Reflection Tools

Many Blackboard tools support collaboration and guided reflection. Below we provide five examples together with notes about how each may be employed in a SL/CE course. These are just a sample; many other tools exist both within and outside Blackboard. Best practice suggests we include a variety of reflection strategies in each course regardless of the service or reflection models employed.  

Assignment + Annotate

For private reflection, shared only with you as instructor, a simple assignment works well. Blackboard Annotate allows instructors to respond to student work directly on their submission for many types of documents.

Video demonstration of Blackboard Annotate


Blackboard's equivalent of ZOOM for video conferencing and screen sharing, Collaborate enables synchronous (real-time) discussions and can be used to simulate a face-to-face class meeting and break-out discussions during large meetings. The option to chat on a side bar adds nuance and encourages less extroverted students to participate. Community partners from can be invited to join and students can have small group discussions with or without the instructor.

Discussion Board

When we want students to build collaborative conversations, the discussion board may be the most appropriate tool. Providing students with clear guidelines for appropriate online interaction may enhance the conversations your students share in this environment.

Bb Tip: Discussion Forums

OneNote Class Notebook

For collaborative work on shared projects, products or presentations and more, Bb enables creation of a Microsoft OneNote notebook for your class. An outstanding feature of this tool is that participants can work collaboratively on a document (or set of documents) at the same time or on their own time. A dangerous point is that work is not backed-up, so that if one student deletes another's work, that work is lost without hope of recovery.


Change up the guided reflection style with VoiceThread. Students can contribute to type, talk, or add video to discussions, enhancing their sense of being part of a community which heightens both involvement and investment. This tool can also be used to simulate blogs and v-blogs.


For public reflection that is more like a monologue with comments than a discussion, consider Wikis.

Wikis allow students to share, post and discuss photos, news articles and resources collected and created over a semester of service-learning. Students can post upcoming events at their agencies, share their experiences at their community agency, etc. Wikis give the opportunity for anyone in the community to contribute, including professors and community partners.

See also our Refection Models and Reflection Techniques pages