Educator Resources

Since the Pandemic Journaling Project (PJP) launched in spring 2020, over 1,700 people from more than 50 countries have contributed more than 20,000 journal entries -- in writing, audio, and/or photos. About one-third of all PJP participants are students.

So far, educators at over 15 high schools and universities have used PJP in their teaching.

Interested in bringing PJP into your classroom? Below are some ideas and resources.

pandemic journal logo - pjp_Logo_Draft2_v9

Is participation anonymous?

We will never ask for participants’ names.

How can I bring PJP into my teaching?

  • Invite students to read the Featured Entries page and respond periodically, either in class or in an online Discussion Forum. We add new entries each week, and the Featured Entries are searchable by keyword. 
  • Use PJP questions as prompts for writing assignments, class discussion, or interviewing exercises. Each week, PJP participants are asked to journal about two topics:
    • The first is the same each week: How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.”  
    • The second topic changes from week to week and always includes a choice of options. You can see some of the questions we’ve posed on the Featured Entries page.
  • Let students know that they are welcome to join PJP and contribute each week – if they choose – and then write a final essay. They could write about their experience journaling, or perhaps expand on a theme in one of their entries (e.g., the impact of COVID-19 on social relationships). 

What do I need to know before getting started?

    A few important things before getting started:

    1. Are your students 15-17 years old?  Teens 15-17 will need parent/guardian permission. When they click "Join the Project," they'll be asked their age range. Anyone 15-17 will be asked for a parent/guardian's contact information. We'll send their parent/guardian an email or text, and if they give consent, the student is good to go.
    2. Are your students under 15? The PJP platform can only accommodate students 15 or older -- but we have some ideas for you! Check out our Resource Guide for Elementary and Middle School Educators.You can also invite your students to read the feature article about us in the New York Times - Kids China edition.
    3. Because PJP is a journaling platform and also a research study, participation must be optional for all students. If you bring PJP into the classroom, students who choose not to participate, or whose parent/guardian does not give permission, will need an alternate assignment. For ideas, check out the Sample Assignment below, or our Resource Guide for High School Educators.
    4. Before you introduce PJP to your students, you’ll first need to obtain any necessary permissions (e.g., from your high school principal).

    What’s the best way to introduce my students to PJP?

    For a quick overview, you can share this 1-minute video (which also is available in Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi):

    For a deeper look, share this 10-minute video, which explains why we created PJP, how it works, and how to join.

    You can find more PJP videos on our PJP YouTube channel.

    Students can also learn about PJP through our media coverage -- for instance, this New York Times article, or this podcast.

    Is there a sample assignment you can share?

    The following sample assignment was developed by Kristina Baines, an anthropology professor at CUNY-Guttman College in New York City and a member of the PJP Advisory Board.


    Discussion Board Assignment

    The discussion board assignment will involve reflection on the Pandemic Journaling Project. This is a global research project designed to capture everyday experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers will use the information that they collect to better understand how different people in different places, and from different backgrounds, are affected by the pandemic. This is a great opportunity to take time for yourself to journal and consider your own thoughts while at the same time contributing to important research that will help us all deeply consider how people are dealing in this moment in history. Students in previous semesters have said that engaging with PJP was a very positive experience for them. For an overview of PJP, you can watch this 1-minute video, and you can hear voices of some PJP participants in this 2-minute video "sound collage."

    Each week, you will engage with the Pandemic Journaling Project in one of two ways (your choice), then post your thoughts on our class discussion board:

    1. Read the public posts on the Featured Entries page and reflect on at least one idea or post that struck you. Make a post in our class discussion forum and share this reflection. These posts can be made using any medium (text, audio recording, photos, etc.).  
    2. If you choose to participate in the project research (not required; your choice), you will write/speak/create an image of your thoughts on the project site every week and also read the new Featured Entries each week. You will then post about the experience of participating in our class discussion forum. 
      1. If you choose this option, you do not need to make your posts public on the site, and you are not required to share what you post in our class discussion forum. These decisions are up to you. 
      2. The project website is at https://pandemic-journaling-project.chip.uconn.edu/. If you choose to join, go to the website and click on “Join the Project”, or sign up here directly in English or in Spanish. After your first week, you will receive a weekly reminder to post.

    Other sample assignments to share? If you’ve brought PJP into your classroom and would like to share ideas, comments, or student feedback, please drop us a line: PandemicJournalingProject@gmail.com.

    How do we cite PJP?

    We kindly ask that you please cite PJP in any research or projects, including student assignments, presentations, and web postings as well as published writing. To to so, please use a standardized format (e.g., MLA, Chicago) for citing digital sources. For example: 

    To cite the PJP website: 

    To cite a specific page on the PJP website: 

    In addition, please use the following text to describe PJP on your syllabus (or other course materials, as relevant): 

    • “The Pandemic Journaling Project was founded in May 2020 by Sarah S. Willen and Katherine A. Mason as a joint initiative of the University of Connecticut and Brown University. More information about the project can be found at https://pandemic-journaling-project.chip.uconn.edu/.”

    Questions? Email us at pandemicjournalingproject@gmail.com.

    Learn more about PJP

    To learn more about how and why the Pandemic Journaling Project was created, you and your students may want to read about us in the New York Times, or:

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