Guidelines for Authors
JOLT welcomes papers on all aspects of online learning and teaching in higher education. Topics may include, but are not limited to: learning theory and the use of multimedia to improve online learning; instructional design theory and its application to online learning; online learning and teaching projects and initiatives; use of emerging web-based tools and technologies in online education; blending of online and face-to-face teaching modes; networked learning using mobile devices; innovative online learning and teaching strategies and practices.
The following fall outside the scope of the journal:
- Manuscripts that pertain to an education sector other than higher education (e.g., K-12);
- Manuscripts that relate broadly to learning and teaching but do not deal specifically with (or relate only tangentially to) online learning and teaching;
- Manucripts that report on the use of technology in exclusively face-to-face classroom delivery;
- Manuscripts whose content is purely technical or whose sole focus is on the development of technology, with little or no regard given to pedagogy and/or instructional/learning design.
TYPES OF MANUSCRIPTS
Research Papers: These are papers that report empirical studies aimed at investigating a particular aspect of online learning and teaching. They typically review extant literature relevant to the study and describe in detail the methods that have been employed to address one or more explicit research aims or questions, before presenting the results and findings of the study and situating them within the broader context of the extant literature. Research Papers must include a clear demonstration of how the study being reported builds on and/or extends what has already been done by others to make a useful and original contribution to knowledge in the field, as well as a discussion of the implications of the study's findings for practice and/or policy. Recommendations for future research should also be provided.
Case Studies: These are papers that describe a particular institutional, program, or course setting in order to contribute to the development and sharing of "good practice" or "best practice" in online learning and teaching. Their goal is often to showcase innovative or exemplary approaches or solutions to specific problems/challenges. To this end, they present a discussion of the problem/challenge with reference to relevant literature, what was done to solve or explore it, and the results and outcomes of the initiative, based on an analysis of systematically gathered evaluation data. An important element of all Case Study papers is the offering of evidence-based suggestions for others beyond the local scenario of the case.
Concept Papers: These are papers that propose new theoretical/conceptual models or frameworks relevant to online learning and teaching. They incorporate an in-depth review and synthesis of extant literature and show how the development of the framework or model that is being proposed has been informed and guided by the literature. These papers usually do not report empirical or evaluation data, but they include an outline of the further research needed to validate the model or framework, along with examples of how the model or framework may be applied/used (where appropriate).
Position Papers: These are scholarly opinion pieces/essays that provide original perspectives, interpretations, and insights pertaining to some aspect of research, practice, or policy in online learning and teaching. For example, they may consider a practical problem or researchable issue in online learning and teaching and offer a suggested solution or direction. The position being put forward is supported with both a logical argument and a thorough review of the pertinent literature. (This, along with the requirement of an academic writing style, differentiates Position Papers published in JOLT from those seen in non-refereed/trade journals.) As with Concept Papers, Position Papers do not normally contain any empirical data.
- All manuscripts must be submitted electronically via the JOLT Manuscript Management System (MMS). Submissions will not be accepted via e-mail.
- Manuscripts must be in Microsoft Word .doc or .docx format; no other file formats (e.g., PDF) will be accepted. Zip archives may be used for final submissions (where the manuscript has been accepted for publication following peer review) comprising multiple files that need to be submitted, but their use is strongly discouraged for initial submissions.
- Manuscripts should not exceed 6,000 words, excluding abstract and references.
- Manuscripts must be written in English, double-spaced, including quotations and references, and employ a 12-point Arial (sans serif) font.
- American English spelling should be used, as should American punctuation conventions, including the placement of commas and periods before closing quotation marks ("like this," not "like this",) and the use of serial/Harvard commas ("a, b, and c" as opposed to "a, b and c").
- Use of personal pronouns ("I," "we," "our," etc.) is strongly discouraged in all but Position Papers and Instructional Design Notes. Use third-person (e.g., "the author" instead of “I”) or passive voice (e.g., “data were collected” instead of “we collected data”) whenever possible.
- All abbreviations and acronyms should be spelled out in full the first time they appear in the manuscript text.
- All manuscripts must include a brief but informative abstract. The abstract should not exceed 200 words and should describe the scope of the work and the main findings. References to the literature should not be included in the abstract. The abstract must be included in the manuscript file as well as on the online submission form within the MMS.
- A set of 5-10 keywords should follow the abstract to assist in indexing the article. These should not duplicate words appearing in the title and should be listed in order of importance. The keywords must be included in the manuscript file as well as on the online submission form within the MMS.
- To ensure the integrity of the blind peer review process, all identifying details must be removed from the manuscript file before it is submitted. This includes deleting authors' names from the text and replacing any in-text citations and reference list entries that refer to the authors' work with non-identifying placeholders. In addition, author identification should be removed from the file properties and hidden elements within the file. (The procedure for doing this varies according to the version of Microsoft Word being used; please click on the version you are using for instructions specific to your version: Word 2002 (XP), Word 2003, Word 2007, Word 2010/2013, Word for Mac). The name of the file also should not contain any indication of the authors' identities. Submission of a manuscript file that has not been properly de-identified will result in delays to the processing of your manuscript.
- Where appropriate, the following suggested format is recommended:
Main text (Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion)
- Headers, footers, footnotes, and endnotes must NOT be employed.
- Articles may include graphics and hyperlinks to online multimedia objects or other online materials, where the latter are indicated and linked using the hyperlink tool provided in MS Word. Authors should ensure that all links are active at the time of submission. All graphics must be placed at the appropriate location in the manuscript.
- All tables must be generated using the Table function in Word. All tables and graphic figures must be placed at the appropriate locations in the paper. In general no more than 10 tables and/or 6 figures should be included in a paper. Exceptions require approval by the JOLT Editors.
- The following spellings should be used in all manuscripts submitted: online, website, web page, homepage, Internet, Web, URL, e-mail, e-learning, e-journal, HTML, PDF, download, screenshot, freeware, and CD-ROM.
- Citations and references should be prepared according to the 6th Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Excellent online tutorials of APA style elements can be found at http://www.apastyle.org/learn/tutorials/basics-tutorial.aspx and http://www.vanguard.edu/faculty/ddegelman/index.aspx?doc_id=796.
- By submitting a manuscript to JOLT, authors warrant that it is original material, has not been published elsewhere, and is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere. They also warrant that the sources of any ideas and/or words in the manuscript that are not their own have been properly attributed through appropriate citations and/or quotes, and that they have read, understood, and agree to JOLT's Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement.
- Once the Editors determine that the manuscript is appropriate for the journal, the manuscript is sent through a double-blind peer review by two reviewers selected by the Editors. Names of reviewers will not be released to authors, nor will reviewers know the identities of authors whose work they review. The reviewers apply specific review criteria developed by the JOLT Editorial Board, and make one of four recommendations:
Acceptance of the manuscript as submitted;
Acceptance of the manuscript following minor changes, with no need for an additional round of peer reviews;
Acceptance of the manuscript following major changes and a further round of peer reviews;
Rejection of the manuscript.
Final publication decisions will be made by the Editors, taking into account the recommendations of the reviewers. Authors will be notified of the Editors’ publication decisions and will be provided copies of the reviewers' comments. JOLT generally strives to advise authors of the disposition of their manuscripts within six to eight weeks of submission. However, it is important to remember that members of JOLT's Reviewer Panel do not receive compensation for their services; their reviewing activities therefore must, by nature, not be a top priority for them as their employment demands and responsibilities take precedence over the work they do for the journal. Authors should not become upset or discouraged if the time lapse between submission and notification of outcome is longer than desired.
- Once an article has been accepted for publication, authors will be expected to submit a revised version of the article, including any recommended changes, in a timely manner.
- Authors should note that all articles published in JOLT will be copyrighted using a Creative Commons "Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike" license. This license allows the authors to retain the copyright, but also allows others to copy, distribute, and display the copyrighted work, and derivative works based upon it, under certain specified conditions. Details regarding this license and its conditions can be found at the Creative Commons web site: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/.