Activities ::: mod_diary
Maintained by AL Rachels
Diary is a very advanced version of the Journal plugin. The most notable addition is the capability to make multiple entries on multiple days. This can allow students to revise their writing while retaining the original version. The recent addition of statistics and limited auto rating also helps to track revision progress of a students writing.
Latest release:
494 sites
18 fans
Current versions available: 2

The Diary plugin is based off the Journal plugin, but with many more additions and capabilities added. Instead of a single entry, users can start a new entry each calendar day. If enabled, they can go back and edit any previous entry. Also, if enabled, they can edit the date of any entry, which means they can add an entry for previously missed dates. This ALSO means you can make multiple entries for any given day. If, edit dates, is NOT enabled, and a user tries to change the hidden, time created, the attempt will be blocked, an entry put into the logs, and a notice placed in the feedback area for the teacher to see.

There are multiple statistics of character, word, sentence, and paragraph count. Included are unique words, unique one syllable short words, unique two syllable words, and unique three or more syllable words, which will help point out whether the user is using too many small words. In all, there are twenty different statistics that can be shown right after every entry.

Diary uses individual grades for rating each entry, and uses the Moodle Rating system for grades in the Moodle grade book. All the standard rating methods are supported. The user view lists the rating type and the current rating. The teacher report view, also lists the rating type and the current rating for each user, in their entry.

It is possible to select one of these, characters, words, sentences, or paragraphs for automatic rating of the entry. All the teacher needs to do for the automatic rating is click a button to add the results to the entry's feedback, then save all the feedback.

When the teacher goes to the report page to grade entries, just like the Journal plugin, they only see the most recently created entry from each user. This is to help prevent a very long page scroll. Diary also uses Groups to help shorten the page. To help prevent extra scrolling, a save all feedback and return button is included between each entry. Since the v3.1.1 release, on the report page, there is now a link for each student that will let the teacher see all of the entries for the selected student. Each of the entries can be graded and feedback text added. Once the teacher is finished, click Save all feedback will update the data for each entry that was changed. If the teacher does not want to make changes, there is a button to take them back to the regular report page.

At the top of both the view and report pages, their is a tool bar. On the normal view page, the toolbar is hidden until the user makes at least one diary entry and saves it. The download results depends upon the user. A regular user (student) can download only their dairy entries, while teachers gets everyone in the course's entries, and an admin gets all entries for the entire site.

The edit tool (pencil) opens for editing the entry at the top of the view page, and on the report page, it gets the current diary entry for marking.

Each of the directional arrows, sorts the list of entries on the view and report pages. If a teacher has skipped a day or two of grading, they will need to sort for, Lowest rated entries, to get entries they haven't marked yet. Or, even better, use the new link after their name on the report page, Get all Diary entries for this user. The resulting page will allow you to rate and provide feedback for any entry made by the selected user.

If the course format is set to, Weekly, the Days available, setting can be used to control how many days a Diary activity will be available for adding/editing entries. For weekly and any other course format, the Open time and Close time settings can be used to control when a Diary activity is available for adding/editing entries. If a diary activity is not open for adding/editing entries, previously made entries can still be read by the user, and the teacher can still grade entries.


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AL Rachels (Lead maintainer)
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  • Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 12:50 AM
    If it can be done, it would require a significant rewrite and testing of the Diary plugin settings page. No promises, but I will add it to my TODO list of things to try out, but I am currently working on some other items
  • Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 4:48 AM
    I have just created a Diary V3.1.1, but I have to quit for the day right now and do not have time to post it here. It is available on github, for anyone interested. Big new addition to Diary is the capability for the teacher to see a report that lists all the entries for an individual user. The teacher can change the grade and provide feedback to one, some, or all entries from the new page, and the data will all be saved by clicking on Save all feedback.
  • Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 2:26 AM
    Diary V3.1.1 is now available for download.
  • Wazza
    Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 6:03 PM
    When we click on 'view X diary entries' we also see course participants that do not have the role 'student' in the course. Is it possible to show only the users with the role 'student'? We have several site-managers poping up in this list, which is confusing for teachers.
  • Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 1:00 AM
    Hi Richard,
    I thought about excluding everyone but students, but that limits the ways and or people who can use Diary, and then also have someone look at and provide feedback regarding what the user has written. I finally settled on adding group capability, and then set the course to use visible or separate groups. I then place all admins, managers, and teachers into a Management group and all students in some other group or groups. This makes it so the teacher only sees the names and or writing of "management" personnel when they actively chose to look at it.
  • Wed, Jun 16, 2021, 5:20 PM
    My students love the diary activity. However, they are getting error messages with the upgrade to 3.11. I wish I knew how to downgrade but not lose their work.
  • Wed, Jun 16, 2021, 10:32 PM
    Hmm, I was finally able to duplicate being unable to save and have come up with a temporary fix. Edit the Diary activity and in the, Availability, section change the, Edit entry dates, to Yes. This should allow your students to save their work and I will try to come up with a permanent fix ASAP.
  • Sun, Jun 27, 2021, 2:32 AM
    For anyone interested, the latest Diary v3.4.1 fixes the problem experienced by Dr. Nellie Deutsch's students.

    While working on it, I finally took the time to check out the, Essay (autograde) quiz question type and I really like all the extra statistics details given when an essay is graded. I have been working on adding some of the same capability to the Diary plugin. I still have a lot of work to do, plus it will be broken up into stages. If you want to see the current development, head over to: http://www.drachels.com/moodle311/login/index.php, and look in the Diary Development course. Please leave comments there, whether good or bad.
  • Sun, Aug 15, 2021, 11:54 PM
    Hi Vineeth K, I finally had a chance to look at your request to, enable opentime amd closetime as default, and have decided NOT to do it, because it will NOT save you any time and effort. It would require the teacher to look at and manipulate the Open time and Close time setting anyway when creating a new diary activity.
  • Fri, Feb 18, 2022, 7:53 PM
    Hi Al,

    I'd like to get notified when a student adds an entry. Does the feature exist?

    Thank you.
  • Sat, Feb 19, 2022, 12:52 AM
    The feature does not currently exist, but is on my, if possible, TODO list. By any chance, do you have the, Grade Me, block installed? I prefer to use it for notifications because it works with multiple plugins, and if you set it up on the front page with it set to show throughout the site, you are always within 2 clicks of grading anything it supports. And, since Grade Me uses plugins itself, I have my own version that has a Diary plugin. If you want to see it in action, go to: http://www.drachels.com/moodle311/ and log in as teacher1. Once logged in, over to the right you will see various courses with activities in the Grade Me block. Click a triangle next to an activity, then a check mark next to a students name. If you do this for a Diary activity, you will then go directly to the report page that lists all the diary entries for that student.
  • Wed, Feb 23, 2022, 1:46 AM
    is it possible to delete the entries?
    Thank you!!
  • Wed, Feb 23, 2022, 2:03 AM
    Currently, there is no direct way to delete an entry. However, if you have an entry for a particular date that you want to delete, you can select and replace the text, and change the date/time to some other day/time.
  • Mon, Feb 28, 2022, 8:13 PM
    Hi. When we try to access the Diary (and Journal) on the Moodle Mobile app we get an error to the effect that the plugin is not supported.
    Is it possible to fix this?
  • Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 12:17 AM
    Hi Ian. I will add Moodle Mobile App capability to my TODO list, but it could take a while as I am swamped with things todo right now, on this and my other plugins.
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