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Reflection Through Journaling

The role of reflective journaling in experiential learning has been shown to be an effective learning tool (Evans & Mori, 2005), and interactive journaling is a foundational activity for practicum students. Thornton Moore (2010) and Eyler (2009) assert that reflection is necessary in order to create connections between classroom learning and skills gained through experiential learning. Use of an electronic journal feature (e.g., in Blackboard) allows students to record and reflect on their experiences and provides access to the university supervisor for one-on-one conversation and the ability to provide frequent feedback. The option of using an online journal allows college students to record their experiences in a familiar format—electronically. Instructor access to each student’s on-line journal allows for conversation, fairly immediate feedback, and the ability to assess student growth, an important practice for effective experiential learning (Eyler, 2009). In addition, using on-line journaling provides students the opportunity to practice professional communication skills as they interact with the university supervisor (Mirrer, 2010).

High-Impact Elements

On-line journaling allows for frequent performance feedback, a high-impact practice. Using the Blackboard journal option, faculty can read student journals often, and the software allows for written feedback as well as back-and-forth communication. The on-line journals provide the date and time of entry, so as faculty read journal entries, it is evident whether students are recording and reflecting on their experiences in a timely manner.

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