A Journal is a tool for self-reflection. A course can have several different Journals, used for different purposes (e.g. one Journal for field experience reflections and another Journal for reading responses). Only the student and the instructor are able to comment on Journal entries. Journals may be kept private between the student and instructor, or made public by the instructor so that all enrolled users can read all posted Journal entries. Group Journal entries can also be created and can be read by all group members and the instructor.

Creating Journals in Blackboard

  1. In your Course Management control panel, click Course Tools to open the tools menu.
  2. Click on Journals.
    Image of the Course Tools menu
  3. Click the Create Journal button found at the top left of the Journals page.
    Create Journal Button
  4. In the Journal Information section, type in a name for your Journal in the Name field. You can add instructions for your Journal, if you wish.
  5. In the Journal Availability section, students will not be able to see the Journal unless the Journal Availability button is set to ‘Yes’.
  6. In the Journal Date and Time Restrictions section, you can select specific dates for the Journal to display by completing the Display After and/or Display Until fields.
  7. In the Journal Settings section, you can create settings for how you want the Journal to be organized: You can allow users to edit or delete entries and comments. If you select the Permit Course Users to View Journal box, you will allow all students in the course to view one another’s Journal entries. If you leave it unchecked, only the student who created the entry and the Instructor will be able to view it.
  8. In the Grade Settings, if you select Grade for the Journal, you will need to enter the number of points possible, and a grade column will automatically be created in the Grade Center.  You can also decide if you want to use a Rubric to score the Journal.  (More information about using Rubrics.)
  9. Click on the Submit button.

NOTE: The Journal you have created is not deployed in your course yet, so students may not be able to access it. To deploy this Journal in your course, follow the instructions below to add a link to Journals in your Course Menu, or to add a Journal into a content area in your course.

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Adding a Journals Link to Your Course Menu

Following these instructions, you can add a link to the Journals page into your Course Menu. This will allow students to access all the Journals that you have created, from a central location.

  1. Click on the + icon from the Add Links toolbar at the top of your Course Menu.
  2. Select Tool Link from the drop-down menu.
    Image of the Add Links tool bar and menu
  3. Type a name for the Journal, such as ‘Course Journal’, in the Name field.
  4. Select Journals from the Type field drop-down menu.
  5. Check the Available to Users box.
  6. Click Submit.
    Image of Add Tool Link dialogue box

Adding a Journal into a Content Area

Using this method, you can place a link to a specific Journal into a content area in your course, or create a link to the Journals page so that students can see all of the available Journals.

  1. Go to your Course Menu and select the content area (e.g. Course Documents) into which you want to add the Journal.
  2. Click on the Tools button and select Journal from the drop-down menu.
    Tools area
  3. Select whether you want to link to the Journal Page (all course Journals are displayed on this page), or a link to a specific Journal. Any Journals that you have created for this course will be displayed in the Link to a Journal combo box and you may select the specific Journal you’d like to link:
    Image of Create Journal Link page
  4. Once you have made your selections, click Next.
  5. A second Create Link: Journal page will now open. By default, the name of the Journal to which you linked will automatically populate the Link Name field. You can accept this name or type in a new name.
  6. Under Options you may determine when this Journal link will become available to students.By default, the link will be immediately available and not have any date restrictions.
  7. Click the Submit  button. The Journal link will now appear as the last item in the content area it was linked to. You can drag and drop it to any position within that content area.
    Image of a Journal link inside a content area

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Posting to a Journal

Once a Journal has been created and linked into the course, students can begin posting entries. Instructors can also create Journal entries (but they will not be able to be seen by students unless Permit Course Users to View Journal has been selected in the Journal’s settings. To begin posting entries, a student or instructor should open the Journal:
Image of Journal creation page

  1. Click the Create Journal Entry button to begin a new Journal entry. Entries are made using a standard rich text box, images can be embedded, and files may also be uploaded and attached to Journal entries.
  2. Clicking your name will open a menu where all available and visible Journals can be used. Instructors can use this area to see all student Journals (the number of entries will appear in parenthesis next to each students’ name) and students may use this if Journals are set up so that all users can view all Journals.
  3. Each Journal’s entries will be indexed in this collapsible menu, for reference.


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Commenting on a Journal Entry

Instructors can create comments to Journal entries but students cannot make comments on another user’s Journal entry, even if the Journal has been made public.  Users can only comment on another user’s entry when they are members of a group and the Journal has been set up as a group Journal. For group Journals, all group members and their instructor are allowed to make comments on individual entries.

  1. Click and navigate to the Journal you wish to comment in.
  2. Click on the Comment button in the lower right corner of the Journal post.
    Comment on Journal button
  3. Type a comment in the Comment box.
  4. Click Add.
    Add Comment button

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Grading Journal Entries

If you have enabled Grading for Journals, you may assign a grade for each student’s Journal as a whole (not individual entries) by following these instructions:

  1. Open the Journal you would like to assign grades for and expand the menu of Journals by clicking on your own name on the righthand pane:
    Image of Journal
  2. Click on the name of the student whose Journal you would like to grade.
    Image of Journal
  3. This will bring up the student’s Journal, with a grading area to the right of their entry. This is where you can put the score, and any feedback, then click Submit.
    Grade and Feedback in Journals

Note:  For more detailed instructions on grading individual and Group Journals, see the Inline Grading for Journals article.

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