Journals are personal, private spaces where students can write and post images or other media. By default, journals are visible only to each individual as well as to the instructor and TA’s (but there is an option to open the journal to the rest of the class).
Journals can be created for small groups, as well, and those journals are visible to all members of the group rather than private.
For particular types of assignments, the Journal tool may be set as private at first, and then opened to the class later. We recommend that you inform students at the start that this particular journal work will ultimately be viewable by the rest of the class.
If the grading option is turned on, it will create a single column in the grade center that applies to all of the entries in that Journal. Sometimes, instructors set up multiple instances of the Journal to be able to grade it in sections.
Journal Assignment Ideas:
- Journals are useful for periodic reflective writing, for drafts, or for collecting resources for a research project. A student can refine their work over a period of time, using an instructor’s guidance and suggestions. Students can also comment on their own entries to continue the conversation.
- Have each student write a one paragraph response to a homework reading. You will be able to review it, then post comments in their Journal. These postings will be private between you and the student.
- Have students post discussion questions for the next class meeting. This will alert you to what is uppermost in their minds about the topic, and will help them focus.
- Have students do a pre-class summary/question quick write. That is, they post a one sentence summary of the topic covered in the last class and one question related to that topic.
- Like the Assignment tool, Journals can be used by students to attach documents or PowerPoint slides, or to link to external web sites.
- If students are working on a research project, have them use a Journal to record their progress. They can post resources, questions they are developing or answering, amount of writing done, drafts, etc.