Journals are a personal space for students to communicate privately with you. Students can also use journals as a self-reflective tool to post their opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or discuss and analyze course related materials. You can create journal assignments that are broad and student-directed as your students reflect on the learning process and document changes in their perceptions and attitudes. Students can describe problems faced and how they solved them. Also, you can create instructor-directed journal entries that are more formal in nature and that narrow the focus by listing topics for discussion.
Journals are ideal for individual projects. For example, in a creative writing course, the owner of each journal creates entries and an instructor comments. In this manner, a student can refine a section of a writing assignment over a period of time, using an instructor’s guidance and suggestions. A student can also comment on his or her entries to continue the conversation.
You can choose to make journal entries public, allowing all course members to view all entries. For example, you may choose to make a journal public when asking for opinions on how to improve the evaluation process. Students 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 the group journal. The group, as a whole, can communicate with you and all members benefit from the comments.
You can grade journal entries or use them solely for communication. In either instance, a student can make multiple entries for one journal topic.