LMS journals tool guide

The journals tool in your LMS provides you with a personal space for reflective writing. You can use the journals tool to post your opinion, analysis and understanding of your subject topics, learning materials, readings and discussions. Reflective writing can enable you to identify your process of learning thereby helping a better understanding of your subject, enhancing the value of your learning and promoting self-ownership of learning.

In addition, you can use the journals tool to take notes on your readings and learning materials or you can add links to useful informative files and media in your journal entries that can help you in completing your final assessment.

You can refer to this guide for instructions on how to use the journals tool. Alternatively, click a link on the left menu for instructions on that function within the tool.

To view and print a copy of this guide, click Download (PDF)

Access the journals tool

You can access the journals tool from your subject's navigation menu. Your instructor can also include links for the journals tool in the content area for weekly learning materials and topic packs.

  1. To access the Journals page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Journals link. The Journals page lists all the journals that your instructor created for you to populate with entries. The journals are listed in alphabetical order of their names.
  2. To access a journal, on the Journals page, from the list of journals, click a journal name. This displays a page with the journal name as the page title. This page is divided into two sections: the content area and the sidebar. Your instructor may provide some tips or guidelines on how you can effectively reflect on a topic. If provided, the tips and guidelines are available to you under Journal Instructions. The sidebar includes the Index section that lists all your journal entry titles for the current week or month depending on the settings your instructor selects when creating the journal. The title for the most recent journal entry appears first in the Index section. The content area of the page displays the content of all your journal entries.Image of the journals page with highlights for the clickable areas

Create a journal entry

You can create a journal entry within a topic to express your views and understanding of that topic, to identify challenges within the topic, or to simply take notes on key readings for that topic. If you are taking notes, you may want to open the Journals page in a new tab so that you can read the suggested materials and take notes side by side.

You can use keyboard shortcuts or key combinations to toggle between open tabs in your browser. Windows users press Ctrl +Tab keys to switch between tabs and Mac users press Command + Option + right arrow keys together to switch between tabs.

Let us now look at the steps to create a journal entry:

  1. To open the Journals page in a new tab, on your subject's navigation menu, right-click the Journals link and then, on the right-menu, click Open in new tab. If you are not taking notes and don't want to open the page in a new tab, click the Journals link. The links to the Journals tool may also be available within your weekly learning materials and topic packs depending on how your instructor made it available.
  2. To access a journal for which you want to create an entry, on the Journals page, click the journal name. This displays a page with the selected journal name as page title.
  3. To hide journal instructions, on the journal name page, click the up-arrow to the right of Journal Instructions.
  4. To collapse the side bar and expand the content area, on the Journal Details title bar, click the right-arrow at the end of the bar.
  5. To access the Create Journal Entry page, on the journal name page, on the action bar, click Create Journal Entry. The action bar is the dark blue bar below the journal name.Image of the journal topic page with highlights for the options discussed above
  6. To specify a title for your journal entry, on the Create Journal Entry page, in the Journal Entry Information section, in the Title box, type the title you want to use.
  7. To write your journal entry, in the Journal Entry Information section, click the text area in the Entry Message box and then, type the content for your entry.
  8. To view the text area in full screen mode, in the upper-right corner of the Entry Message box, click the Full Screen icon. This can prove more handy when taking notes or writing your reflections. You can use the content editor functions to format your content.
  9. To view all the content editor functions that are available to you, in the upper-right corner of the Entry Message box, click the Show More function represented by two down arrows.
  10. To attach files to your entry, in the Journal Entry Files section, click Browse My Computer, navigate to the location of the file, select the file and then, click Open.
  11. To attach files from the content collection, in the Journal Entry Files section, click Browse Content Collection, navigate to the location of the file or reading, select the file and then, click Submit. The files you select and submit appear in the Journal Entry Files section under Attached files. If you decide not to attach a file and want to remove the file before you post your entry, click the Do not attach option corresponding to the file.
  12. To post your entry, on the Create Journal Entry page, click Post Entry. After you post your entry, the attached files appear in your entry as links with the caption Attached files:. When you click a link, the corresponding attached file is displayed. Use the browser back control to close the file and return to your journal entry.
    OR
    To save your entry as draft for later posting, on the Create Journal Entry page, click Save Entry as Draft. This displays a success message and the View Drafts page that lists the title of the entry you saved as a draft. To return to your Journal topic page, in the bottom-right corner of the View Drafts page, click OK.

    Note that the Post Entry, Save Entry as Draft and Cancel options are available at the top and bottom of the Create Journal Entry page for ease of use.Image of the Create Journal Entry page with highlights for all useful options on the page

Access draft journal entries

The journal entries that you save as draft are not visible in the content area of the Journal topic page. You can access them through the View Drafts page. Let us look at the steps you can use to access your draft posts:

  1. To access the Journals page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Journals link. If your instructor makes the Journals tool links available, you can also access the Journals page from content areas for your weekly learning materials and topic packs.
  2. To access the journal that includes your draft entry, on the Journals page, click the journal name in which you created the draft entry.
  3. To access the View Drafts page, on the journal name page, on the action bar, click View Drafts. The action bar is the dark blue bar below the journal name.
  4. To edit and post your draft, on the View Drafts page, click the title of your draft entry, on the Edit Journal Entry page, make the necessary changes to your entry and then, click Post Entry.

You can add links to files within your journal entry. Adding links can help you create a single source for all your reference materials on a topic. The reference materials could include key readings suggested for a topic, videos from subject matter experts or collaborate sessions, research papers and articles, online journals etc.

The content editor functions in the Journals tool of your LMS allow you to link files located on your computer, content collection, library catalogue, or an online source. The file types that you can link include DOC, DOCX, EXE, HTML, HTM, PDF, PPT, PPTX, PPS, PPSX, TXT, WPD, XLS, XLSX, and ZIP.

Let us now look at the procedure to add links within your journal entries:

  1. To access the Journals page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Journals link. You can also access this page from your learning material and topic page content through the Journals tool links that your instructor may provide.
  2. To access a journal for which you want to create an entry, on the Journals page, from the list of available journals, click a journal name.
  3. To access the Create Journal Entry page, on the journal name page, on the action bar, click Create Journal Entry. The action bar is the dark blue bar below the journal name.
  4. To view all the content editor functions available to you, on the Create Journal Entry page, in the Journal Entry Information section, in the upper-right corner of the Entry Message box, click the Show More Image for the Show More icon function represented by two down arrows.

Link to a file on your computer


  1. In the Entry Message box, in the third row of the content editor functions, click the Insert File Image for the Insert File iconfunction. This displays the Insert Content Link window.
  2. In the Insert Content Link window, under Select Content Link, click Browse My Computer, navigate to the location of your file, select the file and then, click Open.
  3. In the dialog box under Content Link Options, in the Name of Link to File box, delete the existing filename and type a new name. To delete the existing filename, click the text box and then click the cross sign at the right end of the box. If you want to use the same name for both the file and link, proceed to next step.
  4. To complete the process and add the link, in the Insert Content Link window, click the blue Submit button. The link appears with the specified file name in the text area of the Entry Message box.

Link to a file within Content Collection


  1. In the Entry Message box, in the third row of the content editor functions, click the Insert File Image for the Insert File iconfunction. This displays the Insert Content Link window.
  2. In the Insert Content Link window, under Select Content Link, click Browse Content Collection, navigate to the location of your file, select the file and then, click Submit. To confirm your selection, in the Message from webpage box, click OK.
  3. Next, in the dialog box under Content Link Options, in the Name of Link to File box, delete the existing filename and type a new name. To delete the existing filename, click the text box and then click the cross sign at the right end of the box. If you want to use the same name for both the file and link, proceed to next step.
  4. To complete the process and add the link, in the Insert Content Link window, click the blue Submit button. The link appears with the specified file name in the text area of the Entry Message box.

Link to an online file


This could include your key reading articles, collaborate videos, online journals, research papers etc. The procedure to add a link to any online file is the same. For the ease of understanding and practise, let us consider two examples:

Example 1: Add a link to a collaborate video recording


  1. Open the collaborate recording you want to link in a new tab. To do so, on your subject's navigation menu, right-click the Collaborate link and then, on the right-menu, click Open in a new tab.
  2. In your browser, click the tab for the collaborate page of your LMS and then, on the collaborate page, click the link for the recording you want to link.
  3. On the recording page, in the Video column, click the Play Play button icon button for that recording. This opens the recording in the video format. To add a link to this collaborate video file in your journal entry, you need to copy the URL for the LMS page that displays the recording in the video format. The URL is of the form http://www.myschool.edu.au/ and is available in the address bar of your browser. The address bar is located at the top of your browser page to the left.
  4. In the address bar of your browser, right-click the URL and then, on the right- menu, click Copy.
  5. Next, in your browser, click the tab for the Create Journal Entry page of your LMS and then, in the Entry Message box, in the third row of the content editor functions, click the Insert File Image for the Insert File icon function. This displays the Insert Content Link window.
  6. In the Insert Content Link window, under Select Content Link, click Source URL. Next, right-click the Specify Source URL box and then, on the right-menu, click Paste. To assign a permanent URL to the collaborate recording file, in the Source URL dialog box, click the grey Submit button.
  7. Next, in the dialog box under Content Link Options, in the Name of Link to File box, delete the existing file name and type a new name. To delete the existing file name, click the text box and then click the cross sign at the right end of the box.
  8. To complete the process and add the link, in the Insert Content Link window, click the blue Submit button. The link appears with the specified file name in the text area of the Entry Message box.
    Image of the Insert Content Link window with highlights for the  options discussed above

Example 2: Add a link to an online article


  1. Open a new tab, and access the article you want to link.
  2. In the address bar of your browser, right-click the URL and then, on the right-menu, click Copy. The address bar is located at the top of your browser page to the left. And the URL is of the form http://www.myschool.edu/
  3. Next, in your browser, click the tab for the Create Journal Entry page of your LMS and then, in the Entry Message box, in the third row of the content editor functions, click the Insert File Image for the Insert File icon function. This displays the Insert Content Link window.
  4. In the Insert Content Link window, under Select Content Link, click Source URL. Next, right-click the Specify Source URL box and then, on the right-menu, click Paste. To assign a permanent URL to the online article, in the Source URL dialog box, click the grey Submit button.
  5. Next, in the dialog box under Content Link Options, in the Name of Link to File box, delete the existing filename and type a new name. To delete the existing filename, click the text box and then click the cross sign at the right end of the box.
  6. To complete the process and add the link, in the Insert Content Link window, click the blue Submit button. The link appears with the specified file name in the text area of the Entry Message box.

Embed a video in your journal entry

You may want to embed a You Tube video or any other online video that can be useful as reference, aid in better understanding of your learning content or is somehow related to your subject or topic.

Note: You can use the Copy and Paste options on right-click contextual menu or use keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste a link. If using the right-click contextual menu, right-click the link to select the link and then, on the right-menu, click Copy to copy the link. If using keyboard shortcuts, click the link to select it and then, use the following key combinations to copy or paste the link:

Windows users: To copy, use the keys Ctrl + C and to paste, use the keys Ctrl + V

Mac users: To copy, use the keys Command + C and to paste, use the keys Command + V

Let us now look at the step-by-step procedure to embed a YouTube video in your journal entry:

  1. To access the Journals page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Journals link. You can also access this page from your learning material and topic page content if your instructor included links to the Journals tool in the content.
  2. To access a journal for which you want to create an entry, on the Journals page, from the list of available journals, click a journal name.
  3. To access the Create Journal Entry page, on the journal name page, on the action bar, click Create Journal Entry. The action bar is the dark blue bar below the journal name.
  4. To view all the content editor functions available to you, on the Create Journal Entry page, in the Journal Entry Information section, in the upper-right corner of the Entry Message box, click the Show More function represented by two down arrows.
  5. To link to a YouTube video file, open the YouTube video in a new tab. You may want to pause the video when following the steps to embed the video.
  6. To view the embed code and links that enable video sharing, on the YouTube page, under the video title and publisher's name, click the Share option. Every online video that allows you to re-post or share will include the Share option. So, if you want to embed a video other than a YouTube video, try to locate the Share option. The Share option is generally available at the top right-right corner, bottom, or to the right of the video. Accessing the Share option will display a dialog box that includes the link to the video and an embed code for the video.
  7. To copy the link for the video, in the Share dialog box, right-click the link and then, on the right-menu, click Copy. You will notice that the link for the YouTube video is already selected and begins with https:// For any other online video, you may need to select the link. The best way to identify a link is to look for https://Image with highlights for the Youtube link and Share option
  8. To access the media settings window on your journal entry page, click the tab for the Create Journal Entry page and then, in the Entry Message box, in the third row of the content editor functions, click the Insert/Edit Embedded Media Image for the Insert/Edit Embedded Media icon function. The media settings window includes the General, Advanced and Source tabs.
  9. To define the properties for the video, on the General tab, right-click the File/URL box, click Paste and then, click any area on the tab. You will notice that the dimensions and the type of the video are automatically set. Please note, the original dimensions of the source video are used by default. You can also choose to specify new measurement for the video. You will notice that the Constrain Proportions check box is selected by default. This helps to resize the video without horizontal and vertical distortions if you specify new dimensions for the video.Image of the media settings window
  10. To specify a name for your video, click the Advanced tab and then, in the Name box, specify the name you want to use.
  11. To specify an alignment for the video, on the Advanced tab, click the down arrow for Align and then, from the drop-down menu, select an alignment.
  12. To set an identification code for the video, on the Advanced tab, in the ID box, type the code or number for your video. This is particularly helpful if you intend to use or embed a lot of videos within your subject. You can also embed videos in your blogs and discussion posts and the procedure to do so is the same across all tools in the LMS.
  13. To embed the video in the text area of the Entry Message box, in the bottom-right corner of the window, click Insert. You will notice a yellow patch in the text area of your Entry Message box. The video file will be visible after you post your journal entry.Image showing the Advanced tab in the media settings window with highlights for all the options discussed for this tab

Edit or delete a journal entry

You can edit or delete a journal entry that you created provided your instructor has defined permissions that allow you to do so.  Let us look at the steps to edit or delete a journal entry:

  1. To access the Journals page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Journals link. Alternatively, you can use the Journals tool links within your subject's learning material and topic pack content if your instructor added these links.
  2. To view the journal entry you want to edit, on the Journals page, from the list of available journals, click the journal name that includes the entry.
  3. To access the Edit Journal Entry page, on the page with the Journal name, click the down-arrow to the right of the title of the entry you want to edit, and then on the corresponding contextual menu, click Edit.
  4. To edit your entry, on the Edit Journal Entry page, make the necessary changes to the title or content of your entry.
  5. To delete a link to a file, in the Entry Message box, select the link and then, press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  6. To edit an embedded video, in the Entry Message box, right-click the yellow patch for the video and then, on the right-menu, click Edit Embedded Media. This opens the media settings window. Make the necessary changes to the video properties and then in the bottom-right corner of the window, click Update.
  7. To delete an embedded video, in the Entry Message box, click to select the yellow patch for the video and then, press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  8. To delete an attached file, in the Journal Entry Files section, under Attached Files, click the Mark for removal option for that file.
  9. To re-post the entry after edits, on the Edit Journal Entry page, click Post Entry.
  10. To delete an entry, on the page with the Journal name, click the down-arrow to the right of the title for the entry you want to delete, on the drop-down menu, click Delete and then, in the confirmation message box, click OK.