Editorial - CJLT / RCAT after Two Years

Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology

Volume 30(2) Spring / printemps 2004

Editorial - CJLT / RCAT after Two Years

Rick Kenny

The 2003 calendar year saw the first full year of the publication of the journal as a dual media publication. As reported last year, we were able to launch the new CJLT / RCAT website (www.cjlt.ca) in February, 2003. The online version is being hosted at Athabasca University under the auspices of the International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publishing (ICAAP), which also helped with the design and construction of the website. The full text of all articles has been placed on the website with a one issue (4 month) delay and the abstracts of each current print issue have been provided at the time the issue was mailed out to AMTEC members and subscribers. The CJLT / RCAT website has certainly attracted considerable attention. In the last 12 months (June, 2003 - May, 2004), we received a total of 33 140 visits and 67 320 pages accessed for an average of 2760 visits / month and 5610 pages accessed / month. Examination of such statistics as total URLs accessed, URLs by Kbytes, and entry pages accessed shows that traffic is highest for each new issue as it goes online. However, overall, the theme issues have drawn the most consistent long term interest from readers.

In 2003, we were able to maintain a regular publication schedule for the journal and published three sound issues. The first issue, Volume 29-1 (Winter), was an open issue and contained 5 articles on a variety of topics, 2 book reports, and 3 research reviews. Volume 29-2 (Spring) was also an open issue and consisted of 5 articles and 1 research report. Volume 29-3 was a special issue on Constructivism and Online Learning, edited by Diane Janes and Mary Kennedy. This theme issue was nearly as successful (in the number of articles submitted and published) as the previous special issue on Learning Objects. It featured 7 articles (including one French article), on this very current topic, as well as 2 book reviews and 1 research review. To date (May, 2004), one issue, V30-1 (Winter) has been published in 2004, with this issue being the second. The Winter issue contained 4 articles, 2 book reviews and 1 research report.

I would also like to inform our readers of the number of manuscript submissions to the journal and of the acceptance / rejection rate for 2003. The total number of submissions increased substantially from a total of 28 articles in 2002 to 46 manuscripts in 2003 (a 60% increase) and we were able to publish 16 for an acceptance rate of 34.8% (down from 46.4% in 2002). 14 articles were in English and 2 in French. This lowered acceptance rate has both positive and negative ramifications. On the one hand, university tenure and promotion committees often ask faculty for the publication rates of the journals where they publish and those with lower acceptance rates are judged to be more rigorous / presumed to be of higher quality. On the other hand, a lower rate also makes the journal less accessible to authors. In this regard, I should report two trends. First, CJLT has seen an increase in the number of manuscripts rejected at the Editorial level (refused without peer review) from 7 papers to 11. This represents 23.9% of all submissions in 2003, which may indicate that authors are not always submitting their best quality work to CJLT. This represents more work for the editors, but also conveys the message that we will not compromise quality. Second, despite this statistic, Mary, François, and I have been engaged in an active policy to encourage authors to revise and resubmit their manuscripts wherever possible. In 2003, we sent 17 manuscripts back with suggestions for revisions and a request to resubmit. Of these, 5 (29.4%) were then resubmitted and 3 of those (60%) were accepted for publication.

In summary, we have been successful in continuing to publish CJLT - RCAT on a regular basis this past year and to ensure that it remains a quality, scholarly journal. This year (2004), both issues so far have been published on time have been general, open issues consisting of a variety of different articles. Volume 30-3 will be another special issue, this time on E-Learning Standards - Looking beyond Learning Objects, and will be edited by Elizabeth Childs and Solvig Norman, under the guidance of Mary Kennedy. Finally, this is the last year of the 3 - year publication grant from SSHRC and the editors will be submitting a renewal application this spring. Given the consistent publication schedule over the past three years, the serious efforts to make CJLT / RCAT more fully bilingual, and the development of the online version, I am confident that we will succeed in renewing the grant. In this regard, while the editors and the AMTEC Board have been discussing whether or not to drop the print version and publish the journal only in its online version, we will first seek funding for a continued dual media approach (not to mention some editorial assistance, copy editing, and funds for translation…). Stay tuned!

In this issue, we again present six very different and interesting articles. The first article, Integrating Information and Communication Technology in the Classroom: A Comparative Discourse Analysis, by Bastien Sasseville, presents a comparative study of the views of primary and secondary school teachers and of promoters of technology integration concerning the integration of information and communication technology in schools. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first study published in CJLT (or CJEC before) to use comparative discourse analysis as a methodology and continues our recent trend in CJLT featuring alternative research methodologies (see as well the articles by Crighton and Kinash in V29-2 on virtual ethnography and by Murphy in V30-1 on content analysis for problem-solving in ill-structured domains). In this case, as the author points out, discourse about information technology is often overlooked by researchers and scholars as a means of understanding the recent process of computerization in education and may well be a methodology well worth employing for other studies on learning and technology. I would be interested in feedback from the readers on these sorts of approaches and, of course, invite an article that explores "the appropriate study of educational technology".

The second article, Graduate Students' Experiences of Challenges in Online Asynchronous Discussions, by Elizabeth Murphy and Elizabeth Coleman, reports on the findings of a qualitative study of students' experiences of challenges encountered in a web-based graduate program. Challenges included domination of the discussions by individual students or groups of students resulting in feelings of exclusion, frustration and inadequacy, text-only communication leading to difficulties of misinterpretation and conveying and deriving intent, and problems resulting from low quality and high quantities of postings to meet grade requirements.

The third article is titled, Planning for Integrating Teaching Technologies, and is by Mandie Aaron, Dennis Dicks, Cindy Ives and Brenda Montgomery, at Concordia University. In this article, they discuss the use of a variety of tools and techniques that they contend can render the integration of teaching technologies more systematic within varying instructional contexts. The authors examine different ways of organizing the integration process and demonstrate the application of planning tools from other domains - Fault Tree Analysis and Capability Maturity Modeling - at the school and college levels.

The fourth article, Integration of an Online Discussion Forum in a Campus-based Undergraduate Biology Class, by Sandrine Turcotte and Thérèse Laferrière, details an exploratory case study on the use of computer mediated conferencing (CMC) to support the teaching of biology to undergraduates. Results of this study indicated that the use of online computer conferences show promise when based on reflection, problem-solving, collaborative learning and knowledge building. The authors contend that Internet conferencing tools support students as they reflect and work together and open doors to numerous new educational experiences for both students and professors.

The fifth article, Designing and Implementing Performance Technology for Teachers, is by Joi L. Moore, one of our Editorial Board members from the U.S. This paper synthesizes research findings from a performance analysis of teacher tasks and the implementation of performance technology. It describes the necessary elements and conditions for designing and implementing performance tools in school environments to encourage usage, efficient performance, and positive attitudes and presents two models that provide a visual representation of causal relationships between the implementation factors and the technology user.

Our final paper is Strategic Planning for Technological Innovation in Canadian Post Secondary Education by Denise Stockley. In this study, the author examined institution-wide strategic plans available online were examined to determine how technology was referenced. Based on this analysis and the research literature, she then developed a schedule of principles for supporting the implementation of educational technology in post-secondary teaching and proposes that institutions formatively evaluating local efforts to understand and improve technologically supported instruction can use this checklist as a diagnostic.

ISSN: 1499-6685

Copyright (c) 2004 Rick Kenny

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