Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Journal of Research in Open, Distance and e-Learning is a newly launched open access peer-reviewed online journal that seeks to publish research and practice-based articles on issues pertaining to open, distance and eLearning (ODeL). The overall focus of the journal is on persistent and long-standing issues in ODeL and how these are being redefined in the current global context, as well as new and emerging issues. Research issues are categorized into broad categories that include ODeL systems and theories at the macro-level; management, organization, and technology at the meso-level; and teaching and learning at the micro-level. The research areas and issues are outlined in more detail in the ODeL Research Framework.

Title: Journal of Research in Open, Distance and e-Learning (JRODeL)

Publisher: African Virtual University

Sponsorship: African Development Bank (2012-2016)

Frequency:  2 issues per year, each containing between 5-6 articles

Copyright/Licensing:  Open Access, Creative Commons (freely accessible to readers)

Format: Online

Language: The journal will publish articles in English, French and Portuguese— articles will be published in the language received, while abstracts will be translated and made available in all three languages.

Content: JRODeL publishes the following types of articles

 

Peer-reviewed articles

  • that feature original research, theory, and/or best practice in open and distance and eLearning (approx. 3,500 - 5,500 words).

 

Special issues:

  •  Guest-edited special issues on a theme or topic of current interest, also peer-reviewed

 

Invited articles:

  •  From thought leaders on their insights on new and emerging issues and developments in ODeL
  • New and innovative developments

 

Research notes:

  • Short notes or reports of proposed and ongoing research projects or completed projects that are missing critical components (e.g., a conceptual framework, incomplete analysis); (approx. 2000 words)

 

Practitioner notes:

  • Short notes by ODeL practitioners to share best practices,  innovative interventions, processes and outcomes (approx. 2000 words)

 

Book and software notes:

  •  opinion pieces and reviews of recently published scholarly books or software of relevance to open and distance learning (approx. 1,000 words);

 

Video presentations

  • Video presentations on research topics of interest

 

Conference proceedings

  • Abstracts from conference proceedings

 

 

Section Policies

Access, equity, and ethics

  • The democratization of access to education through open, distance and elearning as afforded by new media and technologies
  • Finding ways to deliver high quality education to those who have limited resources and poor infrastructure.
  • The (sustainable) provision of education using ODeL in developing nations. For example, what is the impact of distance education (e.g., via mobile learning) on narrowing (or broadening) the digital divide?
  • What is the role of ICT (information and communication technologies) and/or OER (open educational resources) or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in terms of access to education?
  • Should distance education have an inherent and explicit goal to reduce inequality and promote both high quality and affordable educational opportunity?

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Globalization of education and cross-cultural aspects

  • aspects that refer to the global external environment and drivers;
  • the development of the global distance education market;
  • teaching and learning in mediated and multicultural environments; and the implications for professional development and curriculum development.
  • Policy implications for various aspects of cross border education such as accreditation, internalization
  • Implications for access and opportunity such as presented by MOOCs and OERS?

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Open, distance and eLearning systems and institutions

  • ODeL delivery systems, the role of institutional partnerships in developing transnational programs and the impact of ICT on the convergence of conventional education and distance education institutions (hybrid or mixed-mode).

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Theories and models

  • Theoretical frameworks for and foundations of ODeL e.g., the theoretical basis of instructional models, knowledge construction, interaction between learners, and
  • the impact of social constructivism, connectivism, and new learning theories on current practice.

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Research methods in ODeL and knowledge transfer

  • Methodological considerations,
  • the impact of ODeL research and publication on practice, and
  • the role of professional associations and higher education institutions in improving practice.
  • Literature reviews and works on the history of distance education as well as new and emerging models and concepts are also subsumed within this area.

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Management & organization

  • strategies, administration, and organizational infrastructures and frameworks for the development, implementation, and sustainable delivery of ODeL programs.
  • What is required for successful leadership in ODeL?
  • Policies relating to continuing education, lifelong learning, and the impact of ODeL on institutional policies, as well as legal issues (copyright and intellectual property).

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Costs and benefits

  • to financial management, costing, pricing, and business models in ODeL
  • Efficiency: What is the return on investment or impact of ODeL programs?
  • What is the impact of ICT on the costing models and the scalability of ODeL delivery?
  • How can cost-effective but meaningful learner support be provided?

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Infrastructure

  • physical infrastructure and access points to ODeL programs ( e.g. learning centers, ODeL design & development centers)
  • power availability (electricity, solar)
  • technical infrastructure, and equipment for ODeL learning environments including computers, mobile devices, virtual labs)
  • ICT capacity and internet infrastructure

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Educational technology

  • new trends in educational technology for ODeL (e.g., social media or mobile learning) and their affordances for teaching and learning.
  • the benefits and challenges of using OERs, media selection (e.g., synchronous versus asynchronous media),
  • skills and competencies to use and support technology integration

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Innovation and change

  • issues that refer to educational innovation with new media and measures to support and facilitate change in institutions (e.g., incentive systems for faculty, aspects referring to staff workloads, promotion and tenure).

  • emerging innovations and their implications for ODeL e.g. learning management systems, OERs, MOOCs, online data analytics, online examination systems, certification and tags
  • Keeping abreast with research and innovation with implications for ODeL
  • Issues that refer to educational innovation with new media (e.g. mobile learning)
  • measures to support and facilitate change and innovation in institutions (e.g., research, incentive systems for faculty, aspects referring to staff workloads, promotion, and tenure).

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Professional development and faculty support

  • Professional development and faculty support services as a prerequisite for innovation and change.
  • What are the competencies for teaching online and in various ODeL contexts (blended, hybrid),
  • What are the competencies needed for counselors and support service staff, and how can they be developed?

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Learner support services

the infrastructure for and organization of learner support systems (from information and counseling for prospective students to library services and technical support, to career services and alumni networks).

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Quality assurance

  • accreditation and quality standards in ODeL
  • the implications of quality assurance and high quality learner support on enrolments and drop-out/retention
  • the reputation and acceptance of ODeL as a valid form of educational provision.

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Instructional or learning design

  •  strategies, administration, and organizational infrastructures and frameworks for the development, implementation, and sustainable delivery of ODeL programs.
  • What is required for successful leadership in ODeL?
  • Policies relating to continuing education, lifelong learning, and the impact of ODeL on institutional policies, as well as legal issues (copyright and intellectual property).

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Interaction and communication in learning communities

  • closely related to instructional design considerations is course design that fosters (online) articulation, interaction, reflection, and collaboration throughout the learning and teaching process.
  • Special areas include the development of online communities, gender differences, and cross-cultural aspects in online communication.

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Learner characteristics

  • the aims and goals of adult and younger students studying in ODeL
  • the socio-economic background of ODeL learners, their different approaches to learning, critical thinking dispositions, media literacies, and special needs.
  • How do learners learn online (behaviour patterns, learning styles) and what competencies are needed for learning (e.g., digital literacy)?
  • Gender differences?

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Full Issue

Checked Open Submissions Unchecked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed
 

Peer Review Process

JRODeL seeks to attract and publish research of high quality that is useful to scholars, policy makers and practitioners alike, and with the additional objective of building research capacity within its research community. To that end, the journal places its confidence in reviewers as the arbiters of quality of submitted manuscripts and hence the role of the reviewer is a very important one. Essentially, the reviewer will serve two major functions: (i) to judge whether the manuscript merits publication; (ii) to provide constructive criticisms for the authors, regardless of whether the manuscript is deemed acceptable for eventual publication. Review policies for JRODeL are as follows:

 

  • Double-blind peer review: As soon as manuscripts are received the relevant editor will assign manuscripts to peer reviewers. The manuscripts will undergo a double-blind peer review process; the identity of the peer reviewer(s) will not be revealed to the author(s) and vice versa. The manuscripts will be sent to a minimum of two reviewers
  • Reviewers are expected to provide substantive and constructive comments. Many reviewers ably fulfil the task of evaluating the suitability of a manuscript for publication, however it is also important that reviewers serve as advisors and to be fully as helpful and as an involved colleague or a visiting professor (Provenzale & Stanley 2005).
  • Timelines: Reviews should be conducted in a timely manner. The expected duration for JRODeL is 4-6 weeks. If a reviewer is not able to complete the review in the time period allocated, then they should notify the editor immediately so that the manuscript can be to reassigned without delay.
  • Tone and language: Reviewers are reminded to observe appropriate tone and language, and the expectation is that reviewers provide constructive scholarly assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of a submission. They should treat the manuscripts they review as they would like their own to be treated, with respect and criticisms given in a polite manner. Avoid statements that are demeaning, insulting or sarcastic. Criticism should be directed at issues with the manuscript (e.g., “This manuscript suffers from a lack of attention to detail”) rather than about the authors (e.g., “The authors should have paid more attention to detail”) (Provenzale & Stanley 2005).
  • Reviewer bias, the potential of bias is an issue with which the reviewer must deal. Bias can be either positive (i.e., unfairly favouring the manuscript for publication) or negative (i.e., unfairly favouring rejection).
  • Reviewer competence/confidence, an issue which reviewers must deal with is whether they have sufficient scientific background to perform a substantive review. If the reviewer believes that the topic of the manuscript is outside his or her area of expertise, then the prospective reviewer should decline to review the manuscript.
  • Conflicts of interest policy: Reviewers are expected to adhere to conflicts of interest policy and notify the requesting Editor if they are unable to review a submission so that the submission can be reassigned.
  • Confidentiality: Reviewers are expected to adhere to confidentiality rules and not discuss information about submissions beyond with those involved in the review process.
  • Compensation: There is no compensation for peer-reviewing manuscripts submitted to JRODeL. Reviewers are expected to willingly volunteer in the service of research and scholarship.
  • Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers: The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has developed Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. JRODeL is aligned with COPE’s best practice guidelines for dealing with ethical issues in journal publishing and has adopted the COPE guidelines. 
     

The complete guidelines developed by COPE can also be downloaded at: http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines

 

Publication Frequency

The journal will publish two issues per year, with each issue containing between five to six articles.