Journaling in Blackboard: Reflect On And Deepen Learning

Journaling can be a powerful tool for students to reflect on their learning. Journals can be used to:

  • “record the development of ideas and insights and / or those of a group in a given context and can include concepts, ideas and main points from experience and theory
  • reflect upon the subject content and personal experiences as a means to increase understanding
  • analyze one’s own learning in and for self-development.” (from the Study and Learning Center at RMIT University)

Blackboard now offers a journaling tool which will allow students to create their own reflective journals. The most important thing to note about this tool is that creating one journal for an assignment will automatically create a private journal for every student. You do not need to create a separate journal for each student! The essential steps to create a journal are:

  1. Select Journals from the course tools menu in the control panel.
  2.  Create a journal keeping in mind that this will automatically create a journal for every student. So choose a journal name that reflects the assignment.
  3. In journal settings, decide if you want students to have the ability to delete their entries and your comments. All journals are private, so other students won’t be able to comment on another student’s entry.
  4. If you select the option to grade the journal, a grade column will automatically be added to the grade center

Once the journal has been created, each student’s entry will be displayed in a box on the right side of the journal. You can also comment on students’ postings if you want.

You can find more information about using journals in Blackboard including several videos at the Learning Technologies Journal page.