Our updated Blackboard system offers some new options for engaging students: journals, blogs and wikis. Here’s a short explanations of what they are and how they can be used.
A journal is, of course, a private reflective piece of writing. If a journal were a picture it would look like this:
If a journal were a sound it would sound like this:
Journals in Blackboard are private between the student and the instructor. Only the instructor can comment on a journal entry. There are several advantages to using Blackboard’s journal, rather than gathering journal entries by email. First, they are secure in one place, not lost in your email. Instructors are given a number of tools to manage them as well. New posts are prominently listed and you can go directly to them. You can also display the names of any journals that are empty. As with Blackboard’s Blog and Wiki, students can post a wide variety of media and attach files to a journal post. This is a simple tool you can use right out of the box.
A blog is a single person’s take on something. A blog has the voice of its owner. Its perspective is unique.
If a blog were a picture it would look like this:
If a blog were a sound it would sound like this:
The most obvious difference between Blackboard’s blog tool and a “real” blog is that it is contained within a course, not published on the web. So while it feels inauthentic as a blog, it is a great way for students to post their own work and see and critique other students’. Students can post videos, animations, audio files and embed anything else they can find an embed code for. They can also attach files. Therefore students could upload their papers or powerpoint presentations or videos to share with the class.
A wiki is a webpage that is editable by many.
If a wiki were a picture it would look like this:
If a wiki were a sound it would sound like this:
The wiki tool is the most flexible and the most complicated. Its primary use is for students to create content. In its basic configuration it is one web page that the instructor sets up. Wiki contributors (the whole class, or group of students) can add text, pictures or multimedia. There is also a space under the page to comment. Any contributor can edit and also add a page.
Groups might be given a wiki as a place to post resources they have found. One professor used a multiple-paged wiki, each page a different motor skill. Students filled out the stages of growth for each skill as they went along.
If you’d like to talk about how you can use any of these tools in your course, contact Judy Brophy at firstname.lastname@example.org