RFP for “Systematic Reviews of Research on Online Learning” Special Issue of the Online Learning Journal

This special issue plans to bring together a collection of systematic review and meta-analysis articles, each focusing on a different aspect of online teaching and learning such as online learner engagement, online course design, online course assessment, online support etc.

Proposal submissions will be due on February 1, 2022 via Dropbox link. Please see the Tentative Timeline below for more details.

Special Issue Editors
Dr. Florence Martin, Professor of Learning, Design and Technology, University of North Carolina Charlotte – Florence.Martin@uncc.edu
Dr. Vannesa P. Dennen, Professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies, Florida State University – vdennen@fsu.edu
Dr. Curtis J. Bonk, Professor of Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University – cjbonk@indiana.edu

Systematic review is a methodology used to “examine secondary data by retrieving, synthesizing, and assessing existing knowledge on a subject in a logical, transparent, and analytical manner” (Martin, Dennen, & Bonk, p.1613). Meta-analysis is a specific form of systematic review that uses statistics to collectively analyze findings of earlier studies. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis are used to address critical questions, and incorporate sources that otherwise might be considered inconclusive and small. They also provide an opportunity to address topics of mixed-findings (Ioannidis & Lau 1999). Early research in an area typically focuses on what Borko (2004) refers to as “existence proofs,” or one-off studies of individual implementations. It takes time for a more systematic, mature body of research to emerge, and for research gaps to fill in. With the dramatic acceleration in the development and use of online learning in the last two decades (Allen & Seaman, 2017) and the increase in the research on online learning, the intent of the special issue is to provide a systematic and synthetic overview of the current state of research on various online teaching and learning topics, to characterize the major findings or implications of this research, and to identify gaps and opportunities for future researchers through systematic reviews of research.

In this special issue, we aim to include systematic reviews that synthesize research in ways that transform our understanding of different online learning topics, with implications for both practitioners and researchers. This special issue plans to bring together a collection of systematic review and meta-analysis articles, each focusing on a different aspect of online teaching and learning such as online learner engagement, online course design, online course assessment, online support etc. Martin, Sun, and Westine (2020) categorize research on online teaching and learning into the twelve themes across learner, course and instructor and organizational levels (See Figure 1). Proposals could be on any of these topics, or also other topics related to online teaching and learning. While there have been numerous previous meta-analyses comparing online to classroom instruction, the submissions to this special issue will extend beyond modality comparisons of online learning, and build on in depth understanding of various online learning topics. Altering the target of research from modality comparisons to “important questions of design, interaction, student and teacher involvement, feedback, etc is critical…” (Bernard et. al., 2019, p. 102).

Figure 1. Themes in Online Teaching and Learning Research

Chart demonstrating themes in Online Learning and Research

Call for Proposal Announced

Dec 15th, 2021

Proposal Submission

1000-word Proposals Due. Include: a) brief literature review, b) rationale for the systematic review c) research questions, d) methodology, and e) brief results if available (references not included in word count)

Submit proposals to the following dropbox link. Please include names, email addresses and affiliations for all authors in the proposal.

https://www.dropbox.com/request/RnBbgz63RZVRzf1lQBUZ

February 1st 2022 (via dropbox link)

Proposal Acceptance Invitations emailed

March 1st 2022

Full Manuscript Submission

Use the OLJ Proposal System

May 1st 2022 (via OLJ system)

First round review feedback

July 15th 2022

First round revisions due date

August 15th 2022

Second round review feedback (if needed)

October 1st 2022

Second round revisions due date

November 1st 2022

Final Decisions Made

December 1st 2022

Forwarded for CopyEditing and Publication

December 15th 2022

Expected Publication

March 2023

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2017). Digital compass learning: Distance education enrollment Report 2017. Babson survey research group.

Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., & Tamim, R. M. (2019). The state of research on distance, online, and blended learning from the perspectives of meta-analyses and qualitative systematic reviews, . In M. G. Moore, & W. C. Diehl (Eds.), Handbook of Distance Education 4th Edition. New York, NY: Routledge.

Ioannidis, J. P., & Lau, J. (1999). Pooling research results: Benefits and limitations of meta-analysis. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement, 25(9), 462–469.

Martin, F., Dennen, V. P., & Bonk, C. J. (2020). A synthesis of systematic review research on emerging learning environments and technologies. Educational Technology Research and Development, 68(4), 1613-1633.

Martin, F., Sun, T., & Westine, C. D. (2020). A systematic review of research on online teaching and learning from 2009 to 2018. Computers & education, 159, 104009.