Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
New Member

Journal/reflection tool - ungraded

I've been searching for a simple way for learners to add their own reflections.  Like a journal.  Not graded, and really for their own personal use.  Not sure yet if I want it to remain confidential to the learner, or also allow the instructor/teacher to access this.  I've so far looked into Assignments and Discussions (but set up as a group discussion, for the individual) but neither seem to be really straightforward for the learner.  Any suggestions for any tools within Canvas?  Any external tools that I should consider? 

6 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

 @k_ryall , the best way I've seen this done in Canvas is to use the approach described in the Canvas FastTrack Series​, specifically . Briefly, it involves creating a number of one-person groups, one group for each student, which would allow each student to have a personal space for journaling and reflection to which the teacher also has access. Others might be able to contribute methods that work for them, so I've changed the format of your post to an open discussion.

Brilliant idea with creating one-person groups with the Discussions for a personal Journal!!!!! I never thought about this before! Perfect - Thanks stefaniesanders

for mentioning the fast track video by  @lstark  !

The courses I run have reflection at the centre of the learning process. It is not an add-on.

Group reflection works well in the discussion forums, but I still find it amazing that Canvas has no personal journalling tool. The assumption that a BLOG (public reflection) can replace private reflection is very questionable. I have students whoi are reflecting on very intimate aspects fo thier lives, and this leads to deep learning, Many would not even begin if they had to blog

For a long time I created "journals" as individual discussion forums with two members, student and tutor, each post was a journal entry, and the tutor could reply directly to comment on a post, or post a message as a more general comment. This worked OK during the course but very often with this kind of process they want to keep their journals. One can export crudely to Word but the formatting is messy.

I am currently experimenting with the Collaborate function which forces them into a Google Doc. I am not happy with this as I prefer to avoid Google where possible, and for the less adept among our students it is vital to keeep things as simple as possible and WITHIN the platform. But it does seem to lead to a more smooth output.

I still fail to see why Canvas cannot implement a functionality for personal reflection within the platform. It would not be difficult and reflection is such an integral part of learning that its absence is a real weakness. We need to be able to make the learning process visible to the tutor to support and guide it appropiately. It is a valuable affordance of online learning and it is surprising to me that it doesnt seem to form part of the pedagogical understanding at Instructure.

Tags (2)
0 Kudos
Community Contributor

Have you checked into ePortfolios?

Ooooh, ePortfolios may work too.  Thanks all for the advice - it looks like there are three options at this stage for ungraded journalling/reflection, and all have different uses and benefits.  Let me know if you have other suggestions, as I will continue investigating.

  • Assignment
  • Discussion (but grouped with one individual per group)
  • ePortfolios
Community Champion

I agree with stefaniesanders​ -- I recommend to my faculty that they use the one-person groups. It provides the anonymity that most reflective journals benefit from and allows the flexibility of using a discussion or a file. Faculty can choose to read them (if the students knows that) but also can simply check for submissions in order to provide participation or other scoring if desired. It has worked well for us.