Elements of successful journaling

Posted on: February 18, 2017 | By: Cheri Crabb, PhD | Filed under: Instructional Technologies, Moodle, Teaching & Learning

Image of a stack of journals 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.

Key elements

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.

Additional resources

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.


Photo by Flickr user yelahneb / Creative Commons licensed BY-NC-ND 2.0

About the author

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.

Cheri Crabb, PhD

I am dedicated to working with online faculty at Elon University and pride myself on designing quality curriculum advocating instructional technology usage. My career in academia is focused on instructional design and development using integrated electronic media systems. I earned my Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Systems Design and Development from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University while representing NASA’s Office of Education as their first Graduate Studies Research Program doctoral fellowship recipient.

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