My motivation is to get rid of the last few kicking about in my jurisdiction but I can't help thinking it's a sensible idea anyway.
I'm happy to make this happen - any objections?
In my ignorance I thought that online assignments did everything Journal did and more.
Of course, Journal is not actively developed so there is no roles support for example.
If Journal were simply removed, I would worry even more than I do now about the future of Workshop.
Michael is there a feature request for the missing feature that you could direct is to for voting?
I had a quick look at Journal after posting (for the features which are not in online text assignment as I couldn't recall any significant differences). What a trip down memory lane!
Edit: Saw you subsequent post. Yes, if it has stuff missing let's get it flagged up in the tracker.
I think the issue is not so much the functionality, but less tangible things like the feel of the tool. The journal is really simple to set up and to use and teachers are used to it. Also, the online assignment is listed as an assignment which creates a different mindset in students than a learning diary.
It is comparable to the difficulty we have had convincing/forcing teachers to give up the Returnfolder module (a very simple third party file upload tool) and use the Database module instead. The database may represent the same functionality and more, but it is therefore a lot more complex to set up. It was only with the preset option that the database could satisfactorily replace the Returnfolder (although I still have problems creating a preset that works).
If it is decided to "can" the journal, then a replacement tool will be needed, as well as a conversion app so that previous courses don't have to be re-designed, which would be a huge hassle.
Couldn't we renew Journal in a brand new concept that could be something between an assignment and a timestamped blog.
When 9 came to Moodle four years ago, I found the idea of collecting a student input that could be completed from time to time was a nice feature. Wiki overfills that simple object, and online assignment underfills it also, as it should be written when (or little before) submitting.
We have no real information peace that could record exactly what a "journal" is, in its sociology meaning (field journal) or scientific world : lab journal. (just as a "log").
If it is dropped back to third party, I could apply to propose such a renewal.
We too have a load of Journals and we find them very useful. However, I have never heard anybody complain about using Online Assignments instead. The issue that Journals where going to disappear one day has always been a low level hassle.
I suppose I want to give the matter a prod and sort it out for once and for all. Please - not another Dialogue Module
I'm sure I must be missing something wonderful about the inline writing assignment, but I don't understand how it is meant to replace the journal. Has anyone done a side by side comparison?
Thanks for your comments. However, could you tell me specifically what it is about the online assignment that you don't like and/or what it is about the Journal that you prefer?
I'd really appreciate it if somebody who is attached to Journal can spell out the issues then we can look at them objectively.
I would love to find that the online assignment can behave just like the journal. But if that's the case, I'd still be left wondering why change the name? A paper journal allows for an ongoing and developing dialog between a teacher and a student. Moodle's journal module does the same. This is a fine thing. What's gained by confusing nomenclature?
There seems to be an underlying thread that Journal does stuff that "Online Text Assignments" do not.
Are we all talking about the same thing? Because, I really don't understand. I can't see anything in the Assignment that isn't in Journal PLUS the Assignment has loads more features if you need them, handles long lists of submissions much more nicely, understands roles, and isn't full of bugs.
If I'm not seeing something obvious can somebody *please* explain?
Journal is a core component that many use regularly, feel comfortable with and that through its name is non threatening to many students. Its name also underpins what many of us encourage our students to maintain - and that is not only in an electronic form, but also paperbased. The realtionships need to reamin if we are to continue sound pedagogy.
What would happen Howard if it were announced that the US $ was going to be repalced with the Euro as the currency of choice for the US in competing in the world marketplace? Would you accept that change willingly?
Like the US $, the Journal is a core component in Moodle and it is up to Martin and the crew to ensure that core components are maintained. If there is a sound fundamental reason why it should be removed, then fine, but the resons have to be sound, valid and supported by the majority of Moodle users.
All core components of Moodle should be the responsibility of Moodle.org to maintain, as I belive core components form the foundation of Moodle.
Do we discard the US $ in world currency as it slips futrther away from being the benchmark currency? I think not - neither should we discard the Journal in Moodle, because some people desire the online assignment - no matter what you call, an assignment is threatening to any student, it does not encourage reflection like a Journal does.
Anyone like to add further comment
The question now is: who is going to maintain the Journal module? If nobody volunteers now and shows a real commitment we should IMO not wait any longer and remove it from main cvs.
My personal opinion is that we should keep Journal and replace $ with €
I hereby give up.... one for the man with the beard I think
Oh.... and can we have Dialogue back please
So the underlying problem is actually what it is *called* not what its *functionality* is?
I understand Petr's concern about the maintaining of the code, but people don't find the way. In one go, I throw in the discussion that I hope the glossary won't be replaced by the database for the same reason.
1. Should there be separate code for the journal module and assignment module, that has to be maintained separately? The developers answer No, with sound reasons.
2. In the user interface, should a learning Journal appear as just another type of assignment. The teachers answer No, with sound reasons.
However, these two answers are not necessarily incompatible. We developers just need to find a way to clean up the code behind the scenes, while giving teachers a Journal with the features they want.
The remainder of the problem seems simply to be the implications of it being an "assignment", I do understand that, but you have free reign as to what you call your activity and you can always fiddle with the language pack.
We must really stop thinking from a developer point of view and really look at things from the end-user's point of view - after all, we can have all the functionality in the world, with really cool code, but if people don't want to use it (for whatever reason) - it won't get used.
Why do we have to do away with it at all? Is there a sound reason (other than it is not being maintained - which is a big problem, I guess) or is it just not cool anymore?
Just my 2c worth.
From my non-developer/teacher's perspective...PLEASE keep something that resembles the Journal (even if you disguise the Online Text Assignment as a Journal block--great suggestion!).
Tim Hunt wrote and I agree:
However, these two answers are not necessarily incompatible. We developers just need to find a way to clean up the code behind the scenes, while giving teachers a Journal with the features they want.
It is an exciting challenge to work with teachers who are using Moodle with students. The more intuitive set-up is for the them, the more these great features will be used. Journal and Assignment have different meanings to teachers. As do ReturnSomething-or-other and Database (obviously will have to do more self-study to learn about these). In other words, anything you can do to lower barriers to entry for teachers, the better. Thanks!
I'm still not sure how the interface should work. If someone works that out it would be trivial to add, I'm sure.
What about adding a new method to the assigment_bass class to give the particular assignment type to give a course wide report when "Assignment" is clicked in the Activities block. This would be checked for in mod/assignment/index.php and the output displayed (I'm not sure if it should just do it, or provide a link for each type wanting to do this)
In the case of the Online Text type, it would do much the same as Journal did when clicked in the Activity block.
IMO, blog is a solid all-rounder in terms promoting meaningful communication & collaboration in various contexts > globally, site-wide, within a course, group or even drafted to oneself! From 1.9+, blog hooks nicely into tags, too!
Journal is a neat activity & i can see its value for educators wanting their students to document learning in a course context. I understand why people suggest that Journal could become another assignment type (like online text). Is this desirable, feasible?
If Journal requires continued maintenance & there aren't developers prepared to maintain it, realistically it shouldn't be part of core beyond 1.9.
Just my 2CW
History lesson: when Online text assignments came out all Journals where upgraded to assignments and Journal hidden. However (for reasons I don't recall) Journal was left in core hidden by default.
Of course, it won't go any further than contrib so it can be readily put back. It's unmaintained anyway.
The only difference I really see is in the size of the feedback box.
To me, you get the same thing as a Journal if you don't put an end date and you allow a student to edit their submission - but guess what, in both Journal and in an online assignment set up this way, a student can change what they said after they've gotten a grade!
I guess the whole reason I ever implemented Journals after they were phased out was because I had an instructor ask what happened to them, and I saw that it was still available. With a small amount of research, it sounded like they were a little different. But looking at it now, they are not.
Here's the difference I would make if I could - make a Journal assignment type that will allow multiple submissions - but instead of allowing the student to overwrite what they've previously entered, they get a new form and the teacher gets a new grade and feedback form.
Oh, wait! That sounds like something we could do in a forum with a few changes in the roles....
or in general
or not shouldn't be a matter of developer or user opinion. It is demonstrably true or false. Just list the use cases of Journal and map them onto the proposed replacement. If the equality holds, document the mapped cases for users (so they can cope with the replacement) and kill Journal.
It's funny seeing all this retro-support for Journal. All I remember is people being confused by it and others wanting all the nice grading features that Online Assignment now has.
Yess... at least it's not like "Aiken format", when I said "let's take it out because nobody uses it" and nobody said a thing.... until I took it out
Hi Martin, great idea! A feature that would show the student a page with all of their online assignments (and the feedback from the teacher) would be a wonderful addition to the assignment! This would really facilitate the student seeing their growth through the course by looking at the progression and construction of their knowledge in these online assignments.
Regardless of how the journal discussion progresses, could this feature be added to the online assignment?
It's still right at the top of my todo list, but I won't get back around to it for a week or so.
Having just spend a year incrementally introducing Moodle at a K-12 girls' school, and the previous week doing virtually nothing else besides Moodle training for faculty so that they might work on their classes in Moodle during the summer break, I am pressed to bring up the high value of the Journal Module in its present incarnation to K-12 schools.
Being able to respond to all of the Journal entries from a class on one screen is a real benefit the Journal has over the online writing assignment. But even if someone were to come up with a lovely way to add that to the Assignment module, there would still be another significant problem with subsuming the Journal into the Assignment. Nomenclature matters!
As a Grade 10 literature teacher who successfully used the Journal all year explained, "a journal is different from an assignment. It may be a type of assignment, but it is a type that evokes the easy sharing of thoughts, and a certain intimacy rather than the formality of of anything termed straight up "an assignment." This teacher was dejected when I explained that our Moodle Partner host said they might soon be unwilling to address my questions about the Journal's behavior (those backslashes) in that it is no longer supported. She uses the Online Assignment too, but sees the latter as a more formal and specific "Assignment," not a Journal.
I can see where "Lecture Feedback" certainly has its place and applaud its good designers. However most K-12 schools do not need a to use Moodle to track whether students are in their seats for a lecture.
What they do need is for Moodle to stay true to its constructivist roots, something the Journal module does uniquely well. To continue a back and forth discussion between student and teacher on the nature of a child's developing thinking on a school topic is a wonderful thing. Why end this excellent practice?
In this week's training sessions, my science teachers focussed particularly on the Journal Module for classes where a student's developing thinking about her indendent research is a great thing. These teachers don't want to carry two dozen paper journals around for reading and response. They do want their students to keep a journal for all the good reasons associated with that practice, and the teachers want to read and respond to those journals digitally.They want to see when the entries were made, they want to get through a group of those responses on one screen, quickly and efficiently.
My teachers and I don't want to give students a writing assignment when we mean to encourage them to write in journals. We do give writing assignments, but those assignments are a more formal type of writing, with different expectations and intentions, than those associated with Journal writing.
Please, please keep the Journal module and please don't turn it into a attendance taker.
If what's needed is a capable programmer to care and tend to the Journal, shouldn't an all points bulletin go out, rather than an axe fall?
Thank you for your consideration.
The functionality is so similar that it doesn't seem to make sense to me to keep the two running in parallel. I would rather put the effort into Assignment to keep the Journal users happy. To this end I'm happy to hear (and address) and suggestions or feedback.
Is there a better solution for those who use both?
For what its worth, If we had our fantasy Journal, it would include a time/date stamp and prior posted entries would not be editable.
On a regular basis it would be possible for the teacher to respond to all current student entries on one screen.
At any point during the term (most useful at the end), the teacher could page through each of an individual student's entries to see the sweep and arc of the thinking.
Obviously it is a shame if no-ones developing the module though. Couldn't it appear as a separate activity module, but pull functions from the assignment? (The only problem I can foresee would be if someone deleted the assignment and kept the journal, so maybe common functions should be kept in the lib directory).
Of course, Assignment isn't Workshop. Part of me thinks that a lot of this resistance is due to never having even looked at or considered the alternatives. I would be surprised if many people had *real* problems with Assignment if one day Journal was not there.
From a tutor perspective: they select "Journal" from the add activity dropdown and get a tool that does journal stuff (definition nice and loose there)
What actually happens in the system:
An instance of the online/Inline assignment activity is initiated with all the settings that make it a 'journal' ticked/set by default so it acts like a journal from the start.
This would retire the old journal activity, make use of the online assignment activity, give the perception that journal and assignment are different beasts to the users. And the whole lot could be sold to existing users of the old journal that its an upgrade/improvement/honest its not something completely different.
There would probably need to be some sort of db migration for us admins to smooth the process along (or I have to migrate 82 journals!)
Is this the musings of a made dreamer or a possible way forward?
Just as an aside I have a few tutors using the advanced upload assignment as a journal as students can scrawl text and upload files/screen captures etc. They like this as it has the added value of the uploads, which online /inline text doesn't.
So to add to the above, I'd ideally have two journal links, the second pointing to a preset advanced upload activity....
On a related note, is the Moodle team committed to structuring the different assignment types as de facto separate activities? Not being able to switch between an Offline activity and Upload Files, or Simple and Advanced uploading ,for example is a major headache.
I get around that problem by editing the database directly (changing one or two fields that act as flags for assignment type), allowing me to change existing simple assignments into advanced assignments. I've done it enough times with no unwanted side-effects that I am sure it can be programmed safely into the user interface in php.
scenario 2: simple upload assignments are created long ago and now we want to allow students to add notes about what they are uploading or re-uploading
note: because we do continuous enrollment, we cannot simply erase an activity and re-create it without losing marks for students not yet finished ... and having to manually recreate those marks in the new activity
is there some conversion code (or sql snippets) that we can use to convert journals to assignments on the fly and not have to re-enter the gradebooks?
Notice of a Possible Bug with Migrated Journals in Grader Report 1.9:
Has anyone else noticed that journal activities show up without marks in gradebook 1.9 ? I mean after migrating to 1.9, i can see the marks in the individual journal activities but they are blank (and not used in aggregate calculations) in the grader report
It appears to me that the marks must be stored in two separate and independent places because I can add marks for journals via GRADER REPORT but it does change anything in mod/journal/report.php
and vice versa
Also, entering new marks via mod/journal/report.php does not appear in GRADER REPORT
If this is confirmed, it may mean that the journal activity is currently unusable as a contributor to aggregate marks in moodle 1.9
I'm not remotely surprised that Journal does not work with the new grades - please do remember that it has no development work done on it (another reason to move).
Here's how I read and evaluate my students' work:
I first go to the complete assignment and choose "View # submitted assignments." Then I right click on the the first student's "Grade" link to create a new tab. I get a new page with two versions of my student's work. In the first box, I usually Command-A it and start typing my comments. When I'm done, I choose "Save and show next." It usually saves quickly, and I'm on to the next one. To tell you the truth, I don't miss the Journal at all.
1. go into moodle source code and locate the folder: mod/assignment/type/online/db
2. make a copy of either mysql.php or postgresql.php into migrate_journals.php (depending on the database program you use) ... this will be the script that will do the conversions. It is a library file which contains one function called assignment_type_online_upgrade
3. modify migrate_journals.php in three ways:
3a. add a relative call to config.php at the very top
3b. we need to define $oldversion to be some number less than 2005042900 (this "fake" requirement is probably what caused the reported failures of this script reported in tracker and this forum)
3c. add a call to assignment_type_online_upgrade at the very bottom with a value less than 2005042900
4. just to make sure everything gets converted, you could do the following SQL statements directly into your database before and after item 5:
4a. select count(*) from mdl_journal;
4b. select count(*) from mdl_assignment;
4c. select count(*) from mdl_journal_entries;
4d. select count(*) from mdl_assignment_submissions;
5. call migrate_journals.php from your browser
6. check if your journals have converted to assignments
voila! I love opensource
p.s. I uploaded what the finished file looks like. If you use it, it is completely at your own peril. Make backups first!. If you still want to use it, It is intended to be placed at the root folder of moodle source code.
for the record, here is the sql snippet that saved the day
update mdl_journal_entries j join mdl_assignment_submissions a on (text=data1 and a.userid=j.userid and submissioncomment ='' and a.timemarked=j.timemarked and a.teacher=j.teacher and a.grade =j.rating) set submissioncomment=text where text <>'' ;
note: I did not check the 14,000 entries individually to make 100% sure they copied correctly into the right slot.
From an educational point of view there is a big difference between Blogs, Assignments and Journals, so having them under different names helps you to cue the students:
- Blogs are private diaries, shouted to the world like Bridget Jones
- Assignments are the core actiivities of a course, the deliverables, the core activities: all the other activities, including the content of the blocks, are supporting this core..
- Journal is for reflection: writing privat notes while you think about your course, with the option to get a comment from a real professor: this fits in the tradition of the notebooks in science, arts and architecture tradition: "Be like da Vinci, make your own notebook"
I was hoping for the students to be able to regularly (~weekly) write about their experiences and progress in an ongoing manner, to see how this progresses over time. I was planning to look at the journals once every few weeks to provide some feedback. But from what I understand of online assignments, each submission from the student will be a separate entity, therefore not allowing for an ongoing narrative, nor my contributing feedback to groups of entries (I would have to grade each submission separately). This is both impractical for our situation, and lessens the experience for the student. Am I missing a portion of the functionality of the online assignments? I appreciate whatever guidance you can offer.
Your assessment of what the primary difference between the Journal and the Online Assignment is correct as far as I can tell. The journal does an excellent job of maintaining an ongoing discussion between student and teacher and, just like a paper journal, makes it easy to follow the development of an idea over time.
With the online assignment, there is no option for an ongoing dialog. You are foced to keep recreating a new assignment over and over, and to see development of an idea, you will need to open each assignment individually -- an awkward and unweildly task, by comparison.
Currently, as I understand it, it is not possible to include journal grades in the gradebook. In 2.0, the journal wil be absent altogether which, to my mind and the minds of several other teachers at my school, is an unfortunate loss.
I do not understand the thinking behind abandoning the journal, which continues to function in a stable fashion.
I'm hoping your message will encourage a developer response on the thinkig behind the planned demise of the journal assignment.
Howard has been correct in pointing out that what you call a thing does not necessarily change what it does. Perhaps what is needed is simply some additional docs addressing the usage questions. I know I have used wikis for providing journal prompts and others have used other activities to do likewise.
What I tried to explain, and apologies if I was not clear, is that the online assignment does NOT provide an ongoing discussion beyond two to three exchanges. I contrasted that with the journal, which provides an unlimited exchange between teacher and student.
I am also confused by your reference to the forum discussion. The diffference there, which has seemed clear, is that a forum discussion is exactly that -- a forum -- not a private dialogue between teacher and student. The point that has been made by others in this dialogue, several times, is that the online assignment can do everything the journal can, not that other activities might provide lesser experiences than the one the journal currently does.
If the online assignment is meant to have unlimited back and forths between student and teacher, as the journal does, that would be great. If the online assignment has been "broken" for the last several versions of Moodle and will be fixed in 2.0, that would be helpful to know. If so, the only pertinent question remaining would be--for those of us using both the Journal and the Online assignment, for the different functions they each serve in their current iterations, will it be possible to use both names in 2.0?
Thank you for your thoughts.
Don't know if you're still reading this thread, but something I've found successful as a workaround to loss of Journal is setting up a Forum with "separate groups." If you then set up a course-wide group for each student, with each student as a member of his/her own group, the students will only see their own posts and your replies in that Forum. You can carry on a threaded conversation with each student from one location in this way.
(This was not my discovery, and I'm actually looking for the original post with this idea so I can credit it properly -- if anyone knows where it is, please reply!)
One drawback, however: in a "separate groups" Forum, you cannot post prompts to which all students can reply. If you post a prompt before entering a group in the Forum (via the dropdown at top left), students can read your prompts but not reply to them. You must enter a group, then post your prompt, then enter the next group, etc., if you want students to reply to your prompts. A workaround for this: post your prompt and ask the students to copy its subject for their reply.
Another potential drawback: grades for the Forum are cumulative, and show up in the gradebook as an average grade for the entire Forum rather than individual entries. However, appropriate gradebook weighting of the Forum grade should take care of this.
If you name the Forum "Journal," students will get the picture.
Has anyone found other suggestions/workarounds?
In the settings for the Online Text Assignment you can allow resubmissions and select inline comments. I think this will take care of your issue with an ongoing journal.
Please test and let me know if you find the behavior to be different.
What version of Moodle do you have, Lisa? We are on version 1.9.2 and were able to successfully go back and forth for 4 times between teacher and student. Here is what we did in the Online Text Assignment:
- We did not assign a grade between submissions.
- Prevent late submissions was set to No.
- Allow resubmitting was set to Yes.
- The correspondence between teacher and student was done on the same day.
Has anyone else experienced the same thing Lisa has?