Best Tools for Student Reflective Journals – 2020

We have several tools which are ideal for student’s reflective work from discussion boards, to journals, from blogs to wikis. Read about them below to decide which tool is right for the needs of your assignment.

Discussion boards / conversations

Discussion boards on Blackboard can be an ideal way to have students interact with each other outside class. You can set them up directly in your module, and they also work well on mobile devices. However, these are more aimed at interaction between students, than personal reflections between student and staff.

Student Journals

You may wish a student to keep a personal, reflective learning journal. There are a number of ways to achieve this

Blackboard’s Journal Tool

This is the ideal solution if this journal is intended to be used for a single module, and you’re more interested in the reflections of the students, than their ability to present content visually. If you want to grade student work, then this is a good option.

OneNote Class Notebook

OneNote offers a Class Note book option. This allows you to have a private area for each student, and a central point where students can contribute to content. It’s got a lot of flexibility, in terms of content students can add, content you can push to students, and they can use it off line. Although direct integration between Blackboard and OneNote is possible, this can be a bit tricky. Please contact Help4U to ask advice in terms of getting students into the notebooks etc., if you’re interested in pursuing OneNote Class Notebooks.


This is the ideal solution if the journal assignment is intended to be reflective over the course of multiple modules, and it will either not be graded, or be graded infrequently. It can be an ideal solution for an ePortfolio. You may wish to set up a single (ungraded) blog at the start of a degree for students to use through out their degree.

Class Wiki

If you would like to create a class based collaborative space, you could use the shared area of a OneNote ClassNotebook, or a Class Blog on LearningSpaces.


We have a small pilot project looking at supporting students to create and edit articles on Wikipedia – please contact Help4U in the first instance if you’re interested.


If you want students to create podcasts, as well as being a video tool, Yuja also allows you to host podcasts. Some staff encourage students to use podcasts to add their reflections to a blog post; it allows students to decide if they prefer written or spoken reflections

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