Journals

Journals
THE UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH
Journals
Mahara Help Materials
Compiled by the Web Services Team
[email protected]
VERSION
DATE
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1.0
18/07/2014
Initial upload
JH
KA
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Using Mahara for reflection
Mahara provides a platform for reflective learning. The Journal is the key tool for promoting reflective
learning for students. A “Journal” is an online diary that students can use to record their thoughts,
ideas, plans and experiences. It enables students to reflect on progression, projects, assignments and
skills.
The guidance given to students in the Personal Development Planner on reflective learning opens with
the following description:
“Reflective learning emphasises that learning derives from our experiences and can
be constantly updated through the process of recording and thinking about the
experiences we have. A very important aspect of reflective learning is that it is a
process in which we can learn about ourselves. Higher education and graduate
employment place high value on the skill of being a reflective learner. This means that
students can critically evaluate their learning and identify areas that require further
development thus becoming independent students.”
You can encourage students to use the Journals within Mahara as a tool for reflective learning.
The basic structure for reflective writing is based on Kolb’s Learning Cycle, where students are required
to describe, question, evaluate and plan.
We recommend that students select “Enable Multiple Journals” in their settings when starting to use
Mahara. This way they can set up as many journals as they wish. To do this:
1. Click the “Settings” link in the top-right corner of the Dashboard page.
2. In the “Settings” tab, tick the “Enable multiple Journals” box and click the “Save” button.
Note: There are two parts to Mahara – Content and Portfolio. The “Content” area is where users create
content, such as Journals, CVs and Plans. All content created remains private to the user until they
decide to share it. The “Portfolio” area is for presenting and sharing content.
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Create a new journal
A ‘Journal’ is essentially an online diary that you can use to record your thoughts, ideas, plans and
experiences. Unlike a Blog, your Journals and Journal entries are visible only to you, but you can
share an entire Journal or specific entries later in a Page.
Click on the “Journals” tab, and you’ll see that Mahara has already created a Journal for you. If
you’ve updated your settings you can create as many Journals as you like. It may be a good idea to
create a Journal for each project or main task you undertake. At the very least you should create
separate Journals for personal, professional and academic activity, so that it’s easier to reuse
relevant entries.
Figure 1
To create a new Journal, see Figure 1.
1. Click the “Create Journal” button in the top-right corner of the “Journals” section.
2. Type a “Title” for your Journal along with, optionally, a “description”.
3. Type some key words which apply to your Journal in the “Tags” area, separated by
commas.
4. Click the “Create Journal” button. Your new Journal now appears in the “Journals” section.
You can use a Journal to reflect on a particular process. This could form part of an assessment, but
you’ll soon get used to reflecting on your learning or aspects of your professional life in general.
Put simply, a reflection is an analysis of your previous actions, to aid future improvement.
A good example would be how you dealt with a problem, what happened as a result and what
you’d do differently next time. It’s a good idea to reflect little and often, so that it doesn’t become
a daunting task. Try not to be too descriptive; your reflection should be about how you dealt with
a particular situation, not just a description of what happened.
As with all other features of Mahara, you can choose which parts of your Journal to share (an
entire Journal, individual Journal entries or a number of recent or tagged entries), so you can be as
personal and subjective as you like in your writing. Creating a Journal entry is similar to writing an
email or forum entry.
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Enable multiple journals
We recommend that students select “Enable Multiple Journals” in their settings when starting to use
Mahara. This way they can set up as many journals as they wish. To do this:
1. Click the “Settings” link in the top-right corner of the Dashboard page.
2. In the “Settings” tab, tick the “Enable multiple Journals” box and click the “Save” button.
Create a new journal entry
Users can add as many entries to a Journal as they wish. To
create a new Journal entry:
1. Click on the “New entry” link to the right of your
Journal title.
2. Give your entry a “Title”.
3. Type the text of your entry in the “Body”. You can
also insert an image but you have to know the exact
URL, so it’s easier to add it as an attachment (step 5).
4. Add any relevant ‘tags’ for your entry.
If you’ve already created some tags, you can click the
“Show my tags” link to view and select existing tags.
5. If necessary, attach one or more files by clicking the
“Add a file” button, then either:
a. Select an existing file from your files area or
b. Tick the disclaimer check-box and then
browse for a file on your computer.
6. If you need to save changes but haven’t finished
writing, tick the “Draft” check box. This will ensure
that the entry is only visible to you, even if you’ve
shared the entire Journal.
7. Un-tick the “Allow comments” check box if you
don’t want viewers to be able to comment on this specific entry. This can be overridden
later if left ticked.
Note: Students must “Publish” a journal entry before it can be shared and viewed by others. Even
when “Publish” is selected, the Journal remains private until added to a Page and shared.
University of Greenwich Mahara help: http://www.gre.ac.uk/offices/ils/cis/guides/mahara-help
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