This may be less a template and more of a guide. It is not important how you record your journal (electronic, pen, pencil, quill and ink, scribe and clay tablet or hieroglyphics) only that is is recorded and submitted as evidence in support of your reflection report. (Photographs of your hieroglyphics are fine, maybe with a translation guide...).
Daily journals are used to record work and activities completed, successes, challenges and anything else of note. This should take less than five to ten minutes at the end of a day and offers an opportunity to reflect on the days events.
The final reflective report can then draw upon this contemporary account of the work experience as a resource.
Example Bullet Journal
A daily journal may look like this. This is mine for three days, yours will be different and meaningful for you as its author.
- Monday 6th Mar
- Meeting with Masters students to discuss work experience opportunities for them in T1.
- Sorted 23 incoming emails, mostly from enrolling students in ENGR *91 courses.
- Met with two students to discuss challenges they face in the *91 courses
- Read a research paper "Towards secure and dependable software-defined networks"
- Tuesday 7th Mar
- 46 incoming emails, again mostly from enrolling students. Most resolved, some took a while.
- Missed emailing *91 classes that no lecture this week or next. Emailed late in the day and then had to sit outside lecture theatre to catch those that showed up. Silly mistake, but some good chats resulted.
- Updating *91 web pages.
Note these are mostly a collection of bullet point observations that would aid in recalling the days events later.
- Wednesday 8th Mar --- Firefighting most of the day
- another 42 emails, most relating to enrolling students. All resolved plus those left from yesterday.
- resolved two interesting student enrolments
- ENGR 491 class email group still has class members from last year - resolved
- A meeting on research findings around the topic "what is industry is looking for in Vic IT graduates."
- Day seemed a little less frantic towards the end.
- Read research paper "FRESCO: Modular Composable Security Services for Software-Defined Networks"
Why are Journals Useful?
From a work integrated learning perspective (WIL), research has demonstrated that reflecting on the days events is a powerful way of learning from the wins and hiccups the day has generated. This is referred to as reflection during the work experience and it facilitates you being able to take corrective action as you go if things are not working out as desired.
From a professional perspective, in your careers you will be making fast paced decisions based on the knowledge you have available. Journals can be used to capture these decisions in case they are questioned later in the face of changing circumstances. The reality is that after a few days, you will not be able to recall all the factors that contributed to a decision. If one of those factors changes three weeks later and the client discovers the problem six months after that, your contemporary notes may make the difference between repairing your bad code for free or it being seen as good code and this is a new job your business can charge for.
As interns we do not expect your journals to be used in this second way, but this activity is good practise if you find yourself in a position where making daily notes might be wise.