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eLearn Enters a New Era

By Alison Carr-Chellman / January 2014

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eLearn Magazine is entering a new era and will look and feel rather different in the coming months. Here is a preview of what is new and what is coming.

First, since I'm the new Editor in Chief, allow me to introduce myself. I've only been at the helm for a few months, and am extremely grateful for all the hard work of my previous editors who guided this online magazine through some early developmental phases and set us up to have an exceptional impact on the eLearning field. I'm also grateful to the Association of Computing Machinery for their willingness to support this outlet and continue to hold very high standards for all submissions to the magazine.

Although I am currently leading the helm of eLearn, it may be surprising to know I was once quite suspicious of the promises of online learning some 15 years ago. I even fought hard to keep my own program at Penn State from starting online programs and insisted on clear "firewalls" between the traditional residential programs and the online program. Since then I've become a convert. Due in part to the amazing colleagues I work with at PSU's World Campus, I've come to believe some of the serious concerns predicted by scholars like David Noble (who's work I have the utmost of respect for) could be mitigated by devoted professionals who want to see eLearning happen in a quality and competent fashion. I even presented a TED talk regarding some of the negative financial implications of online K-12 cyber-charter schools just a couple of years ago. So I come to this task with a very balanced, even critical viewpoint that I believe will strengthen all of our content and offerings in the future.

While I still see some dangerous waters ahead if we don't pay close attention to a balance between quality and market, I am now a firm believer that eLearning needs to be a part of any organization's strategic planning, be it a corporation, a school, a university or college, or a non-profit—even a museum needs to be thinking about eLearning as a potential outreach activity. As such, I hope eLearn will become more responsive to the need for quality information, research, theory, and cases for all of these audiences. A broader scope will be part of our future going forward.

In addition, at our most recent meeting of the editorial board, we explored deeply the meaning of eLearn, its purpose, its audience, and what we can do to build its brightest future. As a result of two days of careful consideration, teamwork, examinations of reader surveys, and great debates, we established a series of column specialties with specific board representation and leadership. Below is the current brief on these column charters:

  1. K-12 blended and online learning; Chair: Kathryn Kennedy: Focuses on disseminating information on the use of e-Learning in k-12 settings including cybercharters, district led online schools, and blended applications of eLearning in elementary and secondary schools.
  2. Instructor development; Chair: Laurence B. Boggess: Focuses on how we work with instructors in eLearning contexts, how we build capacity among those who have not taught online before, and how we strategically engage ongoing professional development for eLearning instructors.
  3. Design for learning (including evaluation); Chair: Simone C. O. Conceição: Here we address all manners of instructional design for eLearning including analysis, development, design, implementation and evaluation across many platforms and approaches.
  4. International online education; Chair: Olaf Zawacki-Richter: Addresses the needs of eLearning in a wide variety of international contexts with a particular interest in the cultural implications of eLearning internationally.
  5. Emerging technologies; Chair: Clark Quinn: Focuses on what new technologies are available and what those new technologies can provide to eLearning in the future. This includes reviews of new software and hardware as well as broad understandings of new technology as new approaches.
  6. Management; Chair: Ann Taylor: Focuses on issues of leadership and managing eLearning such as quality assurance, return on investment ROI, strategy, costs, administration and budgeting.
  7. Corporate; Chair: David Kelly: Focuses on the applications of eLearning to corporations who employ eLearning for training purposes. This includes consulting for corporations, cases of application of eLearning to corporate training and development, non-profits and NGO's.
  8. Higher education; Chair: Melissa A. Venable: Focuses on the applications of eLearning to higher education to include colleges, universities, career and technical schools, and community colleges.
  9. Nonformal/Informal; Chair: Mark Britz: Focuses on the applications of eLearning in nonformal and informal contexts such as after school programs, museums, arboretums, clubs, libraries and other similar organizations. This area also includes the ongoing examination of the intersection of nonformal/informal learning and eLearning applications as a field of study.

This may help to give you all a good idea of the kinds of areas we plan to focus on in the coming years. Overlaying all of these charges is our primary focus on being the center of a confluence of research and practice. We really want to see our Magazine as a place where theorists and researchers are able to learn from practitioners and practitioners, likewise, will learn from theories and current research. We are excited about this new direction and believe it will help us to reach our readers with a growing body of high-quality information and thinking about the future of eLearn Magazine.

About the Author

Dr. Alison A. Carr Chellman is editor-in-chief of eLearn Magazine. She has been a professor of Instructional Systems at the Pennsylvania State University for 17 years and currently serves as the Head of the Learning and Performance Systems department. She has written more than 100 articles, books, book chapters, and papers on topics related to school change with a particular emphasis on those populations who are underserved by the current system. Her recent TED Talk, Gaming to re-engage boys in learning, has brought international attention to the issues facing boys in the current educational system and ways that digital learning media may be used to highlight the mismatch between boy culture and school culture.

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2014 Copyright held by the Owner/Author. 1535-394X/14/02-2576836



  • Mon, 03 Mar 2014
    Post by Lisa Gualtieri

    How exciting to read about your role and your plans! Best of luck.

    Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM Founding Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine