Call for Papers – JOFDL

Proposal for a Themed Issue of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning

The Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning is a refereed journal published twice annually by the Distance Education Association of New Zealand ( It publishes a variety of articles relating to OFDL, including primary research investigations, literature reviews, the application of distance education innovations, and the experiences of teaching at a distance.
This is a call for papers for the themed issue to be published in early December 2012, co-edited by Rick Shearer, Director of World Campus Learning Design, Penn State University (USA) and Ben Kehrwald, Senior Lecturer, Academic Development, University of South Australia, on the theme: The evolution of Instructional Design in Open, Flexible and Distance Learning.
The field of instructional design is constantly evolving to keep up with changed demands in the education marketplace, calls for accountability, regulation and government oversight and the relentless advance of technology.  Today’s designs in technology-enhanced distance education are a far cry from the early text only web sites. They are more resource intensive, requiring more time to develop and larger development teams with a range of development skills.  As a result, instructional designers work in a complex and demanding space.  No longer is it adequate for them to simply act as technology or learning consultants to faculty. They must support faculty in iterative cycles of design and planning; multimedia production and editing; technology selection and use; structuring and management of online environments; quality control; computer-mediated communication; and evaluation with any eye toward continuous improvement.  Gone are the days of the Adam Smith “small shop” approach as institutions have started to move back to the team design approach. Thus, distance education institutions, whether dual mode or single mode must weigh the new costs of DE and determine if they can play in the field. An Institution’s strategic decisions around DE will impact how instructional designers approach the courses and programs they are tasked with supporting.
This special issue of JOFDL seeks to highlight recent developments in instructional design, conceived broadly to include all systematic approaches to the design, development and implementation of open, flexible and distance learning situations.
A variety of submissions will be considered including conceptual pieces which extend current thinking about instructional design, case studies which highlight the application of a particular design approach and research studies which seek to provide evidence in support of a particular design principle or feature.
As a guide, possible sub-themes are suggested:

  • Access – Systematic approaches to increasing openness and flexibility in historically campus-based programs: How do today’s designs promote or inhibit access? How do they take advantage of open infrastructure to support learning outside of ‘closed’ university systems?
  • Interaction and Dialogue – How do today’s designs promote productive interaction, critical thinking and dialogue?
  • Learner Control and Learning Autonomy – Given the flexibility of current and emerging technologies, there are opportunities for learners to have high degrees of control and autonomy. How can we move to a more learner centred design that provides for individual preferred learning styles and personalized learning environments?
  • Social Presence – Given the ubiquity of social networks and tools, how do today’s designs integrate and use the power of social connection whilst maintaining a quality learning experience and safe guarding the students’ information?
  • Cost – With the emergence again of rich media in our courses what is the impact on design, cost, scalability, and ROI for institutions? How much media can institutions implement into courses without shifting the balance from a positive or neutral return to operating in the red?
  • Reuse – Given the costs associated with contemporary design and development processes, how do we maximise the return on investment in design by creating designs which can be reused or repurposed?  Can we identify ‘genres’ of design that provide a starting point for similar design and development projects?  How can these designs described, recorded and shared?
  • Instructional Strategies and Models – How do the old and new models impact our designs around DE?  What is the blend of constructivist, active learning theory, and case based/authentic learning approaches in our courses? Given that best practice exists in context, how do we decide on the best instructional approaches, strategies and models?  What factors impact on these decisions?
  • Beyond Today – What is the next generation of course design? How will the new partnerships with the publishers and Apple impact how we think about today’s learning management system and how we design and distribute content?

Ideally, submissions will include a carefully developed argument in response to a single issue.  Engagement with recent scholarly publications is expected.  All submissions will be reviewed by a minimum of two reviewers in a double blind peer review process.
Prospective authors will need to register with JOFDL and make all submissions online:
Articles should be submitted by August 31, 2012 for consideration and review.
Questions and/or one-page article abstracts for preliminary feedback can be directed to the issue co-editor Ben Kehrwald (

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