In this first issue in 2017, as we did in past years (Gil-Jaurena, 2015, 2016a), we briefly report on some illustrative statistics and information about Open Praxis development, covering until publication of volume 8 in 2016 and providing specific data about that volume. Table 1 includes different journal statistics: number of submissions and number of finally published papers; acceptance rates; number of authors and reviewers; paper views (as reported by OJS reports).
|2013, volume 5 issues 1-4||2014, volume 6 issues 1-4||2015, volume 7 issues 1-4||2016, volume 8 issues 1-4|
|Innovative practice papers||2||6||3||2|
|Software or book reviews||2||-||2||6|
|Rejected before peer-review||10||10||10||15 (+ 4 book reviews)|
|Days to review||44||35||49||58|
|Days to publication||125||100||92||150|
|Number of authors||65||81||71||65|
|Average authors per paper||1,7||2,3||2,15||1,91|
|Number of reviewers||45||53||61||59|
|Abstract views (until March 15th 2017)||330009||208271||113288||29297 (only issues 1, 2 and 3)|
|Full paper views (until March 15th 2017)||150978||98130||69717||18424 (only issues 1, 2 and 3)|
Open Praxis volume 8 had 61 authors (excluding editor) from 14 different countries that got their research papers, innovative practice papers or book reviews, a total of 30, accepted for publication. Considering the international scope of the journal, contributions are geographically and institutionally balanced. The 61 reviewers reflect a geographical and institutional balance, as well, as shown in the list available in the Open Praxis website (http://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/pages/view/reviewer).
Regarding visitors and readers, figure 1 shows their location. Since publication of issue 5(1) in January 2013 until February 28th 2017, the Open Praxis website has had visits from 197 countries, being the top ten the following (in descending order): United States, Spain, United Kingdom, India, Canada, South Africa, Palestine, Australia, Indonesia and Greece.
About the academic impact, citations to Open Praxis in scientific publications (journals, conference proceedings, books and other specialized works) have progressively increased since the relaunching of the journal in 2013 (figure 2). Open Praxis h-index is 20 (source: Google Scholar, March 20th, 2017).
After this brief report, what follows is an introduction to the first Open Praxis issue in volume 9, which includes seven articles in the research papers section and one innovative practice paper. Thanks to a grant we have received from OpenAIRE in the Alternative Funding Mechanism for APC-free Open Access journals and platforms under the EC FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot (https://blogs.openaire.eu/?p=1701), Open Praxis is undertaking some technical improvements, one of them being that the papers in this issue are published in three different formats: the traditional pdf is accompanied by html and xml versions. Another improvement relates to the inclusion of authors’ ORCID identifiers in each paper and metadata, as we informed in the last issue in 2016 (Gil-Jaurena, 2016b).
In the first article, Amy Collier and Jen Ross (For whom, and for what? Not-yetness and thinking beyond open content) introduce a new concept, not-yetness, that challenges the discourse about openness and technology and education from a critical perspective. Their analysis goes beyond the dichotomy open/close and puts the focus on overcoming simplification and raising issues of power and inclusion that widen the meanings of ‘open’ in education. The authors illustrate this new approach with examples, and the paper results on an invitation to educators to consider this new lens and reflect about open practices from a different perspective.
The next three papers report about studies undertaken in relation to online course experiences.
In this regard, Karl Parke, Nicola Marsden and Cornelia Connolly (Lay Theories Regarding Computer-Mediated Communication in Remote Collaboration) have explored students’ previous ideas about CMC and their evolution after experiencing it in a remote collaboration that involves students from various European universities in a master course, which includes CMC in the study contents. The paper describes the course and presents a qualitative analysis of students’ final reports, where their lay theories about CMC emerge. The authors discuss how the previous intuitive ideas and expectations evolve and change in most cases, highlighting the relevance of examining and challenging students lay theories.
In the next paper, Buddhini Gayathri Jayatilleke, Geetha Udayanganie Kulasekara, Malinda Bandara Kumarasinha and Charlotte Nirmalani Gunawardena (Implementing the First Cross-border Professional Development Online Course through International E-mentoring: Reflections and Perspectives) report on an international online course for online teachers that used the cycle of inquiry in its design. They collect qualitative information from learners (who were also academics in their respective institutions) and faculty. Thus, through reflective practice, they analyse the course and provide a set of useful recommendations for other faculty of managers willing to implement similar initiatives.
Finally, Ravi Murugesan, Andy Nobes and Joanna Wild (A MOOC approach for training researchers in developing countries) analyze a specific course, also addressed to academics, oriented to promoting research publishing among them. The course, implemented in a MOOC format, is based on the Community of Inquiry model. The authors describe and analyze it, providing information about learners’ profile and performance in the MOOC, as well as the results of a follow-up survey that measured the positive impact of the MOOC in improving research publishing.
Also dealing with the topic of MOOCs, Cengiz Hakan Aydin (Current Status of the MOOC Movement in the World and Reaction of the Turkish Higher Education Institutions) provides a detailed survey-based analysis of MOOCs in the Turkish context. Framed in a European project that explored MOOCs from a European perspective and confronted it to a USA perspective, this paper focuses on the specific results found in Turkey, in comparison with Europe and USA. The study covers topics of awareness, perspectives, adaptation strategies and refraining reasons regarding MOOCs in Turkish Higher Education, and includes identified challenges and recommendations at different levels.
The last two articles in the research papers section deal with open textbooks in USA contexts.
In the first one, Michael Troy Martin, Olga Maria Belikov, John Hilton III, David Wiley and Lane Fischer (Analysis of Student and Faculty Perceptions of Textbook Costs in Higher Education) document a survey based research develop in their university, where they have collected detailed opinions from students about textbook costs and from faculty about open textbooks as a type of OER. The authors advocate for open textbooks based on the results of the study, which provides evidence of the limitations derived from textbooks cost for many students and of the demand, from faculty, for support to move towards OER.
In the second paper about open textbooks, Emily Croteau (Measures of student success with textbook transformations: the Affordable Learning Georgia Initiative) focuses on analyzing the results of an already ongoing initiative, specifically its impact on students’ outcomes. Besides saving students’ money, this quantitative study shows that the initiative that replaced traditional textbooks with OER did not have a negative effect in various indicators, such as final grades or completion rates. Advocacy for OER becomes an issue in this paper, as well.
Finally, Andrea da Silva Marques Ribeiro, Esequiel Rodrigues Oliveira and Rodrigo Fortes Mello present an innovative practice paper (Building a Virtual Learning Environment to Foster Blended Learning Experiences in an Institute of Application in Brazil), which describes the experience in the educational centre (from elementary to high school) attached to their university where graduate and master students get part of their teacher education. The innovation consists in the implementation of a VLE, where students were involved also as part of their teacher education. The paper reports on the initiative, explaining different decisions made and envisioning next steps in the project.
We hope these contributions will invite to reflection and innovation in open, distance and flexible education.
Special thanks from Open Praxis to the authors and reviewers who have contributed to this issue.