Open Praxis has reached two years of regular publication in its new stage, when it was relaunched as the ICDE scholarly, peer-reviewed and open access journal. During this period -2013 and 2014- 2 volumes / 8 issues have been published.

In this brief report, that completes those presented in previous issues (Gil-Jaurena, 2014a, 2014b), we highlight some relevant data and figures that provide an overview of the work we have developed and the achievements we have reached.

Table 1 presents 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). Figures are stable when referred to papers received and published and acceptance rates (around 60%). Number of authors and reviewers have increased. Paper views, being cumulative, are logically higher in volume 5.



Table 1. Journal statistics per year


2013, volume 5 issues 1-4

2014, volume 6 issues 1-4

Issues published

4

4

Items published

38

35

Research papers

21

16

Innovative practice papers

2

6

Special papers (ICDE prizes 2013, OCWC papers 2014)

9

9

Editorial

4

4

Software reviews

2

-

Total submissions

56

52

Rejected before peer-review

10

10

Peer reviewed

44

42

Accepted

32

31

Days to review

44

35

Days to publication

125

100

Acceptance rate

60,70%

59,61%

Number of authors

65

81

Average authors per paper

1,7

2,3

Number of reviewers

45

53

Abstract views (until 15th December 2014)

135236

58571

Full paper views (until 15th December 2014)

75030

22631



A total of 137 authors (excluding editor) have contributed to volumes 5 and 6. Five of them have published two papers in this two-year period. Considering the international scope of the journal (see http://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/about/editorialPolicies#focusAndScope), contributions need to be geographically and institutionally balanced. Both published volumes meet these requirements (table 2). A total of 66 institutions have had authors published in 2013 and 2014. 25 of them are ICDE member institutions. Published papers were from 19 different countries in 2013 and from 16 different countries in 2014.


Table 2. Authors' international balance

Contributions

Journal guidelines

Volume 5 (2013)

Volume 6 (2014)

From UNED

Maximum 10%

2,94%

6,45%

From Spain

Maximum 25%

2,94%

16,13%

From Europe

Maximum 50%

17,65%

41,94%

From a wide range of regions other than Europe

Minimum 25%

82,35%

58,06%


About reviewers, they also reflect a geographical and institutional balance, as shown in the list of reviewers available in Open Praxis website (http://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/pages/view/reviewer). A total of 45 reviewers undertook reviews for volume 5 and 53 did so for volume 6. From them, 12 have repeated as reviewers in both years. Approximately 59% of the reviewers belong to ICDE member institutions, and 59% hold a PhD.


Regarding visitors and readers, figure 1 shows their location. Since publication of issue 5(1) in January 2013 until December 15th 2014, we have had visits from 175 countries, being the top ten the following (in descending order): United States, Spain, United Kingdom, India, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Germany and Philippines (info provided by Google Analytics).


Figure 1. Location of visitors to Open Praxis website



We can appreciate an increasing impact in academic publications. Open Praxis has had 133 citations to papers published in 2013 and 2014. Specifically, 26 papers out of 38 in volume 5 have received a total of 118 citations, and 8 papers out of 35 in volume 6 have received a total of 15 citations. Open Praxis h-index is 15 (source: Google Scholar). Figure 2 shows citations per year, highlighting period covered since the relaunching of the journal.



Figure 2. Citations to Open Praxis per year. 1986-2014



After this brief report on Open Praxis figures in 2013 and 2014, let's introduce this first Open Praxis issue in volume 7, which includes six articles in the research papers section, one in the innovative practice papers section, and a book review.


Terry Anderson, Lorne Upton, Jon Dron, Judi Malone and Bruno Poelhuber (Social Interaction in Self-paced Distance Education) present a case study, the analysis of a experience in a regular course where they have moved self-study to a more social context. By enhancing a cognitive behavioral pedagogy based course with a social interaction layer and other variations that are detailed in the paper, the authors explain how students and tutors have interacted, contributed and valued the learning experience. With a reflective and exhaustive approach, the authors present results, discussion and recommendations, both for practice and for future research, highlighting relevant lessons learned for enhancing a connectivist social learning opportunity.


Jenny Mackness and Frances Bell (Rhizo14: A Rhizomatic Learning cMOOC in Sunlight and in Shade) also focus on a connectivist experience, an experimental MOOC in this case, for which they provide a learners' perspective, being themselves participants in the open course. They present a literature review and describe the research developed, where participants in the cMOOC were asked and expresses positive and negative aspects experimented as learners. The paper also highlights ethical implications in MOOCs and in research about MOOCs.


Covering a different topic, Jack Matlou Chokwe (Students’ and tutors’ perceptions of feedback on academic essays in an open and distance learning context) collects students' and instructors' views to analyze the use and misuse of feedback as an opportunity for learning. After establishing a conceptual frame about the relevance of feedback, the study reflects how students value, but sometimes miss, good quality feedback. On tutors’ side, the study shows how feedback about grammar mistakes prevails over feedback about content. The paper includes recommendations for effective feedback.


Mayra Lucía González Córdova, Marcela Georgina Gómez Zermeño and Irma Antonia García Mejía (Perspectives on influencing aspects for students' acceptance of multimedia materials in training programs), from a face-to-face context, analyze five aspects that students and instructors perceive have an influence on the acceptance of multimedia and educational technology in continuing education: comprehension of the course contents, perspective on the use of educational technology, beliefs of multimedia learning, requirement of multimedia materials, and academic performance. These results may lead to improve instructional design and to implement multimedia more effectively.

Next two papers relate to competence and skills development in virtual environments.


Muhammad Zaheer, Sadia Jabeen and Mubasher Majeed Qadri (Role of e-learning in capacity building: An Alumni View) present a survey-based study with students at Virtual University of Pakistan. After a literature review, they explore the contribution of e-learning in capacity building of students in developing countries with a specific focus on Pakistan, via collecting students' opinion. Both students' competences and success factors are analyzed, and conclusions are positive with regards to contribution of e-learning to capacity building, which highlights the relevance of e-learning as a delivery mode for providing access to education in developing contexts.


Alexandra Okada, Antonio Serra, Silvar Ribeiro and Sonia Pinto, in their paper Key skills for co-learning and co-inquiry in two open platforms: a massive portal (EDUCARED) and a personal environment (weSPOT), also address the development of skills, in this case by analyzing and comparing the experience in two digital environments for co-learning and co-inquiry. After describing those two environments and presenting a competence model developed by the research team (funded by European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme) and a large literature review about competences in a digital era, the authors highlight and compare the skills developed in the two platforms.


In the innovative practice section, Heather Sanguins (Strength in Numbers: Learning Together in Online Communities – A Learner Support System for Adult First Nation Students and Practitioners) builds upon the political and cultural requirement of providing a learner support system that addresses First Nation adult students' needs. She argues about the appropriateness of building this innovative support system by using online communities of interest and practice, given the relevance of 'community' for First Nations. With a rich conceptual background, the paper leads to a proposal that the author would pilot in a future research.


Finally, Tony Hetrick presents a Book review of The new landscape of mobile learning: Redesigning education in an app-based world, a book edited by Charles Miller and Aaron Doering and published in 2014.


We hope that this diverse set of papers will invite to discussion and innovation in open, distance and flexible education.


Special thanks from Open Praxis to the authors and reviewers who have contributed to this issue.


References


Gil-Jaurena, I. (2014a). Brief report on Open Praxis dissemination, abstracting and impact. Open Praxis, 6(3), 201-203. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.6.3.149


Gil-Jaurena, I. (2014b). Brief report on Open Praxis editorial process. Open Praxis, 6(4), 317–319. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.6.4.169

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