback include:


  • Support for significantly more file types, including audio, video, and image formats
  • More responsive browser support for accessing documents on any device across mobile browsers and within Bb Grader
  • A more modern, cleaner UI that more seamlessly blends with Learn


Additionally, because New Box View is provided by Box, Inc. – one of the world's largest SaaS-based content management services – the New Box View service includes compliance with the strictest security and compliance standards including SOC, ISO, HIPAA standards and more.  With over 44 million users on Box platform, Box is one of the most proven and scalable solutions in the market to provide direct access to user-submitted content within any web browser.  Blackboard is proud to rely on Box for this important functionality and we have confidence Box will deliver a reliable, robust service to our clients even at the peak of our clients' submission times. However, in addition to these improvements over Crocodoc, there has also been significant concern regarding some features that are present in Crocodoc but not currently present in New Box View.  Areas of concern have included:


  • Lack of annotation types (e.g. drawing annotation)
  • Inability to view multiple annotations at once
  • Inability to download documents containing annotations
  • Accessibility of the New Box View service


Based on this feedback, Blackboard has been working to organize and communicate these concerns to Box to help prioritize these concerns amongst Box's overall roadmap and development efforts.  To help this effort, Blackboard is organizing a community-based voting effort on the most important features needed in New Box View.  Ideas can be viewed here and users can now vote on the importance of the ideas.


We are happy to share that Box – based on feedback from Blackboard, and on behalf of our clients – has already begun work to improve the New Box View service in several areas of concern:


  • Drawing Annotations – Box has confirmed that drawing annotations are in development and are planned to be delivered early in 2018. 
  • Accessibility – generally, Box is committed to Accessibility as a core tenant of their offerings.  Specifically, New Box View already supports viewing, reading, posting, and downloading document contents using a screen reader for all content submitted in text format.  More Accessibility enhancements for text-based documents – specifically accessing annotations within these documents – are planned for implementation in the first half of 2018 as well.  Box has also recently implemented support for several features specifically relating to Accessibility for video content including closed captioning, keyboard shortcuts for controls, and screen-readable controls.


In addition, some customers have also identified some functional bugs within the New Box View service, and these bugs have been reported to Box and are being addressed.


These planned enhancements and fixes – along with additional improvements based on feedback from the Blackboard community – will help improve the New Box View offering to meet the needs of Learn users around the world.  Blackboard is committed to working with Box to make the New Box View service the best Inline Document rendering tool in the Education market for our mutual users.