Journal activity editor

Ryan Richins
  • Agilix team member
  • Updated:

Journals are assigned writing exercises that only the authoring student, the teacher, and the student's parent or other observer can access.

Add this activity to your course.

With the activity editor:

  1. Use the Filter by group icon to make and/or review activity settings that apply only to specific groups.
  2. Preview the activity.
  3. Save changes.
  4. Depending on the type of activity you're editing, the Activity Editor can include up to four tabbed screens:
    • Use the Activity screen to add/edit basic content that, information, and metadata about an activity that is visible/accessible to the students (e.g., activity titles, thumbnail images, introductory content, instructions, attachments students need to complete the activity).
    • Use the Settings screen to configure the way you want the activity to work for the students (e.g., gradebook settings, objective mastery and badge details, visibility, access).
    • The Questions screen only appears for Assessment and Practice Question (formerly Homework) activity types. Use it to create and manage questions.
    • The History screen only appears when changes have been made to an activity since its creation. Use it to review changes and restore previous versions of the activity's content.

Some cards in the Activity Editors are collapsed by default; to expand them, click the arrows.

Activity tab

Use the Activity tab to:

  1. Provide the Title.
  2. Provide a Thumbnail image to represent the activity by clicking the plus sign next to the thumbnail.
    • Recommended file type: PNG or JPG (Buzz converts all files into PNGs.)
    • Ideal size: 400px x 400px (Buzz automatically resizes images, so uploading images smaller than 400px x 400px may reduce quality.)
  1. Create descriptive Content about the activity using the rich text editor. This content always appears at the top of the activity.
  2. Click Add Activity Instructions to open a rich text editor to create instructions. Students can access this content by clicking a pencil icon at the top of the activity.
  3. Click Add attachment to provide files for students to review before starting the activity.

Settings tab

Activity settings

If you choose to set a Due date (not available for continuous courses), you can specify:

  1. The Due date and time.
  2. Whether you want to Allow late submissions, and, if so, what the Late rule and Grace period rules are.

Gradebook and submission

If you choose to make the activity Gradable, you can specify:

  1. The activity's numeric Weight in category; this number defines how much impact this activity's grade has on the final grade, relative to the other gradable activities in the same category. (Weight in category is not available in courses using Multi-Outcome Scoring.)
  2. The desired Score entry type (Points, Rubric, Percent (%), or Letter grade):
    • If you choose Rubric, click Add rubric to define it (not available for all assessments).
    • If you choose Letter grade, a field appears where you can select the desired Grade scale.
  3. The Grading category you want the activity to be a part of. Grading Categories allow you to apply different grade settings to groups of activities within the same course.
  4. The grading Period you want the activity to be a part of. Separate grading Periods allow you to divide grades by date range without building additional courses in Buzz.
  5. Whether you want the activity to be considered Extra credit.

In Multi-Outcome Scoring courses, Gradebook and submission allows you to align activities with Scoring objectives and requires you to use Points as the Score entry. Assign the desired number of Pts possible for each objective that you want aligned.

Objective mastery

Visibility and access

With Visibility and access settings, you can choose to:  

  1. Make the activity Visible to:
    • Students, teachers and observers: This is the default setting for activities intended for students to complete.
    • Teachers and observers: This setting works well for Lesson Guide materials that observers like parents, mentors, etc. need access to. A map icon appears next to these activities in the Activities pages for teachers and observers.
    • Teachers only: This setting works well for Lesson Guide materials that only teachers need. A map icon appears next to these activities in the teacher Activities page.
  2. Check the Hide from student's table of contents and to-do list box. Note that it is still accessible with course links and bookmarks unless otherwise restricted.
  3. Check the Block access until student completes other activity box, click Choose Activity, and select the activity or activities that you want to make access dependent on.
  4. Check the Block access until student masters objective(s) box, click Choose Objective, and select the objective(s) you want to make access dependent on.
  5. Check the Block access until a specified date box and enter the desired date and time.
  6. Check the Student must enter a password box and enter the desired Password. Students must enter this password only once to access the activity.


Click Choose Badge to select one or more badges that you want automatically awarded to students who successfully complete this activity.

Learn more:


Admins can create custom Metadata fields for activities in their domain. This content is only visible to teachers, course authors, etc. and provides further insight into an activity, such as:

  • An activity Description for course authors.
  • An idea of how this activity fits into the goal of the course or the Big Picture.
  • Essential Questions that should be answered by the activity or that students should keep in mind as they complete it.
  • Any relevant Vocabulary.
  • Associated Resources.

Some of the fields under Metadata ask for content that, if set up by your system admin, can be used to make an activity searchable in the Digital Library. Contact your system admin to find out if there are fields in your domain that can be used this way.

Advanced gradebook options

Manage Advanced gradebook options, like:

  1. Whether you want to Hide returned scores until a certain date, and, if so, providing the Score visibility date and time.
  2. Defining the minimum Passing score (%).
  3. Settings the Minimum points possible.
  4. Whether:
    • The assessment's Score can be dropped from calculated course score (unavailable if the activity is marked as Extra Credit in Gradebook and submission).
    • To Include this activity's score in the final grade calculation.
    • To Require a passing score for course credit.
    • To Treat as zero in gradebook until this activity is scored (unavailable if the activity is marked as Extra Credit in Gradebook and submission).  

Advanced activity options

Manage Advanced activity options, like:

  1. Completion requirements. You can set the activity to Mark as completed when the student:
    • Views this activity for a specified time
    • Submits this activity
    • Receives any score
    • Receives a passing score
  2. If the Student must complete this activity before continuing to the next one.
  3. Changing the activity's folder Location using the dropdown.
  4. Giving the activity a new Activity ID in the field.

History tab

The History tab records changes made to the activity and allows you to retrieve previous versions:

  1. Click the version you want to restore.
  2. Preview the content.
  3. Click Restore.

Buzz does not itemize changes to all settings, but does track them. Users can access them by clicking the Details link that appears at the bottom of the history table.

Comments (5)

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Varshini G

Hi Ryan,

Once Journal is made a gradable activity, the teacher can provide feedback via the gradebook. But we are unable to find the teacher feedback using the gradebook or on the student account. Is there a way to find the previous teacher feedback to the previous posts?

Also is there any other internal messaging tool (besides the mail feature or the discussion board) where the teacher student conversation is private? 


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Varshini G

P.S: Teacher can comment directly from the "Activities" of the course. Making it gradable is helping us to make sure the teacher is made aware of the journal post. Is there any way the teacher could reply/Comment from the Grade Editor? (without using the feedback option?)


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Bethany Walker

As I am designing a new course in Buzz, I really want to use this feature to dialog back and forth with a student about what they are reading on their own, but it doesn't seem like the older posts are readily available for the teacher to see when grading the journal.  In my rubric, I am asking the student to make sure they answer any questions in the previous response from me, but I don't see an easy way to go back and see what I wrote without opening the previous assignment. 

The journal set-up appears to work like a block with the months and links on the side of the assignment, but clicking on them doesn't seem to take me to the previous assignment.  Is there a way to do that?

Thank you for your attention.


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Bethany Walker

Sorry--that was a typo in the last paragraph.  "Like a blog" is what I meant.


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Brian Williams
  • Agilix team member

Hello Bethany!


It will show in the item grader each time a student creates a new initial post. It will not show in the item grader comments the student makes replying to a post. The teacher will need to review the comments made in the activity. A teacher will need to open the activity to review their own Journal posts to students. 

Varshini G, 


For a student to see feedback given by the teacher, they may go to their student gradebook and select the item. Within the gradebook details is a field for feedback that will show feedback if the teacher has provided any. 

The communication tool will be your best method for confidential forms of communication within the system. Discussion board posts are not confidential unless the user is in a group by themselves.   

Teachers will need to open the activity to post replies to student comments or engage in conversations. 

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