Using Wikis as Learning Journals
Developing academic writing
Project lead
Julia presents an excellent case study in how Blackboard wikis were used as learning journals for students, each student had their own wiki page and could all access each others wiki page. Students enjoyed this method of online writing and as one student mentioned there was ‘ for creativity in writing’ & ‘The knowledge that I’ve gained was massive, I liked that I had an opinion about everything and that the whole class became involved’…
Read more here the case study in full
Both Julia and Christine Boydell present their case study download_smallJournals-and-blogs
Julia Reeve
Department of Fine and Applied Art
Faculty of Art, Design & Humanities


• To overcome barriers to academic writing among students studying within highly practical, specialist design principles,
• To utilise the VLE in creating interactive and creative spaces for learning
• To develop inclusive learning and teaching strategies for Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS)
• To develop CCS assignments that address the needs of diverse learning groups by combining both accessible and challenging characteristics
To name just a few:
  • The learning journal format was seen as less intimidating assignment than an essay.
  • Students found that writing every week prevented the ‘last minute panic’ of an essay hand in at the end of term (helping them to manage their time better) and that learning could be developed gradually in their writing.
  • Students enjoyed the visual aspect of the learning journal.
  • The learning journal online format meant that it was easy to access, review and refine work.
  • The more informal learning journal format gave more freedom to write and was lees restrictive than a conventional essay.
  • Students, including those with dyslexia, found the learning journal a less stressful assignment than a formal essay.
  • Students found writing the learning journal more relaxed, and similar to writing a blog.
    Some quotes from evaluation

Overall, the feedback suggests that the Learning Journal assignment has been successful in addressing key areas of concern relating to attendance at, and engagement with, CCS sessions. The assignment has also clearly helped to address anxieties relating to academic writing among students.

CCS staff have found the level of interest and engagement with topics during teaching sessions to be high. This, coupled with student feedback, suggests that some ‘deep’ learning has taken place. However, in many cases, the final Learning Journal document did not support this view and suggest that students had engaged with the topics in a fairly superficial and subjective way.

Future Developments
The assignment will definitely continue to be used within the FSHN1200 module going forward (although with modifications), and could be transferred to other Art & Design specialisms.

ELT Case Studies
DMU Staff
If you would like to have your eLearning practices captured and disseminated in a similar case study, please contact your Faculty ELT Project Officer