Online Journals as a Tool for Learning

Prior to the journal project the academics involved had experience of using the Journal tool in Blackboard. They had used the tool partially with various course units both at UG and Masters level. For these course units they wished to use journals to encourage reflective learning across the cohort. The Academics integrated this through using the journal tool as method of summative continuous assessment.

Journals can serve the valuable purposes of (i) helping students to engage critically with their own research practice and (ii) Allowing them to explicitly demonstrate the wide range of new knowledge and experience they unconsciously acquire through. The aim was to make using journals purposeful for students. Through assigning tasks associating journal entries to specific course content, a journal can become a strategic tool for learning.

The presentation outlines the diverse ways that students have been using journals as part of their research on different programmes in the department of Education. It discusses the tutors experience of setting up, managing and assessing students’ work with journals.


While some students found the actual tool a little tricky to present within they found benefits in using journals:

  • Students engaged with the course units throughout the duration of the course
  • Encourages student reflection
  • Students used the Journals as a resource to revisit as it captured reflections in real time
  • Grading and marking was housed in Blackboard and was convenient when providing marks and feedback
Student Feedback

The idea of having these journal entry formats has sparked a great deal of reflection from beginning to end. I tried to post after every step and now I see how useful this task will be for my assignment.

it definitely helped me to get my head clear so as to what was expected of me during this research process.

I believe I will refer to the [reflective journal] when I write up my assignment and particularly to jog my memory about what I thought at the time and what problems I encountered.


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School: Environment, Education and Development

Academics: Charlotte Woods, Richard Fey, Eljee Javier

Course: Multiple UG/PG courses

Themes: Online Assessment and Feedback, Reflective Learning

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