Creating and releasing private journals for groups

Thought I’d report on a fairly typical situation I cam across this morning that requires a bit of a work around to get the tools within the VLE to do exactly what you want. While we haven’t come up within anything particularly new or clever, it does illustrate how getting the workflow and process right can be essential to ensuring the the tools can work in the way that you need.

Scenario: An academic wants his students to complete a weekly journal on their group activities. The journals are to be private between the student and the academic, and to make life easier for  when reading and giving feedback, the academic wants journal entries from a group to be clustered together.

Considerations: The group tool allows you to release a journal to each group, though journal posts are not private and can be accessed by other members of the group. The journal tool can be set up to be “private” so a student can only see their own entries though this will not separate students into their individual groups, making the feedback process more cumbersome as the academic.

Solution: The solution we came up with involves creating groups of students in the VLE which can then be used to restrict access to a number of private journals so that each group can only see one private journal each.

Please see below for the steps in detail:

Create Group SetCreate group set

  • Within your module site choose Control Panel – Users and groups – Groups
  • Choose Create Group Set > Manual Enrol
  • Choose and Name for the set and then set the following parametres
  • Group Available > NO
  • Tool Availability > Set all to off
  • Number of Groups > 10 (or choose appropriate number of groups)
  • Groups can be renamed on the following screen, ensure you make a note of the exact name of all groups for the next step.

Batch Allocate Groups toolEnrol students into groups

In Microsoft Excel, create a Spreadsheet with the student username in the first column and the exact name of the group you want to add the student to in the second column (make sure there are no additional spaces in the group name). Save the Spreadsheet as a .csv file

  • Control Panel > Course Tools > UoY Batch Allocate Groups
  • Click Allocate by CSV File Upload
  • Click Choose File to locate the .csv file you created earlier and then click Submit
  • You will get a report on how successful this operation was, highlighting any group allocation that fails (typically this is because usernames or group names do not correspond with those in the VLE site or the columns are in the wrong order within the spreadsheet you created in the first step).

See full guide on using the Batch Allocate Group tool for more details.

Create a private learning journal for each group

  • Go to a Content area of the VLE where you want students to access the group journals and choose Tools > Journals
  • Click Create a New Journal
  • Give your journal a Name, corresponding to the group name that you want to be able to access the journal, provide any Instructions for your students which will be visible when they enter the journal, and then click Submit (make sure you do NOT select Permit Course Users to View Journal if you want the Journals to be private between individual students and instructors)
  • On the next screen, select the journal from the list of available Journals, and click Next
  • Enter any text that you want the students to see before they enter the journal into the Text box and then click Submit.
  • Repeat this process to create a private learning journal for each group.

See full guide on creating journals

Restrict the private journals to the groups

  • Within the content area containing the journals, click on the drop down arrow next to the journal and choose Adaptive Release
  • In the Membership section, select the group you want to be able to see the journal from the Items to Select list and use the arrow button to move the group to the Selected Items list.
  • Click Submit

See full guide on using Adaptive Release to restrict access to content

addGroups

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