What Does the Journal Tool Offer?


  • Private communication between you and the student
  • A cumulative tool that allows you to collect and comment on work over an extended period 
  • A low-stress way for students to express complicated, emotional, or typically non-public thoughts and feelings
  • A place for students to explore their own thoughts and feelings
  • A means for students to collect and explore their writing or thought development over a period of time

What Are the Best Use Cases?

  • Giving students prompts that encourage writing that is very private or personal.
  • Providing a non-judgmental space for expression of potentially controversial views for better student/instructor engagement.
  • Assignments that prompt developmental writing where students explore an idea over a longer course of time.
  • Any assignment that produces writing that is self-reflective rather than conversational.
  • Assignments that encourage reflections on personal growth or tracking of progress of some sort over a period of time.

Tips for Effective Journal Activities

1.  Set parameters for posting entries

  • Make sure students know how frequently they are expected to post.
  • If you want the posts by a specific time each week, make sure to include the days or dates on which they are due.
    • ex.  Each week, students will post one entry between Monday and Wednesday and one entry between Thursday and Saturday.
  • If the entries are supposed to be a certain length or cover specific topics, make sure this is specifically stated.

2.  Comment appropriately on student work

  • Provide students with comments on their entries so they know they are being read throughout the semester.
  • If the journals will be graded, you can include scores for each entry so students know their quality level.
    • Keep in mind, journals are cumulative so you can either average these scores for the final grade or just use them to help students monitor their own progress and then grade the overall body of work at the end.  
  • Remember, you are the only audience for a journal, so if the student doesn't know you're reading, they may feel this is a less valuable assignment.

3. Look for comments or replies to your comments

  • Every time you access the journal area, remember to look for comments students may have added or replies to your comments.
    • Again, you are the only audience for this work, so don't leave the student feeling isolated!

How to Create a Journal Assignment

Learn how to create and manage journals in Blackboard.  This article from Blackboard contains screen shots and a video to fully demonstrate the use of this tool.


Article ID: 84937
Wed 8/14/19 3:14 PM
Tue 8/25/20 8:01 AM