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Student Journal or Blog Feature

Student Journal or Blog Feature

(3)
In the past, I designed courses that allowed individual students to keep their own blogs as a journal/log assignment. Is there a way to include a blog feature for individual students (like a journal assignment). This could be set to allow only instructors to see the students' individual blogs OR allow all students to see the blogs but each student can only edit their own. I thought of using "pages" but those can only be made editable by all students or none. Perhaps a slight modification to allow teachers to select individual students to enable editing would suffice.

 

Ideally, this feature would also allow for multi-part assignments, where the student is graded at certain "checkpoints" as they compose and edit portions of a cumulative assignment.

 

Originally posted by Robert Anderson: Student Journal or Blog Feature : Help Center

 

  Response from Instructure
October 2016 update from Chris Ward
There are a lot of blogging solutions out there that have excellent solutions in this space. Because of this, we'll be archiving this feature idea. Thanks for voting and participating in the community!
71 Comments
ecolbeck
Community Member

In another LMS, I used private journals for student reflections. Students tended to be more insightful because their classmates couldn't see their posts.

c_t_coltman
Community Contributor

I too have used private journals for student reflection in another LMS.  You could use the ePortfolio in Canvas for students keeping a journal - this can be private or public.

anthonem
Community Contributor

Good point, Catherine. The ePortfolio tool could be a viable solution. I'll need to think more about the logistics of Canvas ePortfolios -- whether or not they have limitations that could hinder the pedagogy for these types of assignments.

nicole_stahl
Community Participant

Some instructors would like to create a Journal activity or assignment for students to post to periodically throughout the semester. Right now, the only way to do this would be to create a discussion. However, by doing this it would mean that the journals would be public instead of private.

It would be helpful if there was an LTI or an assignment format that would allow instructors to set up a journal for each student. Student can make posts in this journal, upload images or documents, and instructors would be able to see what the students are posting in their journals. Or, students could then upload that journal to an assignment at the end of the semester.

Currently, there doesn't appear to be an easier way for a Journal-type activity within Canvas.

kbesaw
Instructure
Instructure

I've shared this with a few of my clients that have expressed interest in a similar feature.  There are some LTI tools that come close to this kind of feature set, but I'm not sure what the cost associated would be and I don't think any are exactly what you have described above. 

I like the suggestion and will continue to refer schools to this Idea if/when they raise a similar request with me.

G_Petruzella
Community Champion

Hi  @anthonem ​ -

I'm with you! I suggested the per-user Page editing idea here - perhaps these two ideas could/should be merged for voting purposes? Deactivated user​, would a merge make sense?

anthonem
Community Contributor

Hi  @G_Petruzella ,

I agree we seem to have a decent amount of overlap in our requests, so perhaps we should merge.

I like where you're going with the single-user page idea. I wonder how the page could be configured as a multi-part assignment, meaning the instructor could set multiple due dates leave incremental scores/feedback for this one page? Perhaps moving forward with your idea, there could be a single "site" assigned by the instructor where students can create multiple "posts" (Canvas pages). A nice place to look for this feature is indeed the ePortfolio feature in Canvas, as mentioned by  @c_t_coltman ​ above. Maybe Canvas could integrate the ePortfolio tool with Assignments -- including multiple due dates and stages of instructor feedback/grades?

The request I've copied over from the old community also includes the ability for a journal feature, rendering the student posts private between themselves and the instructor, wanted to keep this option in the mix (the Canvas ePortfolio tool already has this feature).

G_Petruzella
Community Champion

Hi  @anthonem ​ -

Good point - I hadn't thought about the private journaling. That would be a distinct feature from what I'd suggested. But something, anything, along these lines would be an excellent idea - I'll be standing by to upvote your idea in T-6 days!

jordan
Community Champion

Hey Gerol,

I really like your idea about improving the functionality of Pages Per-user Page editing permissions. I think that your idea is a possible solution to the student journaling/blogging feature that many people are interested but it may still feel like a work-around if we just add those components. As a result it's probably best to keep these ideas separate.

There may be some other reasons a teacher might want to allow "Per-user Page editing permissions" (and privacy adjustment options). Other than blogging/journaling, perhaps you can come up with and add some other use cases in your feature idea description? Gerol Petruzella

I don't know, but it may be easier to build your feature request, and if so, it could stand as a workaround to this (blog/journaling) feature request in the interim.

kbeimfohr
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Many of our teachers used a personal blog/journal in our previous LMS and used it quite frequently during the writing process.

tawnya_means
Community Participant

I like the idea of connecting the blog as a feature of the portfolio. This would allow for students to have multiple blogs (for specific courses, internships, programs, etc) and tie the blog posts to artifacts where applicable. Then they could make it public or private based on their needs.

anthonem
Community Contributor

Hi Deactivated user​ -- glad to see your comment here. I've received multiple requests from faculty at our institution for this feature.

I'd love to see something implemented that could be used for "multi-part" cumulative assignments as well as assignments for what we generally understands as blogs or journals. I think the assessment needs a pretty similar, an instructor would ideally have one assignment listed in the gradebook, but this assignment would include multiple checkpoints for grading/feedback.  @c_t_coltman ​ and  @tawnya_means ​ both agree that the existing Canvas ePortfolio tool could be a great starting point for this tool, integrating this functionality into the assessment workflow I described would be awesome.

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Is it worth considering the WordPress LTI? That would require a separate WordPress server and some LTI configuration, but it would also get you access to a best-of-breed blogging system. I'm not sure how well it would address the blogging-as-an-assignment question. This conversation on the old community suggests that perhaps one approach would be to have students submit the URL of their post to a Canvas assignment.

ajohnson
Community Contributor

We tried to use ePortfolios as blogs. I don't think anyone actually did it since it's kind of a pain. Lots of steps to get one started, and to let your class or instructor know you did the assignment, you have to post a link to it in an assignment or discussion. We just use discussions instead now.

anthonem
Community Contributor

Thanks for your input  @annmarie_johnso ​!

I could see from a software developer viewpoint, building this tool from the existing ePortfolio functionality might make the project more feasible (i.e. take fewer resources to implement).

As you've described, it needs to be easier for students to just write up their blog entry when they access the assignment, and have it automatically post into their blog, without having to set up different sections to organize their blog (as they have to do currently with the ePortfolio tool). Do you think a blog assignment would be more successful if it was easier for students to set up compared to the current ePortfolio functionality?

How did you go about setting up the discussions...was each student assigned their own discussion topic? If so, were these discussion topics set as graded or ungraded?

arovner
Community Contributor

Our Nursing program has been asking about a Canvas Journaling feature ever since we switched.  Their students do many practical experiences in local hospitals and they are required to keep a journal of each day.   They are desperate for a way to have a continuing private journal in Canvas that only they and their instructor can see.  The instructor needs to be able to go in and grade it/give feedback periodically.

Thanks for putting this request out here!

mlattke
Instructure
Instructure

I think one of the key points here is that it would be a great instructional feature no doubt, but that it also needs to be easy for instructors to track students submission and easy for students to submit to make it a great feature!

ajohnson
Community Contributor

 @anthonem ​, yes, something that was easier to set up would be far more successful for this assignment. It would also need to be integrated into the course easily--so that points can be given for doing it, a rubric for grading, easy access for reading them by the instructor and classmates (with the option for instructor only, so that they can also be private journals). Not sure if this sort of integration and grading is possible with the portfolio tool?

To do it in discussions, we just have a regular discussion board for everyone, with instructions that they just need to make one post, no responses required. There's a separate discussion board for each time they are supposed to make a "blog post."

parde
Community Participant

Some have used EtherPad Collaborations for this. You can set up a collaboration between one student and the professor that could be edited all semester. The one down fall is that you can't make the collaboration graded within Collaborations.

anthonem
Community Contributor

​Great point parde​ ...collaborations are perhaps the best workaround out there because they can facilitate private journals or public blogs. Still though they are a lot of work for instructors in terms of setup and grading...

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