Reflective Journals


Reflection is an internal dialogue facilitated by writing and creative strategies as a way of expressing, sharing, assessing and developing professional experience. Knowing what to reflect upon is as critical a part of the educative process as the reflection action itself, and is a pedagogical approach that draws in reflective practice and reflexivity - finding strategies to question attitudes, values and limits of personal knowledge.

Digital reflective journals are part of a pedagogically enriched learning design within online or technology-rich context to support and improve learning experiences. A reflective journal is also especially useful for assessing intended learning outcomes relating to the application of content knowledge, professional judgement and reflection on past decisions and problem solving, with a view to improving them. Reflective thinking also helps students develop a questioning attitude and new perspective; identify areas for change and improvement; respond effectively to challenges; and generalise and apply what they have learned from one situation to other situations.

This strategy has strong links to Student ePortfolios.


A digital reflective journal written as a blog provides students with the freedom to engage with content, ideas, discoveries, disappointments, or to simply ponder their learning. Online learning journals should be open and shared spaces, ready for enjoyment as well as providing an opportunity for students to demonstrate functioning knowledge. Part of the engagement is being able to share with others in the cohort, as a participatory learning experience, and to make use of (or learn how to) leverage the affordances of online platforms to better engage with content or leverage available resources to communicate thoughts, discoveries, academic reflections, and multimedia artefacts. Students are also able to demonstrate learning through multimodal additions to the online reflective journal. A reflective journal provides a flexible and responsive way to share the joy of learning!

In Practice


INF530 Concepts and Practices in a Digital Age

Teaching Staff

Judy O’Connell, June Wall


This keystone subject establishes the reflective journal process for use within the subject, but more particularly within the whole course. Students are encouraged to extend themselves by peer responses to their work, and are motivated to explore and embrace the affordances of the online environment to explore their knowledge and share their experiences.


CSU ThinkSpace provided the ideal vehicle for transforming learning experiences through the use of a reflective journal. Using a CSU username and password students are introduced to a platform that has full flexibility for customisation to reflect personal preferences and provide a touch of motivation. Importantly this is also linked to a range of formative steps supported by the academic in building knowledge and understanding: Key topics for reflection; Peer-to-peer responses; Teacher feedback; Literacy and communication; and Celebration of learning achievements.

Feedback from students provides an insight into how this strategy was received:

“I found the blogging aspect really helpful to make connections and illustrate my learning to myself and others.”

“HAVING to create a professional blog - helpful for me to clarify and reflect on my learning throughout this subject; and great to be able to share my classmates learning via their blogs too.”

A simple Google Doc embedded in the Interact2 site creates a space for students to provide their CSU ThinkSpace link and Twitter details so students can interact with each other in an asynchronous manner.


INF532 Knowledge Networking For Educators

Teaching Staff

Julie Lindsay


This subject examines the educational practices of connected learning environments within distributed networks of people and institutions, including schools, information organisations and online communities. Students are actively encouraged and supported to:

  • Maintain a blog to document reflections and evaluations of connected learning experiences with posts demonstrating the affordances of blogs such as tags, categories, embeds etc.
  • Complete a network literacy evaluative report drawing upon blog posts throughout the session to document how your practice-based and experiential learning activities helped you meet the learning objectives of this subject


Every student has a ThinkSpace blog. Each subject they complete is added as a ‘category’ on the blog which then helps to filter posts. Therefore for INF532 it is expected students write a series of blog posts throughout the session. These are then used in the final assignment Network literacy evaluative report’, which is also posted as a blog post in two parts - 1) A 900 word evaluative statement using previous blog posts as evidence of meeting the learning objectives; 2) A 900 word reflective statement on development as a connected educator and implications as a connected leader.

You can view some of the student’s ‘Network literacy evaluative reports’ here (may need CSU login to access):

Screenshot of students work


In looking for opportunities to develop and offer students an opportunity to engage in reflective journaling there are a range of considerations that need to be made:


Typical tools used for reflective journals within the Interact2 platform are PebblePad and the Interact2 blog.

The CSU ThinkSpace platform provides a real-world tool (WordPress) where students can customise their site using themes and embed content, hyperlink as well as comment and co-comment on other student’s work.

Additional Resources

Bull, G., Thompson, A., Searson, M., Garafalo, J., Park, J., Young, C., et al, (2008). Connecting informal and formal learning experiences in the age of participatory media. Contemporary issues in technology and teacher education, 8(2), 100-107.

Cho, M. H., & Kim, B. J. (2013). Students’ self-regulation for interaction with others in online learning environments. The Internet and Higher Education, 17, 69-75.

Garrison, D.R. (2015). Thinking collaboratively: Learning in a community of enquiry. London: Taylor & Francis.