Call: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) – Special issue of Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT)

Call for Papers – Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT)
Special Issue: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Proposal Submission Deadline: November 15, 2012
Full Paper Submission Deadline: January 31, 2013

Guest Editors:
George Siemens, Athabasca University, Canada
Valerie Irvine, University of Victoria, Canada
Jillianne Code, University of Victoria, Canada

Online learning is one of the fastest-growing segments of the education system. One of the recent innovations is the massive open online course (MOOC). Since 2008, numerous MOOCs have been run by public and elite universities. Most recently, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and other universities have embraced the MOOC format through significant resource allocation. MOOCs are not solely confined to elite US universities, as the format is now offered by institutions and education systems around the world.

While MOOCs are beginning to burgeon in the higher education space, research in the area is still very limited. For educators, learning designers, and university administrators, making decisions around MOOC design and deployment can be difficult given the lack of published research. A special issue of the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) is planned for Summer 2013 that will address the weak MOOC research base. Both papers reporting on empirical studies/evaluations (research papers, case studies) as well as conceptual and position papers will be considered for publication in the special issue (see for descriptions of the types of papers JOLT accepts). Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

Case Studies

  • Experiences of learners in MOOCs
  • What MOOC models can teach us about face-to-face or hybrid courses (MOOC-ification)
  • 21st-Century skills/literacies needed in MOOCs
  • Planning, designing, and running a MOOC
  • Business models for MOOCs
  • MOOCs across subject areas and disciplines
  • MOOCs across education stages and sectors
  • MOOCs in different parts of the world
  • Case-study comparison of different MOOCs

Learning (Instructional) Design/Pedagogy of MOOCs

  • Learning design methodology and practices with MOOCs
  • MOOCs as flexible platforms for critical pedagogical discourse
  • MOOCs as process, MOOCs as content – pedagogical implications
  • Social and cultural issues for interactions among global MOOC students
  • MOOCs and formative assessment
  • MOOCs and educational data mining/learning analytics

Theoretical/Conceptual Issues

  • Metrics of success and failure in MOOCs
  • Summative assessment and accreditation of the MOOC (badge theories, certifications, portfolios)
  • Value of MOOCs for faculty, research and interdisciplinary/team-teaching models
  • Critiques of the MOOC format
  • Learning theory and MOOCs
  • Learning sciences and MOOCs
  • MOOCs from senior administration and leadership perspectives
  • Sustainability of MOOCs
  • Security and privacy in MOOCs
  • Physical meetups in MOOCs
  • MOOCs in a realigning higher education space (e.g., role/place in formal and non-formal education, implications for for-profit online education providers)

Future Directions

  • MOOCs and mobile environments
  • MOOCs and virtual worlds/MMORPGs
  • MOOCs and augmented/mixed reality
  • MOOCs and data collection and analytics

Authors of prospective papers for the special issue are invited to submit via e-mail to the Guest Editors, on or before November 15, 2012, a proposal in the form of an extended abstract of approximately 500 words outlining the content and aims of the proposed paper. Proposals are to be submitted via e-mail to and should include a list of core and other relevant references (not included in the word count).

Authors will be notified no later than November 30, 2012 as to the status of their proposals. Full manuscripts prepared in accordance with JOLT’s Guidelines for Authors ( will need to be submitted by January 31, 2013 via the JOLT Manuscript Management System ( with an indication in the “Comments” field that the submission is for the JOLT special issue on MOOCs.

The full manuscripts will be subject to double-blind review based on the standard JOLT manuscript review criteria ( as well as relevance to the special issue. The results will be made available to authors on or before March 31, 2013, and they will have until April 30, 2013 to make revisions in light of the reviewers’ feedback.

Accepted papers will be published in the Summer 2013 issue of JOLT (scheduled for release in June 2013).

For more information, please contact the Guest Editors at


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