What are the limitations of New Box View and any workarounds available?

Unfortunately, there are some current limitations which exist within New Box View (NBV). We can only apologise for these as we were forced to move away from Crocodoc and did not choose to go to New Box View. We have reported all of the below limitations and issues to Blackboard.

This page details those limitations and known workarounds. It is being updated as issues are resolved, which is thankfully happening fairly quickly.

Students and staff are unable to download work with annotations on it

Currently, there is no good workaround for this, which affects staff and students. The only possible workaround is making a screencast of the document, during which you could display each of the feedback points made in the paper. Obviously this wouldn't be printable but would allow students to keep a record of the feedback, though this is far from ideal. If you wish external examiners to have access to work with annotations on it, we recommend creating a smart view in the Grade Centre of the students they should have access to. Given the high number of requests for this functionality across all institutions using Blackboard, we anticipate this feature being added, though cannot provide a timeline yet.

Staff are unable to edit comments that they make

Staff can delete comments and re-add them but cannot edit them. Note that also unfortunately you cannot select comments you have made previously to copy and paste them into the new comment.

Highlights from Crocodoc do not display correctly in New Box View using Internet Explorer as they block the text underneath

Highlights previously made in Crocodoc but carried forward can be viewed in another browser such as Chrome.

Highlighting words using Internet Explorer 11 sometimes leads to the whole rest of the page being selected

This happens sometimes when using IE11, however other times it works fine. Two workarounds include using Chrome as your browser, and selecting text from the end of the selection to the top of the selection.

The Grader app displays an error message that it cannot load the file and nothing is displayed

The first time you try to load an assignment in the Grader app, you will receive this error message. If you close the app and open it again, you will then be able to view assignments using Box for as long as your session lasts. The new Blackboard instructor app is going to have functionality for inline marking in the future which will replace the Grader app.

Staff or students get a message the first time that a file is opened in New Box View which says it is converting and please wait X seconds

Refreshing or revisiting the page should show the file in NBV, and we have changed the message to indicate this. Note that some Mac users have reported that refreshing does not fix this issue. If that is the case, please view on a PC the first time, then you should be able to view on a Mac after the file has converted.

Box View does not always load correctly on Macs, in particular when using Safari, and displays a grey box instead of the submission

Both staff and students may encounter a grey box in place of the submission when using Safari browser. Chrome or Firefox should display Box correctly. Someone has provided instructions on what security settings to change in Safari in order for it to work.

Annotations are not possible on Excel files

There is no workaround for this currently inside Box. We recommend downloading the file and leaving comments inside Excel then reuploading it.

Drawing mode - using Save can mean that further drawings are not saved or drawings just do not appear

We recommend you avoid clicking the Save button at the bottom of drawings that you make. Instead if you click Done at the top when you have finished a drawing, that will also save it, but avoid the issues that arise when using Save.

New Box View supports preview on a wider range of files than it supports annotations for

Thus you may be able to view some file types but not add highlights/comments. Annotations can be made on PDF, PPT, PPTX, DOC, and DOCX, whilst ODT files are an example of a file that will preview but not support annotations. Find out more information. Workarounds include specifying expectations around what file formats students must use in assignment instructions. Downloading files that don't support annotations to Word and using Word's tools to annotate may also be an option.


Resolved issues

The following issues are now resolved:

Unable to see the options to leave highlight-style comments using Internet Explorer 11 sometimes

In Windows 10, when using a device with a touchscreen, on some browsers you cannot click Post when adding a highlight style comment

Some special characters such as apostrophes and quotation marks do not display correctly in annotation comments

Line breaks do not appear as new lines in the comments when displayed to users

Box View requires you to click in the comment space before typing

Box showed students a box to add to comments when it wasn't supposed to (the box didn't work anyway)

Drawing type annotations are not possible

If students submit a Word document with a graph in it, any decimal places in the graph do not display correctly

Files submitted on 5 January or later (possibly some which were submitted earlier too) should now display graphs with decimal places correctly. Note that documents with graphs submitted in December 2017 will still display the graph incorrectly as the incorrect version is cached.

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