Since the Pandemic Journaling Project (PJP) launched in spring 2020, over 1,500 people from more than 50 countries have contributed nearly 20,000 journal entries -- in writing, audio, and/or photos.
So far, high school and college educators at over 15 institutions have used PJP in their teaching -- and nearly 1/3 of all PJP participants are students.
Interested in bringing PJP into your classroom? Below are some ideas and resources.
I’m an educator. Can my students participate?
Are your students 15 or older?
If you teach college or university students, yes! Anyone 18 or older can join simply by clicking "Join the Project " on the top-left corner of our homepage menu.
- Note: Since PJP is a journaling platform and also a research study, students cannot be required to participate. If you bring PJP into the classroom, students who choose not to participate will need to be given an alternate assignment. For ideas, check out our Sample Assignment below.
If you teach high school students, yes! To join, they can click "Join the Project " on the top-left corner of our homepage menu. A few important details:
- You'll need to make sure any required permissions are in place (e.g., from your principal) in advance.
- Teens 15-17 need parent/guardian permission to participate. When they sign up, they'll be asked their age range. Those who are 15-17 will be asked for parent/guardian contact information. If their parent/guardian gives consent (via email or text), they're good to go.
- Students cannot be required to participate. If you bring PJP into the classroom, students who choose not to participate, or whose parent/guardian does not give permission, will need to be given an alternate assignment. For ideas, check out our Resource Guide for High School Educators and Sample Assignment below.
Are your students younger than 15?
At this time, the PJP platform can only accommodate students 15 or older -- but if you teach younger students, we do have some ideas for you! Check out our Resource Guide for Elementary and Middle School Educators.
I’m a student. Can I participate?
Are you 18 or older? Yes! Just click "Join the Project" on the top-left corner of our homepage menu.
Are you 15-17? Yes, as long as your parent or guardian gives permission. Just click "Join the Project" on the top-left corner of our homepage menu and follow the steps. We'll ask for a parent/guardian's email or phone number. If they say yes, you'll be all set.
Are you 14 or younger? Unfortunately PJP is open only to teens 15 or older. But you can still create your own pandemic journal! Check out this list of possible journaling questions. Then grab a notebook -- or your phone (or some other voice recorder) -- pick a question, and get started!
PJP in the Classroom: A few ideas
- Invite students to read the Featured Entries page and respond periodically, either in an online Discussion Forum or during in-class discussions. We add new contributions to this page each week, and it can be searched 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. Since PJP is a research study as well as a journaling platform, students cannot be required to participate as part of a classroom assignment, nor can participation affect their grade. They are, however, welcome to join. If you choose to share this option with students, please let them know that:
- Participation is entirely voluntary, and anyone who joins can stop at any time.
- Information sheets, and the platform itself, are accessible both in English and in Spanish.
- Journal entries can be created in writing, as audio recordings, or as images.
- For every journal entry created, participants choose whether to make it private or allow it be shared on the Featured Entries page.
- In addition to journal entries, participation also includes a 6-minute survey about themselves and their views, as well as periodic weekly survey questions.
- Anyone who chooses to sign up will receive a weekly reminder to contribute by their choice of email or text message (SMS).
Participation in PJP is now open to teens age 15-17, with parent/guardian consent. No special steps are necessary -- teens can sign up from our main page in English or in Spanish, and follow the prompts.
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. To her her reflect on her experience bringing PJP into the classroom, check out this video, which appeared on the podcast A Partial Perspective.
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:
- 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.).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- our 1-minute PJP video (also in Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi).
- our anniversary sound collage, "Voices from the Pandemic Journaling Project."
- this video in which PJP Advisory Board Kristina Baines (CUNY-Guttman College), explains how she brought PJP into her classroom (on A Partial Perspective).
- our virtual public forum, hosted by the Commission on Children, Women, Seniors, Equity, and Opportunity at the Connecticut State Legislature.
- to our radio interview on WNYC's The Takeaway.
- to our radio interview on WNPR's "Where We Live."
- to our podcast interview with John Dankosky of CT Mirror.
- this essay at The Thinking Republic, led by two of our Student Advisory Board members.
- our blog post for the OECD Forum Network.
- our blog post on the Humanities for All blog of the National Humanities Alliance. You can also read it here in Spanish, or
- more on our media page.
Learn more ...
How do we cite PJP?
It’s important that PJP is cited properly in all research projects, including student assignments, presentations, and web postings as well as published writing. To cite PJP, please use a standardized format (e.g., MLA, Chicago) for citing digital sources. For example:
To cite the PJP website:
- The Pandemic Journaling Project. University of Connecticut and Brown University, 2020. https://pandemic-journaling-project.chip.uconn.edu/. Accessed [date].
To cite a specific page on the PJP website:
- “Featured Entries.” The Pandemic Journaling Project. University of Connecticut and Brown University. 2020. September 7, 2021. https://www.pandemicjournalingproject.org/en/archive/featured. Accessed [date].
In addition, we ask that you 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/.”
If you have additional questions about how to cite PJP, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.