Often it’s not until you have time to think about and reflect on a new idea or concept that you understand the material and how it relates to the class. Self reflection is also a valuable tool to evaluate your achievements and progress through a course. To help you organize your thoughts and reflections, your instructor might ask you to keep a Journal. Journals in Blackboard are a way for you to communicate your personal thoughts and reflections with your instructor. In addition, a journal can help you track your progress and give you a way to see how much you have learned. It can also help you decide where you need to concentrate more.
All about journals
See an overview of how to use the Journal tool.
Journals are a personal space for you to communicate privately with your instructor. You can also use a journal as a self-reflective tool to post your opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or discuss and analyze course related materials. For example, you can describe problems faced and how you solved them. Your instructor can direct journal entries to be more formal in nature and narrower in focus by listing topics for discussion.
Your instructor can choose to make journal entries public, allowing all course members to view all entries. One example of making entries public might be if your instructor wants opinions on how to improve the evaluation process. You can read what other students wrote and build upon those ideas.
When used in the Group area, members of a Group can view and comment on each other’s entries for a Group journal. The Group can communicate with the instructor as a whole and all members can benefit from the comments made.
Journal entries can be assigned a grade or can be used solely for communication. In either instance, you can make multiple entries for one journal topic.
You can only access the Journal tool from within a course. To access the journal tool, click on the link on the Course Menu. Your instructor may also include a link to the journal tool inside your course’s content areas (i.e. Learning Modules, Content Folders, etc.).
Creating a journal entry
A list of journals appears on the Journal list page. You can see if your entries are private or public.
|Types of Journals|
|Private Journals||Contain entries that only you and your instructor can view|
|Public Journals||Contain entries that the entire class can view|
Your instructor will create journal topics that you will use to make entries. The Journal Topic page is divided into two main sections. You can view the Instructions in the content frame at the top. Click the X to collapse the field. In the side panel, you can view information about the Journal. Any entries saved as drafts can be accessed by clicking View Drafts on the Action Bar.
To create a Journal entry, click on a Journal title to open the journal. On the Journal’s topic page, click Create Journal Entry. Once on the Create Journal Entry page:
- Give your journal entry a Title.
- Type text in the Entry Message text box. You can format the text and add images, links, multimedia, and Mashups.
- You can attach files using the Attach File buttons beneath the message area.
- Click Post Entry to submit the Journal entry or click Save Entry as Draft to post the entry later.
Commenting on journal entries
Journaling is an interaction between you and your instructor. You can build rapport and create a vibrant intellectual exchange with your instructor by sharing a journal. You can make a comment after your instructor comments on an entry to continue the conversation.
You cannot make comments on another student’s journal entry, even if the journal has been made public. Students can only comment on another student’s entry when they are members of a Group. For Group Journals, all Group members and the instructor are allowed to make comments on individual entries.
On the Journal topic page, select the journal entry to view by selecting the user’s name in the side panel under More Journals. The Journal entry opens in the content frame. To add a comment to a journal entry:
- Click Comment following the user’s entry. The Comment text box appears.
- Type your comments in the Comment text box. You can Spell Check using the button at the bottom of the Comment box.
- Click Add.
- View your comment by clicking the Comment link at the bottom of the Journal entry.
Editing and deleting journal entries
You can edit and delete your journal entries if your instructor allows it. However, if you edit or delete gradable journal entries, the original graded entry will be lost.
To edit or delete a journal entry, access the Journal entry you want to edit. On the Journal’s topic page, click the entry’s Action Link to access the contextual menu.
- Select Edit. On the Edit Journal Entry page, make your changes. Click Post Entry.
- To delete an entry, select Delete from the contextual menu and then click OK.
Once individual Journal entries have been graded, you can view your grade in two places. The grading information appears on the Journal topic page and in the My Grades tool.