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Using Journals, Blogs and Wikis

What's the difference?

Journals are a personal space for students to communicate privately with the instructor.

Blogs - a shorthand term that means Web logs, are personal, group or course online journals that are frequently updated and intended for consumption by all course members.  In Blackboard Learn, only enrolled users can view and author blogs.

Wikis allow multiple students to share and collaborate on one or more pages of content.  Wikis are also available only to registered members of the course.


Students can use journals as a self-reflective tool to post their opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or discuss and analyze course related materials. 

Journals are ideal for individual projects - the owner of each journal creates entries and the instructor can add comments.  The student can also comment on his or her entries to continue the conversation with the instructor.

Journals can be used as a graded assignment or ungraded to gather opinions and information.

Instructors can create one or more journals for use by students in their courses. Journal topics must be created before students can add their entries.

Using Journals (Blackboard online documentation) 
Grading Journals


In Blackboard Learn, Blogs consist of two elements:

Blog entries: Text, images, links, multimedia, Mashups, and attachments added by Course members open for comments.
Comments: Remarks or responses to Blog entries made by other Course members, including the Instructor.

An Instructor can choose to allow students to participate in Blogs in three ways:

  • Course Blogs: Only the Instructor can create a Course Blog and determines the topic to be addressed. All Course members can add Blog entries and add comments to Blog entries.
  • Individual Blogs: Only the Instructor can create a Blog for individual Course members to use. Only the owner of the Blog is able to add Blog entries. All other Course members can view and add comments.
  • Group Blogs: If the Instructor enables the Blogs tool for the Group, all Group members can add Blog entries and make comments on Blog entries, building upon one another. Any Course member can view Group Blogs, but can only add comments. A Group Blog is different from a threaded discussion as each entry does not need to continue the discussion of the previous entry, but can be a complete thought on its own.

The Instructor can edit and delete entries in any of the three Blog types and delete user comments.

Using Blogs
Grading Blogs


Course wikis are created by instructors. Instructors can create one or more wikis for all course members to contribute to and wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate.  Wikis can also be used to record information and serve as a repository for course information and knowledge. In this case, the instructor would to be the sole author.

Instructors can view all changes to all pages in the wiki. You can view changes at a high level and then drill down to retrieve information about the development and contributions for any individual.

You choose whether to assign grades to student contributions to a wiki. After a wiki is set to be graded, a grade column is created automatically in the Grade Center. Individual student and group contributions then can be graded inside the Wikis tool, where all pages and edits can be referenced as the grade is determined.

An assigned grade can also be edited from inside the Wikis tool and the Grade Center is updated. Grades for wikis are changed, deleted, reverted, and overridden just like other grades in the Grade Center. Students can view their wiki grades in the My Grades tool.

Using Wikis
Grading Wikis