Blogs, wikis and journals are social media tools used in courses to provide students with options for reflecting, critical thinking or peer instruction. Instructors who used these tools in Blackboard will need to make some modifications to their course design when moving to Canvas.


While Canvas does not have blogs, wikis, or journal tools specifically, it does include some features of each of them that can be created through workarounds to get similar results.


Blogs

In a college classroom, a blog can be used as a learning tool for increasing participation, deepening learning, and developing personal connections. By nature, blogs are often visible to other students in the class, with commenting features, to support interactive learning between students. 


Canvas does not include a tool specifically for blogging, however, depending on the purpose of the blogging assignment, the blogging assignment can be recreated in Canvas. 


  • If your blogging assignment is designed for communicating between students, the discussion tool may be utilized to meet some of the same learning goals.  
  • If your blogging assignment is designed for reflection, then the assignment tool may be utilized to meet your learning goals.


This guide from Northwestern University also provides step-by-step instructions for using a combination of the group + discussion tools to replicate a blogging assignment: http://lmsblog.it.northwestern.edu/2014/12/02/student-blog-and-journal/.



Wikis

A wiki is collaborative tool for editing a single document. In instruction, wikis can be used for group writing assignments, or projects, or simply to allow multiple authors to craft a page. This page, https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/wikis/, explains more about using wikis as an instructional tool for creating and evaluating. 


Canvas does not have a tool specifically called "wiki", however, each page is able to be edited by multiple authors when designated by the instructor. To create a wiki for your class, follow these instructions to create a new page in Canvas. Then, change the settings on the page to allow "anyone" to edit. One important feature to note is that the Canvas Pages tool does not track participation and contribution statistics like the Blackboard Wiki tool did, which may affect grading policies.


This guide from Northwestern University provides step-by-step instructions on pages 3 & 4 for creating and using wiki pages in Canvas: http://lmsblog.it.northwestern.edu/2014/12/02/student-blog-and-journal/


Journals

In a college classroom, journals serve as a private form of reflection between an instructor and student about their learning experience. Journal assignments that are compiled for a period in the course can demonstrate learning progress, as well as changes in attitudes, opinions and learning.


Canvas does not include a tool called "journal", but many of the instructional principles of journaling can be reproduced using the Assignment tool. To use the Assignment tool to distribute a journal assignment to students, create an assignment in Canvas and choose submission type to be online and the appropriate entry option.

  • A text only entry will require students to write their entry in the Canvas textbox.
  • A website URL will allow students to post a link to a journal that is posted outside of the Canvas course.
  • A media recording will allow students to add a video or audio file as their journal submission.
  • A file upload entry will allow students to attach a word file to the submission.


The final step of adapting the assignment tool to replicate a journal tool is on the students end. Canvas naturally allows students to resubmit assignments as long as the assignment dates allow it to be available. For a journal assignment, this feature will allow students to submit new entries each week (or whatever the journaling requirement is for your class). Students choose "re-submit assignment" button to add a new entry:

The instructor will see each submission in the speedgrader listed by date. With this method, one grade for the complete journal will be created. Additionally, instructors could create one assignment for each journal entry.


The drawback to this method is that students do not see a list of contributions that they can easily read through. If you would like students to be able to reflect on their learning, consider having students use an on going Word file that can be submitted periodically throughout the semester.