Journals are a means self analysis and reflection. Journaling requires students to synthesize materials, compose their thoughts, and write their opinions about specific topics. This allows instructors to build relationships with students individually.
There are several key elements identified in the research for successful journaling:
- Identify what a journal is to you, and the various types of formats used in your particular class.
- Provide specific guiding questions for journal writing, such as:
- What did you learn in class today and how will you apply that knowledge into practice?
- Identify an individual who has heavily influenced you; journal a written conversation between you and he/she discussing their impact on your life.
- Allow students to explore topics in a role playing format, such as the president of a company, a historian, Editor of a column, an actor, or a parent.
Faculty at the University of Nebraska at Kearney published an article titled, Using Reflective Journaling in the College Course (PDF). This article discusses the benefits of reflective journaling, considerations for classroom usage, strategies, and how it can influence student engagement with the course.
Cheri Crabb, PhD, Academic Technology Consultant with TLT, has a career in academia focused on instructional design and development using integrated electronic media systems for blended learning.