This semester I am using the approach in a graduate course with 12 students. Here is how I do it in Moodle -- it's not perfect, but maybe you have some more ideas:
- Set up online-text assignment for each reflective writing.
- The reflective writing directives I followed state one shouldn't even use backspace or correct any typos (it's supposed to be totally free thought). For this reason, I didn't think PDF would be a good way to go. The online-text capture is ideal.
- Because of typos and the nature of free-form writing, I abandoned the word-cloud idea. I'm not sure it adds pedagogical value and would be too much work to filter out the noise.
- I annotate the writings using the feedback form in the assignment grading. Annotations are in a new paragraph (just after the part I'm annotating) using the Pre-formatted style so it looks different. It would be nice if there was a "Feedback" paragraph style that had a different color (or styles that had some semantic meaning in a grading context). Can these be customized/enabled?
- As for grading, it's simple. I give either full credit or a 0 if someone does just a summary of the text (with no personal reflection such as relationship to material seen in other courses or real-world experience). After the first week (and a few 0s), everyone got the idea.
- Each student gets an annotated feedback, and I copy/paste the interesting annotations (anonymously) in a "summary" forum entry.
Annotating can take a long time if I'm not disciplined. The trap is to respond to interesting thoughts that get outside the scope of the reading/course and that are not wrong interpretations or misconceptions that need correcting. Many assignments get full credit with no feedback, which seems insincere (although some students admitted they don't read my feedback anyway).
Right now I don't think this will scale to 40 students/course, although I must say it's a great way to get to know my students quickly.