Journaling As A Tool In the Online Course Room: Part 1, Growing Students


WalkerBy Nancy A. Walker, Ph.D.

Do undergraduate and graduate students become aware of their expectations in online assignments, discussions and work for their thesis/dissertations? Is it pertinent to have students journal so that they can become even more aware of application and their development?

We are seeing journaling used as a developmental growth “tool” in the online course room. In applying journaling to student work, the student is able to “see” her/his growth. The student may also be more capable of asserting the evaluation and synthesis of ideas without extra and unnecessary prompting on behalf of the instructor. In this way, the student is able to evolve in awareness and also able to question for continued growth and development.

I use journaling. It is a tool that the students can also take into their professional and personal life after graduation. I like to start out by using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a foundational instrument for the students to use and gauge their progress. Each week, I prompt my students by posting and noting questions that they can include in their journaling. I also encourage then to write about their feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc…. I encourage them to look for connections by having them write about what they are learning, about my teaching, their “light bulb moments,” sources, contacts, etc…. This tools helps many students find ideas for research and application.

Some things I have also included in journaling exercises in the past have been:
1. Research Questions
2. Research Topics
3. Methodologies & Application
4. References to Read
5. Problems & Challenges
6. Literature Reviews & Ideas for Future Research
7. Interesting Questions

8. NotePersonal Assessment

I’d like to see journaling grow to be a built in model to apply in graduate school. It would be a wonderful tool to measure program success! Next week we will look at synthesis and evaluation as a tool for journaling for online graduate application; Journaling As A Tool In the Online Course Room: Part 2 Synthesis and Evaluation

About the Teacher in Pajamas: Dr. Nancy Walker earned a BA in Liberal Arts/Psychology from Saint Vincent College, and a BA in Elementary Education K-8 with a specialization in Spanish from Seton Hill University. She earned an MS in General Psychology with specialization in Educational/Developmental Psychology from Capella University. She has a Ph.D. in General Psychology with specialization in Lifespan Development from Capella University. She has a wonderful husband and two, older daughters that share in the love of learning and helping others to learn and grow, too. They spend most of their time involved in community and church outreaches that are foundational in education, social service, and missions work. They also enjoy traveling and playing basketball and softball.

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