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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Distance Education

For a Special Issue on
Addressing the ‘challenging’ elements of learning at a distance

Abstract deadline
01 June 2022

Manuscript deadline
01 September 2022

Cover image - Distance Education

Special Issue Editor(s)

Dr Rachel Fitzgerald, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
[email protected]

Dr Henk Huijser, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
[email protected]

Sharon Altena, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
[email protected]

Professor Ale Armellini, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Addressing the ‘challenging’ elements of learning at a distance

One of the unforeseen outcomes of global lockdowns has been the impact on higher education students as they transitioned to become online, distance learners (Di Malta et al., 2022; Lee et al., 2021). Understanding the student experience from their perspective allows us to consider the far-reaching impact their experiences, new understandings, and attitudes to online study may have on higher education into the future (Naidu, 2021, 2022). It is important that we grow from knowledge gained about online learning during the pandemic and move beyond a ‘business as usual’ model (Jones & Sharma, 2020, Korkman & Toraman, 2020), particularly as large numbers of our learners do not wish to return to traditional models and have higher and evolving expectations about the quality of their online learning experience. Within this context, how do we maintain the essence and value of authentic practices such as student exchanges, lab work, field trips, placements, and work integrated learning, that have traditionally relied on face-to-face arrangements and that in some cases rely on the development of tactile skills.

In this special issue, we aim to explore the challenging aspects of learning online, from the perspective of the learner with a particular focus on those elements that seem the most difficult. We welcome studies that explore authentic learning activities that were considered only possible in a face-to-face context, from a variety of disciplines such as healthcare, education, information technology, science, engineering and beyond. We are particularly interested in innovative strategies, design experimentation and use of technology to enable students to fulfill authentic learning requirements. This could include adjustments that needed to be made to meet professional accreditation requirements. What do our learners and educators, who have not necessarily chosen to study or teach online, value from online learning experiences related to these challenging elements? Additionally, what risks do authentic online learning experiences present and how can they be addressed?

We encourage papers that reflect on the challenges and successes of moving traditional face-to-face authentic learning experiences online and what this means for the future of higher education. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Work Integrated Learning experiences for online students
  • Online internships and work placements
  • Conducting lab work in online environments
  • Virtual Field trips and “In the field” research
  • Virtual student exchanges
  • The Higher Degree by Research online experience
  • Online Authentic learning and assessment within creative disciplines
  • Virtual reality and/or simulation-based learning as alternatives
  • Students’ expectations of authentic experiences online.

We welcome papers that are co-written with students.

Types of publications accepted in this Special Issue:

We welcome the submission of papers from a variety of disciplines that use a variety of methodologies and formats including:

  • Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods empirical research papers
  • Case studies
  • Critical reflections
  • Theory driven, evaluative, practice-based papers.

Submission Instructions

What to submit

We recommend that you submit a maximum 350-word (not including references) document that includes:

  • Proposed article title
  • Author names and their affiliation
  • An abstract that provides an evidence-based rationale for the study, research questions, methodology and implications for practice.


  • Submission of 350-word abstract (submitted to: [email protected]) - 1 June 2022
  • Invitation to submit paper - 15 June 2022
  • Deadline for paper submission - 1 September 2022
  • Double-blind peer review complete - 15 October 2022
  • Final version of accepted papers - 15 December 2022

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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