Over much of the past year, I had been posting notices to get submissions for this special issue. Last week, it was published! Below is the original call to give you a details sense of what we were looking to solicit. Over the next four or five days I’ll be posting information about each of the articles published in this special issue.
K-12 Online Distance Education: Issues and Frameworks
I. A statement of the special edition theme
The theme of this special edition is issues and frameworks for K-12 online distance education, including teacher preparation and professional development, successful programs, principled practices, policy formation and implications, and the potential for understanding this phenomenon with emerging theoretical frameworks. Other topics could include the special needs of K-12 online teachers, issues specific to a content area, or the evaluation of related professional development programs.
II. Its relevance to the scope and coverage of the journal
Because American Journal of Distance Education was one of the first journals to focus on sound educational practice within the field of distance learning, the emerging field of K-12 online distance education represents a natural association within the original scope. The great promise of this edition lies in its potential to provide articles of interest to a wide and diverse audience, including researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Manuscripts that explore the relationship between emerging theoretical frameworks and this unique application of distance education are potentially seminal pieces of scholarship.
III. The need for a focus on the theme
With the increasing popularity and accessibility of the Internet and Internet-based technologies, along with the need for a diverse group of students to have alternative means to complete their education, there is a major push for K-12 schools to offer online courses and entire programs. These virtual schools have been in existence since the proliferation of the Internet in the 1990s, and they continue to grow in popularity as a realistic alternative to traditional education. Watson, Murin, Vashaw, Gemin, and Rapp (2011) report that all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer their K-12 students online learning experiences.
Though the number of courses and participating teachers and students are growing at a tremendous rate, what we know about this phenomenon empirically and how we understand it theoretically are dynamic and emerging. New knowledge from this field affords tremendous potential for positive feedback into the design and delivery of existing programs as well as future policy making. This special edition positions American Journal of Distance Education as a principal forum for the scholarly discourse about this burgeoning field.