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Manuscript deadline
01 June 2020

Cover image - Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Special Issue Editor(s)

Florence Martin, University of North Carolina Charlotte
[email protected]

Kui Xie, The Ohio State University
[email protected]

Doris U. Bolliger, Old Dominion University
[email protected]

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Engaging Learners in Emergency Transition to Online Learning during COVID-19

COVID-19 has created stress on our educational systems in both K-12 and higher education settings. During this emergency period, both K-12 and higher education students are moving away from the traditional classrooms to online learning in their homes and apartments. These new environments and contexts are diverse and dramatically different from each other, which has significantly changed the way in which students engage and learn (Xie, Heddy, & Vongkulluksn, 2019). Students do not necessarily have the technologies, resources, and strategies that they need to engage and succeed in emergency online courses. Also, the added stress of the virus pandemic has caused some students’ disengagement in overall academic activities. In addition, when rapidly moving from face-to-face to online, both learners and instructors, being separated at a distance, may not be ready for emergency online learning; therefore, engaging students has become a major challenge. This situation presents a need for empirical research to address these unique features of learning environments (e.g., physical context, social cultural context, technology context, instructional context, etc.) as well as the unique characteristics of learners and engagement (Bolliger & Martin, 2018; Martin, Wang, & Sadaf, 2018) in these contexts during this quick transition to emergency online learning. Engagement strategies from Behavioral, Cognitive, Emotional and Social aspects (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004) are of interest to the special issue.

While the main focus of this special issue is on students' perspectives of their engagement in online courses during COVID-19, studies focusing on instructors on how they adapt quickly to engage their students online as well as parental and family involvement are of interest. The term emergency remote teaching which is a subset of online teaching is also used by authors to differentiate emergency remote teaching from online teaching (Hodges, Moore, Lockee, Trust, & Bond, 2020). While our intention is not to choose one term over the other, through this special issue we seek to study how learners engage in rapid online learning during COVID-19. We would like to clarify that rapid online learning may be different from online learning which requires a lot of pre-planning.

This special issue focuses on:
1. how students engage in online learning in various contexts during this emergency period
2. how to design learning environments, pedagogies, and strategies to engage learners during this quick transition to online learning

Proposals focusing on various types of data-driven research methods including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods are of interest. Case studies that are systematically conducted also are of interest. In addition, proposals should explicitly and clearly describe the context or setting of the study.

Studies focusing on both K-12 and higher education are of interest to this special issue. While various topics focusing on engaging online learners during this emergency transition are of interest to this special issue, some example topics include:

• Factors that influence student engagement in online learning (e.g., technical skills, communication skills, student attributes, etc.)
• Effects of stress and anxiety on online engagement
• Parental involvement and family support in K-12 to engage learners
• Features of learning environments that influence engagement (e.g., physical context, social cultural context, technology context, instructional context, etc.)
• Innovative instructional strategies to engage learners
• Technologies to engage learners (e.g., virtual labs, augmented reality, synchronous tools, collaborative tools, assessment tools)
• Barriers to online learning
• Support structures to assist instructors to transition to online teaching quickly

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Submission Instructions

Tentative Timeline

Call for Proposals Announced: May 1st, 2020
1000-word Proposals Due. Include: a) brief literature view, b) rationale for the study, c) research questions, d) methodology, and e) brief results if available (references not include in word count): June 1st
Feedback on Invited Proposals: June 15th
Invited Full Manuscript Due: Sept 15th
First Round Review Complete: Nov 15th
First Round of Revisions from Authors Due: January 1st, 2021
Second Round Review (if needed) Complete: March 1st
Second Round of Revisions (if needed) from Authors Due: April 1st
Forward for Production: May 15th


Proposal Submission Instructions
Submit proposals to the following Dropbox link. Please include names, email addresses and affiliations for all authors in the proposal. The 1000-word proposals should include: a) brief literature view, b) rationale for the study, c) research questions, d) methodology, and e) brief results if available (references not include in word count). The link to the Dropbox for submission is: https://www.dropbox.com/request/nud8dul97GG1HEBPZDYj

Instructions for Authors