Monday, 9 February 2015

IJCEE, Social Justice and eLearning

I am an Associate Editor for the fairly new International Journal of Cyber Ethics in Education and recently put my first guest edited issue to bed, so to speak.

The special issue on Social Justice in eLearning has been placed into the publication process. The call for papers asked authors to consider human concerns arising from the use of ICT in education. Priority has been given to submissions that highlight ethical dilemmas relating to the socially just use of learning technologies, with implications for improved practice and pedagogies.

Social justice is a commitment to equality and fairness alongside recognition that human rights are not in reality shared by all of society due to persistence of power differentials. Marginalization, oppression and discrimination are ongoing factors in the lived experience of some people and groups. Not everyone has a voice or equitable access to educational opportunities. 

  • In what ways can elearning exacerbate or effectively address pre-existing inequities?
  • What new human concerns arise from the use of ICT in education?
  • How can we act to ensure that elearning is a solution to social injustice?

I am grateful to the authors who responded, in some cases after chatting with or hearing me present my own research at conferences like Ascilite (or after I attended their presentations and practically begged them to write up and submit their excellent work).

I am similarly grateful to the reviewers, without whom the process would have stalled completely. Peer review is an essential core to our academic work, and the means of quality assurance and critical appraisal that is precious to the academy. Reviewers from the universities of Waikato, Otago, Massey and overseas institutions gave freely of their time and insight to enhance the quality of work in the special issue. This was a tremendous effort and highly valued.

My first attempt at editing a special issue of a journal was much harder than I anticipated. Challenges included:
  • The paperwork required to address publishers’ requirements
  • Enticing authors to write and submit work
  • Juggling time pressures: Everyone is too busy and deadlines are always too tight
  • Record keeping was a tough ask due to the need to keep track of multiple versions of articles, reviews, blind copies and so on. Usually, being systematic is not a problem for me but I found it a challenge in this instance – I have multiple files of articles, reviews, blind versions, second and third revised copies, copyright agreements, bios, checklists and so on. Next time around, I will be very systematic about record keeping.
The low points were time pressures and doubt over whether the issue would eventually come together.

The easiest and most fun part was coming up with the concept for the special issue.
The highlights occurred each time I read a contribution from an author, and when the edition finally came together.

I have put a lot of myself into this issue as I proposed the theme, solicited the papers and the reviews, reviewed and edited each paper personally and wrote the substantial preface and a book review to round off the issue.

Recently I was asked by another journal editor in chief to edit a special issue for an elearning publication, and I suppressed an almost-hysterical giggle as I politely declined (for now). No, I won’t rush back into this immediately. But, given time, like the pains of childbirth and doctoral thesis, this too will fade. And as with the former, I have learned a lot on the way through.

In the meantime, I look forward to welcoming, along with our whanau of authors, reviewers, the editor in chief and publisher, the upcoming special issue on Social Justice in eLearning in the International Journal of Cyber Ethics in Education.

One of my goals is that this special issue will prompt discussion and further contributions, in relation to subjects like:
  • Online teaching as a caring and ethical practice
  • Equitable access to elearning opportunities, and inclusive design and practices
  • The realm of technoethics: Humanity, technology, moral responsibility and cyberactivism
I encourage others to undertake this challenge. The IJCEE is now calling for articles and proposals for special issues. I hope others will take the plunge and embark on the opportunity to construct a special issue in this vital space. You can be assured that the support from the editor in chief and publisher will be forthcoming, and that the journey will be a rewarding one.

1 comment:

  1. And here is the link to the journal now, abstracts and sample pdfs: