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Blackboard News - Assignment Inline Grading Tool is changing

11.08.2017 | By: Texas Wesleyan University

Greetings Texas Wesleyan University Faculty! 

If you have not already noted this news in the “Instructional Applications – Known Issues” module in Blackboard, please review this announcement from Blackboard regarding the company's end-of-life plans for the Crocodoc inline grading feature (used for providing annotation to Blackboard assignments). Blackboard intends to replace Crocodoc with a different inline grading solution known as Box View.

Who is affected by this change? 

Any instructors who utilize inline grading features in Blackboard assignments. 

Why is this happening now?

Crocodoc was acquired by Box. Box announced last year that the Crocodoc inline grading tool would be phased out. This prompted Blackboard to pursue a replacement for their inline grading feature. This new tool is known as Box View. Official end-of-life for Crocodoc is Jan. 15. Please refer to the article in the link above for additional details. 

What do we do? 

Faculty should be aware that the inline grading features associated with Blackboard assignments will be powered by a different third-party tool in the Spring 2018 semester. Faculty should also be aware that downtime of the production Blackboard environment will be necessary for the near future (after completion of the regular Fall 2017 term) – likely a 24-hour maintenance window.

An announcement will be made to all users in Blackboard regarding downtime maintenance when additional details are available. Additional information about transitioning from Crocodoc to Box View can be found here.

Why will there be downtime?

Making use of new inline grading feature (Box View) necessitates an upgrade to the university's Blackboard environment. Specifically, the newest cumulative update to our existing release of Blackboard will need to be applied. This type of upgrade is typical to address security updates and bug fixes and is not as extensive as a version change, so the inline grading feature is the only customer-facing tool that is expected to change. This type of upgrade will require downtime for maintenance. Once this cumulative update is released by Blackboard, IT-Academic Services will work with Blackboard Managed Hosting to schedule the necessary maintenance.

We'll work to ensure that this downtime is as low-impact as possible, however, maintenance must be performed prior to the Crocodoc's end-of-life date on Jan. 15 in order to maintain a functional inline grading tool for Blackboard assignments. Tentative plans are to schedule necessary downtime for the installation of this cumulative update over the Christmas holiday.

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