I often use KWL charts at the start of a new unit to assess both what the students already know and what they want to learn. As I prepare our next health unit, I decided to use the journal module in Moodle rather than have them write their KWL on paper.
To my surprise, I seemed to get longer responses from them than I usually get on paper. This is especially surprising because the students who are not in my communications class have not spent much time keyboarding this year so their typing is a bit laborious. For most students, the spelling was highly inaccurate and a number of words were left out completely-- a sure sign that they aren't rereading what they write. I know that is typical of children, but I wish I had ideas on how to get them to reread-- ideas that do not involve lower grades or some other punishment. Ultimately, I don't want them to edit their work to get a good grade; I want them to edit their work because poor mechanics make it more difficult for their readers to understand the writer's message.
Using the journal module worked well because it is private- students can only see their own entry, no one else's, and because I can read all of the responses from one page rather than needing to click on each message as I must do in a forum or assignment module. I wonder what module I should have used so that they could add their "What I learned" section after the unit; journals only allow one entry from the student.