The way I have always imagined Blackboard, in a metaphorical sense, is that Blackboard is like a closet filled with attractive, well organized, clothes (the individual items of clothing are features that Blackboard offers). Courses, in this metaphor, would be akin to the day to day outfit that one puts on from the closet. Depending on the course, or day's needs, you might want to put on a different set of fashionable threads. Running? Sure, the closet has running clothes. Going to a wedding? No problem, suits are all the way to the right, against the wall. Going to work? Yup, we have khakis and pencil skirts ready for morning coffee at the office. The point is, Blackboard is exceptionally versatile, and once you know how to use all of its features properly, you can get some really snazzy outfits out of the closet (if you catch my drift).
Today, let's talk about one of those awesome looking shirts in the back of the closet that you rarely wear, but when you do, you feel stunning.
Each class has various assignments and assessments. Many courses are now incorporating discussion boards into their Blackboard experience to encourage students to discuss, acknowledge, and evaluate the performance and thinking of their peers. Along this line, is a tool that is available called Journals. When a teacher wants to track the progress, mentality, and focus of a student over a long period of time, that's where journals come in. Sure, journal's might be on the periphery of assignments, but sometimes it is peripheral information that can be the most important for contextual purposes. Where a quiz might test a student if they know something, a journal might explain why they do not know the information and how they are coming to grips with their grasps for knowledge.
As for the layout of Blackboard Journals, a few things have changed from previous versions to the most current version, and I wanted to take some time to clear up any confusion. In the past there used to be a section at the top of the Journal feature that would give a description about the journal, and now the description is in the top right corner in an area that says, "About this Journal." You click the drop down chevron and the description of the journal will appear clear as a bell in a nice visual way so you have a lot of space to type without your thoughts being interrupted.