Journal Tool

A journal within a Blackboard course is a collection of individual student postings, which may only be viewed by the student and the instructor. Like a blog, a journal is a tool for self-reflection with the added benefit of being private by default. In our Blackboard environment, a journal is a variation of the blog activity. Creating a single journal activity creates an individual journal for each user in the course at once. However, Journals can be made public by the instructor so that all enrolled users can read all entries made to the Journal assignment.

An instructor can also choose to create group journals, where the entries are private between instructor and group members.

Adding a Journal to a Content Area

Quick Start Instructions

To Add a Journal Activity to Your Blackboard Course

  1. Click on a Content Area in the Course Menu to the left of the page.
  2. Navigate to the appropriate location within that area where the journal is to be added.
  3. From the Add Interactive Tool tab, select Journal. The Create Link:Journal screen will be displayed.
    Note: If Journal is not an option within the drop down menu, it will be necessary to activate it under Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability. Simply check the box under Available in Content Area and click [Submit].

    Journal Create Screen

  4. Click on the [Create New Journal] button. The Create Journal screen will be displayed.

    create journal screen

  5. Enter a name for the journal in the Name field.
  6. Provide instructions for journal assignment in the Instructions field. Instructions can be posted as plain text, or a combination of text and audio/video.

    journal settings page

  7. If the journal will be available for the term move to item 8, else:
    • Enter a date and time in the Display After date and time fields if the journal should be hidden from students until a specific date
    • Enter a date and time in the Display Until date and time fields if the journal should be hidden from students after a specific date
  8. Adjust the journal settings by clicking on one or more of the radio buttons to the left of the following:
  • Index Entries - system default is to index entries by month. For short terms you may want to consider changing the index to weekly.
  • Allow Users to Edit and Delete Entries - Click on the check box to the left of the entry to allow students to modify content posted to their journals. Caution: We recommend that this option not be set for graded journals, because student can change entries after a grade has been assigned.
  • Allow Users to Delete Comments - Click on the check box to the left of the entry to allow students to delete comments posted to their journals.
  • Permit Course Users to View Journals - Click on the check box to the left of the entry to open private journals to all class members for viewing.
    Journal grade setting options
  1. If the journal will not be graded skip down to step 10. To create a graded journal click on the radio button to the left of "Grade: Points possible" text and enter the point possible in the field. The "needs grading" status field will be displayed.
  2. This option will be available in a future Blackboard update.
  3. Click the [Submit] button to save the journal settings.


  • Click Here to access a PDF version of the quick start instructions.
Adding the Journal to the Course Menu

As with the blogs to make the Journal you have created easily accessable to your students you may need to add a Course menu item with the name of the journal or or journal area. To do this:

  1. Assure that Editing Mode is turned on in the course.
  2. Click on the [+] button at the top of course menu, and then click Create Tool Link in the dropdown window. The Add Tool Link dialog box will be displayed.
  3. Enter the name of the blog or blog group in the Name field.
  4. Click on the dropdown arrow to the right of the Type field and select Journals from the dropdown menu.
  5. Click the check box to the left of the Available to Users entry.
  6. Click the [Submit] button to create the new menu item.

The Journal entry will appear at the bottom of the course menu. You can drag it to which ever point in the list you require using the up-down arrow icon on the button.