Tools for Learning Activities: Blackboard Activities – Journals

The information in this article is correct at the time of writing, please check our TEL Blog for the latest information on Technology at the University of Reading.

Blackboard journals are individual private areas that provide a discrete space for students to post content which can be viewed or graded by an instructor.

Journals are created and managed by instructors and can be set as graded or formative pieces. Depending on permissions, students can work in private or view each other’s entries.

This page is designed as a brief overview of the tool. You can find further support on how to set up, deploy, and grade Journals on our support site.


  • Free
  • Online (via Blackboard)
  • Blackboard App

Key features:

  • Full use of the Blackboard text editor to include a variety of styling and media
  • Can be set up so each individual on a course has one, or each individual in a group
  • Graded/Ungraded options
  • If graded, entries will show as Needs Marking after a specified number of entries
  • Able to be made public or private
  • Commenting options for public comments, or instructor/student discourse
  • Automatic indexing of entries (weekly/monthly)


  • Excellent for reflective tasks & minimum set-up Portfolio projects
  • A simple tool for mixed-media reflective exercises
  • Having a private, reflective space can provide a more comfortable environment to work in than some course-facing tools

Considerations and limitations:

  • Journals cannot be personalised in the same way that a website can, however the Blackboard Text Editor allows for some styling and personalisation of entries
  • Requires instructor feedback and interaction for best results
  • Requires careful setting of boundaries and managing of expectations
  • Once a Journal has been set as graded, this cannot be undone

Copyright information and liabilities

Page last updated on February 4, 2021 by mattjones

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