Best Tools for Student Journals

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

Discussion boards

Discussion boards on Blackboard can be an ideal way to have students interact outside of class. You can set them up directly in your module, and they also work well on mobile devices.

Student Journals

Some disciplines have used the journal feature – either these journals have been marked directly, or students have been asked to use them for resource material to create reflective essays later in the semester. There are a number of options for this:

Blackboard’s Journal Tool

This is the ideal solution if this journal is intended to be used for a single module, and it will be graded. Additionally, Blackboard’s own Journal Tool is the most straightforward option, you can set it up directly in the module. By default, this is set to be private, but entries can be made public (to all of the users enrolled in the module). These can also easily be set up for individual students, or small groups.

OneNote Class Notebook

Although direct integration between Blackboard and OneNote is possible, this can be a bit tricky. Please contact CTIL directly 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. We have a hosted installation of WordPress, LearningSpaces, that will allow you to request individual blogs for students. These can be set to be private to the student and tutor(s) if required. While this would be too complex to have one blog per student per module, if you would like to have students having a single reflective space for all their learning, this would enable it.

Class Wiki

If you have been using a Class Wiki, there are a range of options – broadly the same as those that are available for a student journal.

Blackboard Wiki Tool

This is the easiest tool to implement, as you can set it up directly from your module in Blackboard. It is also integrated with the Grade Centre, and can be set up for the whole class or for smaller groups.

OneNote Class Notebook

It is possible to use OneNote for creating class-wide Wikis. Please contact CTIL directly if you’re interested in pursuing OneNote Class Notebooks.

Learning Spaces

One of the Plugins we have for LearningSpaces allows for a Wiki to be created. As with the student journals in LearningSpace, it’s easy to decide the audience.


We have a small pilot project looking at supporting students to create and edit articles on Wikipedia.


A few staff had used CampusPack or Panopto to create podcasts; however, as these services are no longer supported by the University of Dundee, we recommend using Yuja. As well as being a video tool, Yuja also allows you to host podcasts.


If you have any questions, please email, or come chat with us in person at a drop-in session

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