What are reflective journals?
A reflective journal is a learning activity that asks students to engage deeply with the course content by reflecting on its relevance to their own life or learning experience. Reflective journals can be kept as a continuous diary, often useful in WIL and other work placement situations, or at any other time that suits the learning experience. For example, a reflective journal entry at significant deliverable points in a project can help students gain a deeper understanding of the project and the process, and can influence the subsequent direction of the project. Reflective journals can be used simply for student’s own learning journey, or as an assessable piece of work.
How do I set up a reflective journal activity?
Unlike Blackboard, Canvas does not have a dedicated journal tool, but it is possible to create such functionality using a combination of groups and discussion forums.
First, you must create a group for each student in a group set.
Creating the group set and groups:
- Click People on the course menu.
- Click Add Group Set.
- Enter the name for the Group Set, e.g. reflective journals
- Select the Split students into groups option and set the number to be equal to the number of students enrolled in your course.
- Click Save
Once that is done, create a group discussion forum and assign it to the group set you’ve just created.
Creating the discussion forum:
- Click Discussions on the course menu
- Click the red +Discussion button
- Give the discussion a topic title and enter your instructions or message in the text editor.
- If you wish to make this a graded journal activity, select the Graded checkbox in the Options list.
- Select the This is a Group Discussion checkbox
- Select the correct Group set from the dropdown menu.
- Click Save
Each student will now have access to a discussion forum that acts as their own private journal. They cannot see anyone else’s journal. To access their journal they should go to the Discussions button in the course menu. alternatively, you can create a link to the Discussion journal discussion tool from anywhere in your site by selecting the journal from the discussions section in the link selector.
For further information:
DLDSC Resource: How to: Create groups
DLDSC Resource: How to: Create a discussion in Canvas
Canvas Doc: How do I create a group discussion in a course?
Canvas Doc: How do I automatically create groups in a group set?
Canvas Doc: How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as an instructor?
This is one of a number of ways you could set up a reflective journal. Read this discussion thread for other ideas if this does not suit.