New way to capture student narratives and reflection in Moodle

Posted on: May 16, 2012 | By: Dan Reis | Filed under: Instructional Technologies, Moodle, Teaching & Learning

Image of applesThe journal in Moodle has a lot of fans. Moodle’s decision to remove it in Moodle 2 (Elon is upgrading to Moodle 2 on May 21, 2012) left a lot of people scratching their heads, TLT included. The rationale behind this decision by Moodle was that the journal was redundant because similar functionality is available from other features in Moodle, specifically the online text assignment.  For the most part, it’s true. Moodle still has a tool for student journaling and reflection; it’s the online text assignment.

Below is a run-down of what is the same and different between the journal and the online text assignment.

What’s the same between journal and online text?

  • Both feature private 1-1 communication between professor and student
  • Both are a great way to gather student assignments, reflection and feedback
  • Both give professors an option to grade entries and leave feedback on student’s writing
  • Both give professors the option to allow students to edit and refine an entry or build upon a previous entry (with Online text, check “Allow resubmitting”)

What’s better with online text?

  • Timed-release: Professors have an option to pre-populate assignments and hide them until a certain date
  • Due date: An option to specify an exact due date
  • Inline comments: Professors have the option to leave text feedback within the student’s writing
  • Rubrics: option to associate a writing assignment with a rubric

What’s better with the journal?

In the Journal activity, instructors were able to view and leave comments to all the journal entries from a class on one screen. In Online text, the instructor must click on individual students to read their entry and leave feedback. Reading all assignments from the class will likely take more clicks using online text.

What will happen to my journal activities after the upgrade?

Unfortunately, any journal assignments created in Moodle will disappear after the upgrade on May 21, 2012. Any journals you currently use in your courses will be deleted and will need to be replaced with an alternative method for collecting individual student narratives, like the online text assignment. If you need an archive of previous students’ journal entries or have a concern about losing journals, contact TLT.

Want more information?

For ideas on using journaling in your courses, check out our previous blog entries.

What do you think – is online text a good replacement for the Journal? Have you found a better way to capture student writing in Moodle? Let us know in the comments.

Image by Flickr user msr / Creative Commons licensed BY-NC-SA 2.0


About the author

Dan Reis is an Instructional Technologist with Elon University’s Teaching and Learning Technologies.

Dan Reis

Dan Reis

Dan Reis is an Instructional Technologist with Elon University’s Teaching and Learning Technologies.

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3 responses to “New way to capture student narratives and reflection in Moodle”

  1. Ben McFadyen says:

    What’s with the apple avalanche?
    They’re both still apples.

  2. Dan Reis Dan Reis says:

    I like apples.
    And I was going for the comparing apples to apples idea. I’ll have to pick my cliche more carefully next time.

  3. Parker Green says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. Good insights and ideas 🙂
    http://www.miteksystems.com/why-mitek