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A journal is similar to a blog in that it is a platform or website where authors write reflective, critical articles (also called posts or entries.) Blogs and journals are generally used to assess similar things, so the terms are often used interchangeably.  

The key difference is that, in typical “diary-style”, journals are usually authored by one student, whereas blogs may be authored by multiple students.   

Typically used to…. 

……..assess students’ critical thinking and reflective writing skills.  A reflective journal encourages students to reflect, comment on and monitor their own journey or personal development over time. Because of this, it typically involves posting multiple entries over a period of time. 

This form of assessment also encourages students to consider a range of perspectives and to write critically about what they have learnt. (Posts should ideally be critically reflective, rather than purely descriptive.) It encourages students to demonstrate their analytical skills, creativity and writing skills.     

Key considerations when using reflective journals for assessment 

When contributing to a journal as part of an assessment, always refer to the guidelines and requirements provided by your lecturer, keeping the following points in mind:   

  • Is the journal being used for formative or summative assessment purposes (or both!) 
  • If your journal contributes to your final grade (i.e. is being used for summative assessment), how much is it worth? 
  • What criteria is being used to assess your journal? Has a rubric been provided? 
  • Create a timeline for when you will write and post your journal entries. Try not to leave them until the last minute!  
  • How will you show that you have reflected on the topic at hand? Are there any Trinity guides/supports that might be useful? For example on reflective writing or critical thinking?  
  • Do you need to use personal examples, external references? Do you need to use any specific readings or resources should you use? Do you need to find your own extra sources? 


Trinity-supported tools:  

The VLE Journal tool is accessible through Blackboard
Google Sites is accessible via myzone

External tools (unsupported by Trinity):  


Keeping a reflective journal   

This student resource from the University of Edinburgh provides some tips on how to write reflective journal entries which help to chart the development of your learning journey. 

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