(This post is meant to serve as an update to the prior post in December 2017)
To provide as much information and transparency as possible, we held several webinars on February 15th and February 21st to provide updates to clients across multiple markets on the status of changes to the New Box View service (recording available here). The goal of these webinars was to continue to track and communicate changes to the New Box View service over the past several months since the Blackboard Learn integration with New Box View was made available and to provide information on new functionality coming soon.
As discussed in these webinars, there we are using two classifications of issues:
- Bugs which are problems with existing functionality
- Features which are new functionality not currently present
From these categorizations, we can track the progress over time of changes to the New Box View service. For bugs, Box and Blackboard continue to be responsive to customer reports of issues relating to both the New Box View service and the integration between Blackboard Learn and New Box View. Below represents an accounting and status of bugs reported at the time of this writing:
Live tracking spreadsheet available here: link
For features, one specific improvement has already been delivered and a date has been provided for several new features:
UX for point- and highlight-based annotations – delivered on January 10, 2018 by Box
Previously, comments on point-based annotations were accessed by hovering with the mouse cursor over the point annotation while comments on highlight-based annotations were accessed by clicking on the highlight. This caused confusion for users who expected the same interaction between comments on the two types of annotations.
On January 10, Box updated the interactions for comments on both point- and highlight-based annotations to be accessed by hovering over the annotation:
Sticky annotation mode – in development, planned for delivery March 5 by Box
A less-requested but still relevant improvement to the New Box View service has been to make it easier for users to add multiple annotations of the same type in sequence without having to re-select the annotation mode from the main navigation bar.
On March 5th, 2018 Box will be updating the New Box View service with a “sticky” mode for annotations (specifically point- and drawing- annotations):
Drawing annotations – in development, planned for delivery March 5 by Box
One of the most-requested features for the New Box View service is to provide users the ability to add freehand drawings to documents.
On March 5th, 2018 Box will be updating the New Box View service with the ability to add drawings by entering into “drawing mode” (similar to “sticky” mode for point annotations):
Downloading documents w/ annotations – in design, timing TBD by Blackboard
The most-requested feature addition on the Bb Community Site is the ability for users to download PDF versions of their documents containing the existing annotations at that point in time.
Blackboard recognizes the significance and importance of this functionality and has begun investigation into building this functionality within Blackboard Learn. We have recently raised the priority of this work and completed a proof of concept for a technical design. Blackboard is scoping the effort required to move from proof of concept to full scale implementation. When the scoping effort is complete, we will be able to provide a timeline for the availability of this feature. We are targeting this work for Q2 2018, and will confirm timing in the coming weeks.
Going forward, we will continue to use the input from the Blackboard client community (including voting on outstanding ideas here on the Community Site) to prioritize and communicate the importance and need for improvements in the New Box View service with Box, Inc. Blackboard and Box remain closely partnered to improve the Inline Grading and document rendering capabilities. As progress is made with New Box View functionality and new timing information becomes available, Blackboard will provide periodic updates on new features on a timely basis. The roadmap below represents our current, best understanding of timing for the work I've just discussed:
A Focus on Assessment
We'd also like to expand on Blackboard's larger strategic approach to feedback and assessment of which Inline Grading is one component of a larger suite of assessment tools within Blackboard Learn. While we continue to make progress with improvements and changes to the New Box View service, note that document and annotation is also only one part of the overall feedback and assessment capabilities within Blackboard Learn. Blackboard's intent to provide users with valuable tools for managing and communicating the process of assessing student work extends to several other existing and upcoming functional areas as well:
- Student reminders for missing submissions – implemented in Q4 2016
- Submission receipts for submitted work – implemented in Q4 2016, further improved in Q2 2017
- Fewer Grade Center “Needs Grading” items – implemented in Q4 2016
- Improved grading with Rubrics – implemented Q4 2017
- Audio- and Video-based feedback – in development, planned for Q2 2018
These changes in combination with improvements to the New Box View service represent a holistic approach to feedback and assessment from Blackboard.