As of this month when your students turn in programming code and graphics inside of Blackboard you can use the New Box View inline grading tool to view the code and add comments to the images. If you previously used Crocodoc to quickly view spreadsheets or papers inside of the Blackboard Grade Center, you’ll find the expanded list of supported file types a breath of fresh air
Everyone who currently asks their students to upload a Word doc or a PDF to make grading written assignments easier is going to love the new inline grading tool. If you’ve been a fan of using Crocodoc to view and comment on student submissions inside of the Blackboard Grade Center, you’ll need to make one or two adjustments for the new tool. For instance, if you limited your students to attaching Word or PDF documents so they would open and you could quickly view and comment on their work, you can now expand the list of file types they can upload. New Box View (NBV) has similar functionality to Crocodoc and supports more file types (1). If you’re wondering whether you can still use the Crocodoc product, the answer is no. NBV replaced Crocodoc on January 15th, but previously graded materials remain available (2).
I am excited about NBV as the work I ask my students to submit is usually .html, .css, .png, or .jpg files. To review their HTML files I had to download and open them with an editor. Adding commentary meant using a separate annotation tool.
Functions and Details
New Box View
|File types for conversion||PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, and DOCX|
Over 100 different file types, including video, audio, image, and programming code
File Types and Fonts Supported in Box Content Preview
|File types for annotation||PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, and DOCX|
PDF, PPT, PPTX, DOC, and DOCX
New Box View also supports only point-based annotations on these file formats: AI, BMP, DCM, EPS, GIF, PNG, PS, PSD, SVS, TGA, TIF, and TIFF
|Videos and images displayed||No||Yes|
(3) Table 1 extracted from “File Types and Fonts Supported in Box Content Preview”
I see this new tool as an opportunity to streamline grading workflow. NBV shows videos and images inside of Blackboard. I haven’t tested it with videos, but I uploaded a few different image file types. They all worked. I don’t have to download and open student assignments in a different tool. This saves me space on my machine, doesn’t require opening various programs and reduces time juggling different windows. If you want to learn more about inline grading, Blackboard has a step-by-step page.
Here is an HTML file opened inside of the Grade Center. I chose the assignment I wanted to grade, and when it opened up I clicked on the underlined file name under the “Submission” section. You’ll note that the two options provided are print and download (icons on the top).
The NBV inline grading tool displays the HTML file with syntax highlighting making it very easy to read. I cannot add comments directly to the HTML file, but the “Feedback to Learner” section is open in the sidebar.
For wireframe and image submissions my students submit jpg or png files. I had to take a screenshot of the image and use an external annotation tool to add comments. Now I am able to make comments on the images.
Supported images show the comment icon. Clicking on it allows you to add comments to particular areas of the image. When the student hovers over the resulting icon, your comment is displayed.
Potential errors or drawbacks? You need to save your work; I have yet to experience it but my reading suggests that everything you do in the first 60 minutes is saved while you may lose work after that point. If you use the Bb Grader app you will see “an error when you access documents for the first time. Subsequent views properly render the document” (3). See Blackboard help documentation for the suggested work around. At one point while I was testing this inside of the Chrome browser the NBV icons disappeared. Save your work and reload the page. The icons come back.
Any other drawbacks? Students need to hover over the commend boxes or click the highlighted words to see your comments (4). All things considered, I like the new tool. I think you will too.