New In-Line Grading

One of the most useful tools in Blackboard for faculty who accept their work digitally is the In-Line Grading functionality. It allows you to look at, annotate, comment and grade student file submissions without leaving the browser. Over this upcoming winter, some changes will be happening with the tool. This article will keep you informed about the changes.

What’s changing?

If you grade papers in Blackboard, chances are you’ve used the Crocodoc viewer, also known as In-Line Grading, to read and comment on your students’ papers. This viewer is changing to a newer piece of software over winter break. This upgrade will fix some problems that faculty are having with viewing certain files.

The new system will load previews for additional formats, as well as the usual .docx, .pdf, and .xlsx formats we are used to. This will include image, video, text, and even some programming file types. A full list can be found on Box’s website.

It will also slightly change the way you annotate files. The free-hand drawing tool will not initially be available, but you will be able to highlight and comment on the text as you could with the older viewer.

You or your students may find that a newly uploaded assignment does not immediately appear in the viewer. If that happens, click the Reload button in your browser and the document will appear.

Why is this happening?

Blackboard licenses the in-line viewing technology from Box, a cloud provider. When Box bought Crocodoc, they deprecated the software in favor of their own viewer, known as Box Viewer. Now that Crocodoc is end of life, all Blackboard customers must switch to the newer Box Viewer.

What will the new viewer look like?

Very similar.

For those of you who use the tool to read student work, it will look almost exactly the same. If you’ve used Chalk and Wire during the Fall semester, you may have already seen the new viewer and not even noticed.

Side by side image of the two in-line grading interfaces

On the left is the In-Line Grading system currently in use in Blackboard. On the right is the new system.

Do I have to do anything?


All of the changes will be done on the back end by Online Learning Services during Winter Break. There will be downtime from 10pm on 12/29/17 through 12pm on 12/30/17 while the system is updated to accommodate these new changes. Shortly after, all previous submissions to Blackboard will be converted to the new viewer, and all submissions going forward will use this new viewer for In-Line Grading.


If you have any questions about this change, or need help after we switch over, please give us a call!