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Activity 1.3: The Collection of Student Journals
The timely collection of journals helps students complete the assignment and
gives them valuable feedback. Some instructors like to do so weekly, others
every two, three, or four weeks. Any longer seems to defeat the purpose of the
journal as a feedback mechanism on students’ engagement in and understanding of the course. Also, students are more prone to procrastinate if allowed longer periods between reviews, which defeats another purpose: to have students write a lot and write often to gain proficiency.
Regardless of the time frame adopted,
Let students know how many journal entries are due.
Collect the journals.
Review their entries.
Do not mark grammar or mechanics.
Check off and/or respond to each entry.
On the Table of Contents, make overview comments and give a tentative grade
range (C to B-, B+ to A-, etc.) based on their content and their meeting requirements.
Mark down the grade range for your records.
Hand the papers back.
Visit each student quickly, in class, to answer questions and give praise.
On subsequent submissions,
Again, let students know how many journal entries are due.
Require that they turn in the entire journal each time.
Have them add new entries after the old.
Have them place a new Table of Contents on top of the old.
Review comments and reactions to first entries before beginning the
Look for improvements based on previous suggestions.
Respond as on earlier reviews.
Students should get a good idea of why they are getting the grade range indicated. If
they want to raise it, stress all they need to do is to reflect on your comments
and to make improvements. Again, they control their grade as long as
their journals meet requirements and have the content in word count average
and in the minimum entries required.
Anticipating Student Responses
These students understand but are challenged by the following macro assignment
Multiple journal entries over 14 weeks responding to texts, images, and
The use of different creative approaches to respond to these texts
The Table of Contents
They may also be challenged by the following micro assignment concepts:
What each of the twenty suggestions mean
The requirements for each journal entry: pagination, name of the text responded
to, author, type of response, title of their response, word minimums, etc.
The requirements for the Table of Contents: pagination, the name of text
responded to, author, type of response, title of their response, sections,
minimum response requirements, etc.
They seem more confused by the micro concepts than the A students.
"C" Students and Below
They can be more confused by both macro and micro concepts.
Some find the responsibility and scope of assignment daunting.
Some have never worked on so large a communication project before and need direction
to learn the discipline, organization, and confidence needed to finish it.
To make sure that no journal writer is left behind, follow the steps outlined
in Activities 1.1 and 1.2. Although time consuming, they help ground
students and are of value to all levels of students:
multi-levels of support and guidance
If possible, develop a web-based copy of assignment, requirements, examples,
and models of student work.
If not web-based, use ample handouts.
Lead an extended class discussion of the assignment.
Organize group work as noted in Activity 1.1.
Follow-up with an in-class journal response exercise as noted in Activity
Collect student work at regular intervals.
If Activities 1.1 and 1.2 do not give students confidence, collect work:
Weekly at first
Every two weeks, then three
Slowly allow students to become more responsible for their work and
to need less and less observation.
Use class time for group work.
Show creative as well as prose examples in class to acknowledge and
model good work or effort.
If students are reading and interpreting, reflecting, thinking of appropriate
and/or creative ways to respond, writing, and confidently turning in their
work, they are meeting objectives. Our goals are multiple and outlined earlier, but we should see improved writing
in students’ other course work and students who are more confident, creative, and adept at written communication.