What's the best way to collect a progress journal from my students?

We have many instructors who need their students to keep notes and a record of their thoughts as they progress through their course, with this learning diary to then be submitted for assessment.

Here's a few suggestions of ways that can be handled using Thinkific:

  • Have students record their notes into a document on Dropbox or Google Drive, that they then share with you as the instructor.
  • For a more structured progress assessment, create a survey.
  • For students to submit their notes for peer assessment by their fellow students, try out our discussions feature.

If you have any questions, or if you're loving a way that you've found for handling progress diaries for your course, let us know below!

2 people have this question

Hi there, 

is it possible to structure the discussions feature into sections? I can see from the setup that it says "(course name)/general". Does it mean that it's possible to have other sections apart from "general"? That would be great for my purpose!

Hi Thanh-Thu,

That's not possible at this point in time, but that's a great idea! You're able to go here to send that idea directly to our product team for consideration:



Hi Catherine,
I would like students to do written exercises during the course and be able to refer back to their answers later in the course. I've set up the exercise as a series of survey questions with' free text' answers. However, when I go to view the course as a student, I don't see any way to retrieve the survey questions and answers.

Is there a way for students to retrieve them easily?
Is there a better way to create a written exercise module?

Thanks much!

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Hi Jennifer!

Happy to help.

Surveys are more intended for gathering private feedback/info from your students - i.e. they won't see their answers once submitted.

For more of an exercise-type lesson I'd consider creating a worksheet as a fillable PDF, included within the course as a PDF or as a download. They could then submit that to you via Dropbox/Google Drive, as mentioned above.



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Thanks Catherine!

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I have the same need - as a coach I need people to be able to self reflect. Is there a way to automatically email them the result of their open questions from the survey? Where does that information go by the way? 

I really like thinkific and was almost certain to get your professional account but because I don't find a good way to do self-reflection I might move to another platform - learning is all about thinking, not just passive viewing!!!!

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Hi Brigitte,

Right now, the results of surveys are accessible to you as the site admin but not to students.

If that's something that you need, then you can go here to submit a request directly to our product team for future consideration!

For the meantime, I'm sure we can find a solution that works for you. For example, if you create your survey using Typeform then you can set that up so users will be emailed their responses. Typeform surveys can be embedded directly in your course using the multimedia lesson type. More on Typeform here.

If you have any questions about this at all and would prefer to chat directly, feel free to reach out to us at



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HI Thanh-Thu,  Jennifer & Brigitte,

Would a solution be to ask your students to use Evernote or OneNote? The students could give you access to a shared notebook for the course and you could supply a template with the topics, chapters, assignments to start them off. 

Hope this helps


Great idea, Olive! Thanks so much for the suggestion :)

Hi Catherine,

No problem, glad to help. By the way both Evernote and OneNote have free web versions that students could sign up for. However, I think a lot of people will already have accounts with one or the other. If anyone needs help with setting up a template, I would be happy to help.



Thanks so much for the ideas everyone. I solved by simply asking students to keep a personal journal to record their answers and reflections. I don't need to see their answers, so I think this worked well for what I am doing.


Just about to start a trial of a 7-day coaching programme for a client. She needs them to answer a few quick questions each day, and to record these somewhere they can both see and comment on them privately. This is being used for lead generation, so never sure how many people could sign up at any time for this free "taster" series.

We're creating and sharing Evernote notebooks with the people who sign up for the programme, with reminder emails sent out to them each morning via Drip.

I'm new to Thinkific. Looks a great platform. Would be even better if we could handle the filling in, sharing and commenting on survey responses with our students.

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Hi Ian,

Absolutely hear you on that one - if you'd like to submit your request directly to our Product team, please go here to do that:

I'm loving this idea of Evernote, by the way! I'm going to look into writing an article specifically about Evernote :)



Catherine, with the fillable PDF do I just add it to the course as a pdf download, they then save to their computer, fill in the fields and have to send it back to me another way (dropbox)?  or, can they complete the fillable pdf in the course and it stays in there with the fields completed.


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