KU's Learning Management System

Journals

Journals are a great option when you want students to reflect on a certain topic or experience. Journals are by default private between you and your students. Entries are in chronological order and the instructor can add comments to any entry. Instructors have used journals to collaborate with students on portions of their written work. If appropriate, you can make student journals visible to other students.

KU offers instructors two different tools for incorporating journals into their Blackboard courses: Blackboard Journal and Campus Pack Journal. Making a choice between these tools will depend upon your instructional needs, as each tool has their own advantages and disadvantages. Please see the following for a comparison of Blackboard and Campus Pack Blogs, Wikis and Journals:

Options for Blogs, Wikis, and Journals

We have highlighted a few key points for you to consider when selecting which set of tools you will use. If you have any additional questions about the functionality of these tools please contact KU Educational Technologists at itedtech@ku.edu or 785-864-2600 for further assistance.


Blackboard Blogs, Wikis, and Journals

  • Allows for creation of multiple blogs, wikis, and journals for a course or individual. Groups are limited to only one blog, wiki, or journal through the Groups tool.
  • Does not allow for the creation of assignment templates for easy management and copying of prompts.
  • Does not allow for blogs, wikis, or journals to be exported outside of the Blackboard system.
  • Offers integration with Needs Grading in Blackboard. Grading can be done while viewing students' posts, and grades will automatically transfer to the Grade Center.
  • Allows Instructors to use Blackboard Rubrics for grading.
  • Does not allow Instructors to make blogs, wikis, and journals "read-only" after a specific date. Instructors only can only set availability restrictions.
  • Blogs, wikis, and journals will take on the theme of the Blackboard course.
  • Users must be logged into Blackboard to be able to access blogs, wikis, or journals.

Campus Pack Blogs, Wikis, and Journals

  • Allows Instructors to create multiple blogs, wikis, and journals for a course, individual, or group. Personal blog sites must be created for each individual.
  • Allows for creation of templates to easily manage and copy prompts for group blogs, wikis, and journals.
  • Allows for blogs, wikis, and journals to be exported as HTML.
  • Does not display within Needs Grading, however, Instructors can select grading as an option, and a grade column in the Grade Center will be created. All grading requires the user to have two browser windows open, one to view the Campus Pack activity and one to view the Grade Center where scores are entered.
  • Does not allow for rubric grading.
  • Allows Instructors to customize access and editing permissions for blogs, wikis, and journals.
  • Allows customization of blog, wiki, and journal themes independent of a Blackboard course theme.
  • Blogs, wikis, and journals can be accessed outside of Blackboard.

For more information about Journals, select from the following:


Blackboard Journals

Access an Existing Journal

  1. In the lower left Control Panel area click Course Tools and select Journals.
  2. On the Journals listing page, click the journal title you want to access.
  3. The journal listing page appears.

Create a New Journal Topic

Only the instructor can create a journal topic, but after creation, students can create entries. The journal topics appear in alphabetical order on the journals listing page. 

  1. In the lower left Control Panel area click Course Tools and select Journals. Click the Create Journal button. -OR- Navigate to a content area (like Course Documents), put your cursor on the Tools button and select Journals. Click the Create New Journal button.  
  2. Enter a name for the journal.
  3. Enter any instructions you want students to see.
  4. Change the availability and date/time restrictions if desired.
  5. Under Journal Settings you can opt for entries to be organized Monthly or Weekly.
  6. You have the option to allow users to edit and delete previous entries; delete comments; and to permit course users to view journal entries. By default these options are off, consider carefully before changing them.
  7. By default the journal topic is set to No grading. You can change this by selecting Grade. You have to enter the Points possible for the journal and have the option to add a due date and a rubric.  
  8. To upload a file from the course's storage repository:
  9. Click Submit.

Create a New Journal Entry

Once a journal topic has been created students can create entries. The journal topics appear in alphabetical order on the journals listing page. Create and post journal entries or save them in draft form for later posting.

  1. In the lower left Control Panel area click Course Tools and select Journals. -OR- Navigate to a content area (like Course Documents), put your cursor on the Tools button and select Journals.   
  2. On the Journals listing page, select a journal to open.
  3. On the Journal Topic page, click Create Journal Entry.
  4. Add a title.
  5. Type the text in the Entry Message textbox.
  6. Optionally, in the Journal Entry Files section, attach a file by clicking Browse My Computer.
  7. Files added by students will appear with the entry, but are not stored in the Content Collection.
  8. Click Post Entry -OR- Click Save Entry as Draft to save the entry for later posting.

Viewing Journal Drafts

You can save journal entries to post later by clicking Save Entry as Draft. You can view these drafts by clicking View Drafts on the main journal page.

Comment on a Journal Entry

Students can add a comment after the instructor comments on an entry to continue the conversation.

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 in a group journal. For group journals, all group members and their instructor are allowed to make comments on individual entries.

  1. In the lower left Control Panel area click Course Tools and select Journals.
  2. On the Journals listing page, select a journal to open.
  3. On the Journal topic page, click Comment for the selected entry.
  4. Type a comment in the Comment box.
  5. Click Add.

Edit or Delete a Journal Entry

Students can edit or delete their own journal entries only if the option Allow Users to Edit and Delete Entries is selected. If a student edits or deletes a gradable journal entry, the original graded entry will be lost.

Grade a Journal

  1. In the lower left Control Panel area click Course Tools and select Journals.
  2. On the Journals listing page, click a journal name to open it.
  3. In the right column click the arrowhead under the first name to expand the list and see everyone who posted.
  4. Each student with an ungraded entry will have the Needs Grading icon (yellow circle exclamation point) next to their name. Click a name to grade the student's work.
  5. Enter a grade and optionally type a message to the student in the Feedback to Learner textbox. When finished click Submit.
  6. Optionally you can enter comments on each journal entry.

Campus Pack Journals

Add a CP Journal

  1. Navigate to the place in your course in which you want to place the journal.
  2. Put your cursor on Tools and select Campus Pack Journal.
  3. Enter a title and a description.
  4. Choose to grade the journal and add a Grade Center column if desired.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Your journal is created. By default the journal is set so that students can create entries and read entries posted by an instructor but they will not see entries by other students.

View Student CP Journal Entries 

  1. Click the link to the journal in your course.
  2. On the Campus Pack Journal page, you will see entries listed with the most recent on top. You can also click the Recent Entries button.
  3. Click the entry name to read the student's journal entry
  4. To go back to the Campus Pack Journal administration page, click the journal name at the top of the display.

Create a CP Journal Entry

  1. Click the link to the journal in your course.
  2. On the journal page, click Add Entry.
  3. Add a Title for the journal entry in the New Entry textbox.
  4. Type the entry in the message textbox. With the toolbar at the top of the message textbox format the text and add images, links, or file attachments as needed.
  5. Click Save to post the journal entry.

Comment on a CP Journal Entry

  1. Click the link to the journal in your course.
  2. On the journal page, click an entry name to select it.
  3. Under the entry click Author Discussion to expand the Add Comment textbox.
  4. Type your comment in the textbox. 
  5. Click Add to post the comment.
  6. Click Author Discussion to display the comments. Click it again to hide the comments.

Grade a CP Journal Entry

Campus Pack journals can only be graded by adding grades directly in the Grade Center column. 

  1. Grade Center, Full Grade Center.
  2. Find the CP journal column. 
  3. Click the grading cell for the student.
  4. Type the grade, click the Enter key. 

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