Crocodoc Replacement for Blackboard Assignments Only

Croco what? I hear you say! Well lets start with some explanations of what’s what:

Blackboard Assignment

A Blackboard Assignment is a drop box that accepts submissions from students based on parameters set when the assignment is created.

blackboard assignment image









Inline Grading – Annotation tool Crocodoc

The Inline Grading annotation tool known as Crocodoc, is the online tool provided within Blackboard Assignment, for annotating assignments.

You will know if you are using inline grading annotations if you see the following image:

crocodoc image



If you do regularly see the Crocodoc image, then the following information is for you…

What’s happening?

Blackboard are retiring the inline grading Crocodoc element of the Blackboard assignment. It will be replaced with a new product called Box View.

What do you need to do?

Simple – after 28th October do not use the inline grading tools – that is do not mark online with Blackboard Assignments. You can still create Blackboard assignments, accept submissions and download original submissions for offline marking and feedback.

What about Safe Assign?

Originality reports and plagarism checking through Safe Assign will not be affected.

What about work already marked?

Blackboard will retain all existing annotations.  These will be incorporated into a pdf along with the original document.  Although further editing, updating or deleting of the annotations will not be possible.  The annotated pdf will be available to view through the Grade Centre.  Please note students will not be able to download these annotated .pdfs.

When will the new Box View be available?

A number of system changes will need to take place in the background before the new Box View for Blackboard Assignments can be enabled. LTD will begin testing as soon as the update is available (this is expected to be in November). We will then be in a position to share more detail about the timeline for using new Box View as soon as possible following this work.

Blackboard 9.1 Upgrade

Blackboard 9.1 needs to be upgraded to allow for the change from Crocodoc to Box View.  The upgrade to Blackboard will take place from Sunday 26th November (11:30pm) until Monday 27th November (11.30am) and during this time Learning Edge and Blackboard will be unavailable for all users.  There is more information about this on the Learning Edge Service Report blog

Who can I speak to?

Should you need any further information, you can speak to your Learning Technologist, who can be found here 

Feel free to email [email protected] or phone us on Ext 7754 and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions or just get in touch if you would simply like to know more.

John Langford & Ruth Smalley

Organising your course list in Learning Edge

If your course list looks a bit out of control, like this:

Course List Image

Then read on to discover how to organise it. You can also see our Organising your Course List guide, or watch the video: Organising your course list in Learning Edge:

YouTube Video Player

With a few clicks your course list can be transformed, from a distracting jumble in to a clean, contemporary, George Clarke esq, Amazing Space!

  • Firstly, click on the “Edit Course List” button on the Courses Home Page:Edit Course List Image
  • Next, check the “Group by Term” checkbox:Terms_Check_Box








  • You will then see a list of Academic Year(s):Personalise My Courses Image
  • Remove the tick from “Expand Term” for each academic year and click “Submit”.
  • You will then see your course list grouped by academic year:Course List Collapsed
  • To view your courses simply click the arrow next to an academic year.

We hope you like the new course list organisation tool.

[Known Issues – Note that if you individually hide all the courses in a term, rather than hiding the term as a whole, the Global Navigation menu at the top right of the screen will stop working. We expect this to be fixed in the summer 2017 Blackboard upgrade]

Please contact the Learning Technology Development team to share any questions you have. Leave a comment below, email [email protected] or call 01695 650754.


John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

Learning Edge Upgrade Success!

The scheduled summer upgrade has been completed successfully and you can now login to Learning Edge as normal.

The upgrade introduces a number of improvements, which we hope you will like!

You will see that your ‘Courses’ homepage has been de-cluttered. Here you can now easily access all your programme and module course areas, your ePortfolio (aka Campus Pack) as well as your notifications and settings pages:

Courses Screenshot

The old ‘Communities’ page has been updated to ‘Organisations’. Here you can can now easily access all the organisations that you are enrolled into, browse the Organisation Catalogue to find new spaces to join, and easily request a new space and manage your notifications and settings:

Organisations ScreenshotYour faculty resources page is now ‘My Library’. This page gives you easy access to your library account summary, library catalogue and discovery search tools, subject librarian contact details, study toolkits and lots more … check it out!

My Library Screenshot

Where can you learn more?

As mentioned in the previous summer upgrade blog post, the LTD team have introduced a number of other new features. As well as the Blackboard Learn – Interface Changes and General Updates, the Qwickly Attendance (Online Register) tool has been updated as has Blackboard Collaborate (Virtual Classrooms).

You can contact us to discuss any aspect of the upgrade, including new features, so we can help you make the most of the new improved system.

Please Feedback

Take your time to explore the upgraded system and let us know what you think.

The LTD team have worked hard to test the upgrade so we do not expect any issues! However, if you do spot any anomalies please let us know ASAP so we can investigate and get them resolved for you.

Contact the Learning Technology Development team to share any queries or comments you have regarding the upgrade or the online webinar– leave a comment below, email [email protected] or call 01695 650754.




John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

Blackboard World Conference – Part 2

Part 2 of the Blackboard World 2015 conference in Washington DC – National Harbour Conference Centre, 20th-23rd July

Product Roadmap – Jim Chalex, Director of Product Management (Blackboard)
This morning (or afternoon in BST!) we heard from Jim Chalex, Director of Product Management at Blackboard. He outlined the product roadmap for Blackboard Learn 9.1, in particular the next generation ULTRA interface.  This was heavily Tweeted by a number of people in the room as they gave details of how long 9.1 will be supported (or at least the service packs) and also which features of ULTRA are available now, which are in development and which were in ‘Research’.  It was particularly reassuring that Tabs and Modules – the focus of our presentation – will be included in ULTRA in the future as this is currently in ‘Research’. More to come on that shortly…

ULTRA sees a big change in the way users will interact with Blackboard Learn, with anticipated improved workflows and navigation.  If you want an early sneak-peek and a chance to evaluate the new interface, take a look at

Collaborate ULTRA
Our colleague David Callaghan is currently looking in to the new aspects of this revamped product.  The main change is the move away from having to install any Java applets before launching a session. There is also a ‘swishier’ minimalist interface, with easy access tools. The whole product has been rebuilt and quite frankly looks great, although some features are currently missing such as break-out rooms and polls.  These are promised soon!

The Collaborate ULTRA Building Block (B2B) was released last Friday (17th) which is great news as this was holding up our testing.  We look forward to incorporating it soon.

The new student version of Mobile Learn (UK) has been promised by Q3 (although we suspect we may not actually see it until the end of the year).  The very final session we’ll be attending is the International Product update, so more to come on our final post.

The new Instructor app is ‘coming soon’.  This will be a dedicated app to support academic staff in using Blackboard on their mobile device.  There is currently available a Bb Grader app for iOS but this is purely to mark papers.  The new Instructor app will incorporate most tools but specifically for Instructor use with Instructor functions.  There will also be an Android version.

Respondus Lockdown Browser

While looking round the exhibition hall, we took some time to speak to vendors of proctor (or invidulator) free testing environments. One that stood out was Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor and it’s something we will be feeding back to our colleague Martin Baxter who is working with the Business department to evaluate online testing environments.

And finally…  “They Loved The Tabs!”

Well that was the feedback from colleagues in the audience, following our presentation. Carol and myself presented on the customisations Edge Hill University had implemented to Blackboard Community Engagement over the past 24 months.

The presentation was well received and many institutions both applauded the customisations we had delivered and empathised with the challenges we faced; from Tab and Module administration/management to the particulars of sourcing reliable accurate data for staff secondary institutional roles.

One particular section of the presentation that stood out was our implementation of the NEW_STARTER role for new students joining the institution. Colleagues were fascinated to find out how the data was sourced to facilitate this role. We also suggested alternatives, such as an adaptive release for those who didn’t have technical support readily available, to implement a data feed.

During our Q&A session, a discussion took place surrounding the future of Tabs and Modules and how they will fit in following the announcement of ULTRA. Fortunately, Matt Franks From Blackboard was able to provide some guidance on the UX in the next version of Blackboard.

After the discusion he asked for our feedback on a beta design of Tabs and Modules. As we have extensively customised our environment.  Matt asked if we would like to be part of the client consultation process so we exchanged contact details and will now be feeding directly in to the research and development of the new Blackboard user interface, in particular Tabs and Modules!

Our final post from the conference will be coming soon!




John Langford
Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

Linked Out…

Have you ever come across a broken link to an external website? Annoying isn’t it? Especially if the content you want to access has moved to a different location, requiring you to start searching all over again.

Fortunately in Blackboard this is now a thing of the past!

As a tutor you can check the validity of your external web links in your Blackboard course area.bb_link_checker

The External Links Validator lists all your course content links to external sites and displays whether they are valid or not.

The Link Checker can be launched from the Course Tools section under the Control Panel, on the left hand side of the course page.

Once the Link Checker is selected the tool will load all the external links contained in the course area.



You can then easily see which links are valid or not. There’s also the option to hide invalid links, to instantly remove them from your course and improve the student experience.

Learning technology Development (LTD) are always looking at ways to add functionality and improve the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard 9.1.

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions: [email protected]


John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

Course User Management


Following the our recent transition from the Section Merge Tool (SMT) to the Course Relationship Tool (CRT), I thought it would be a good idea to follow up with a blog post on some useful user management techniques in Learning Edge course areas.


bb_ca_usersandgroupsCourse Management – Control Panel

The topics discussed will focus on the Users and Groups section in the course Control Panel and will be particularly useful for Course Administrators.

You can modify a user’s Role and bb_contextAvailability from the context menu arrow, next to the users username:

User Availability


This replaces the function to ‘Remove Users from Course’ which used to delete the user’s enrolment.

You can now ‘Change the User’s Availability’ which allows you to toggle if the user can view this course or not.

Effectively setting the availability of the users bb_availableenrolment to available (Yes) or unavailable (No).

This also provides the added benefit of being able to switch back instantly, should you need to.


Role Selection


Similarly, a users role can be modified in the same way.

By selecting ‘Change User’s Role in Course’ you can modify the users course role by choosing one from the predefined list:










As always, if you have any questions please contact LTD Support on 01695 650754 or email [email protected]






John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

Time to get Appy!

Smartphones and Tablets get better every year and more of you are using your mobile devices to engage with Edge Hill content on the go.

With the start of term only a few weeks away, what better time to showcase the apps available to you…

Edge Hill Central

EHU Central logo
EHU Central




Stay connected with Edge Hill University wherever you are.

Look-up course information, search the library catalogue, check your emails and stay up-to-date with the latest university news, videos, images, and more.

iTunes link | Google Play link

Blackboard Mobile Learn

BB Mobile




Blackboard Mobile Learn makes it easier for you to keep up with your courses by letting you access them whenever and wherever you want – now on WiFi and cellular!

We have also bundled a copy of this in to the Edge Hill Central App – so there is no need to install separately.

iTunes link | Google Play link

Blackboard Collaborate





Blackboard Collaborate is Edge Hill’s web conferencing tool. Collaborate provides an online environment where students and staff can engage in a live web conference for online classes, meetings, one-on-one tutoring, and much more.

In order to attend a Blackboard Collaborate session your tutor will need to schedule a session or create a room.

iTunes link | Google Play link

For more information on mobile enabled content available at Edge Hill University can be found here

As always, any questions on whats happening please contact LTD Support on 01695 650754 or email [email protected]






John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

Learning Edge Upgrade 20-21 July 2014 – What’s coming this summer

See Whats Better

The summer is on the horizon, bringing with it not only better weather but a better Learning Edge too! We are currently working with Blackboard to introduce a number of new features which will improve your experience and use of Learning Edge.

The upgrade will introduce exciting innovations as well as improvements to core capabilities, some of which are detailed below:


Student Preview

This new tool will enable you to quickly view and verify the design of your course Studetn_Preview_Iconcontent and course navigation from the perspective of a student. This means that you will no longer need to manage the creation and enrollment of test student accounts.

Anonymous and Delegated Grading

Anon_Grading_DelWith the Blackboard assignment tool you will be able to grade anonymously and delegate grading responsibilities to other members of staff.

Social Tools and Profiles

Learning gets social

With upgraded social learning tools including calendars, social spaces and improved cloud profiles, both students and staff can stay connected inside the traditional Virtual Learning Environment.

‘My Blackboard’ also provides a convenient one stop location for frequently used tools, such as My Grades for students and the Retention Center for staff.


Summer Upgrade Pre-Testing


In order for us to prepare for the upgrade, we will be carrying out extensive testing throughout May, June and July. The important dates for you to make a note of are the 27th May and 23rd June, as LTD team will be unavailable for general queries.

You can still email us on [email protected] with anything urgent, but LS help desk will be able to assist you on 01695 584286 with your general enquiries.

You are welcome to sign up to the Upgrade Cohort (Service Pack April 2014 upgrade) if you would like to keep updated with developments of the new upgrade:

And the final important date is…

Following successful testing the current target date for the upgrade is July 20th / 21st.

As always, any questions on whats happening please contact LTD Support on 01695 650754 or email [email protected]







John (LTDSO) & Nina (LTDOC)

Where’s the subscribe button gone?








Blackboard 9.1 Discussion Board Forum – Subscription Button

You may or may not have noticed that the Subscribe button has recently taken a break from its duties. Well you’ll be happy to know you can fix this!

In Control Panel open customisation and click on Tool Availability.





Within the Tool Availability list scroll down and find Email.Put a tick in the Available check box (first check box).


Now as long as you have set the subscribe property in the Forum settings, users will once again be able to subscribe to your forum.








John Langford
Learning Technology Systems Officer

How Blackboard 9.1 Enrolment Works

Enrolments are always high on the agenda at the start of a new academic year and this year has been no exception.

There have been many enquiries on how students are enrolled so let’s take a look at how enrolments are processed:

As you can see the Student Information Database (SID) dictates what is fed in to Blackboard 9.1. Student enrolments are processed automatically based on each students registration status.

“In terms of Blackboard student enrolments – SID is king!”

Currently enrolments are fed into Blackboard via the enrolment snapshot feed file (pipe delimited text file):


The feed file contains all valid students and their respective enrolments for qualification, course and module areas.

Manual Student Enrolments – Don’t do it

If students are not appearing in course areas as expected do not enrol them manually!
There are generally two reasons for students not being enrolled:

  1.  They are not enrolled correctly in SID
  2. The student’s cohort is not part of a course merge

In both instances please refer to your course/departmental administrator(s).

Course Availability

By default all new courses in Blackboard are set to unavailable. If students are enrolled and they can not see their course, the course must be made available. Please see the following guide on how to change course availability.

If you have any questions please leave a comment or alternatively contact your Faculty Learning Technologist for further information.





John Langford
Learning Technology Systems Officer