As the fourth Special Edition of eLearning Papers will be published in a few days. We invited Tapio Koskinen, the board’s Director of eLearning Papers, to tell us about this first issue of the year, and to share his ideas on Open Education.
The fourth special edition of eLearning Papers is fresh off the press. What will we be able to read in it?
This is the third time I help prepare the special edition, which involves choosing the most interesting and popular articles published during the past 12 months, and then selecting a representative set of topics.
One of our most widely read issues in 2012 focused on Cyber Security, for example. For the special edition, we picked a Finnish article on “Children’s Experiences of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse on the Internet”, a problem that is more widespread than what we, adults, might think.
We also published an issue in the context of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 from which we took a very interesting “From the field” article on mobility, international students and challenges of Lifelong Learning.
In the creative classrooms’ issue – probably this last year’s most important one – we had a wonderful article outlining the concept of creative classrooms (how they are developing and their future trends) from our frequent contributor Yves Punie and also from Panagiotis Kampylis and Stefania Bocconi.
So, would you highlight this particular article?
Indeed! It might just be the best one amongst last year’s articles. It is not only really important but also nicely linked with the European Commission’s policy priorities at the moment.
Also, from our issue on learning and work–which had many good articles–we choose a “From the field” article (although it could also be considered an in-depth article) about using serious games and apps for learning.
You mentioned the terms “From the field” and “In-depth” articles? What is the difference between the two?
It was never our intention to be strictly an academic journal. Since the very beginning we have been addressing practitioners and trying to bring them together with researchers, academia and policy makers.
We look at eLearning from a broad perspective, which is why we decided to include these two categories. With “From the field” articles people can share their experiences from projects and practical work without having to “compete” with very extensive research papers. In my opinion this model has been quite well received.
You have been director the board of the eLearning Papers for a long time, how do you see the portal’s evolution?
My predecessor and the first director of the board, Roberto Carneiro from Portugal, did a lot to get this initiative started. During my time in the position, we have managed to develop a dynamic and effective way of working remotely by using digital tools.
The portal itself also met a few changes to reflect the division between “From the field” and “In-depth” articles, and the improvements in the review and selection process, but the greatest change was definitely the publishing format. We decided a few years ago that since we are eLearning Papers, we should publish the material not just on the portal or paper-based formats but also as an online magazine. Since then, we have had three issues published as a downloadable PDFs.
Which topics will eLearning Papers address in 2013?
The first issue will address learning analytics, a very hot topic in all areas of ICT applied in education and learning. The following issues will be just as interesting, with topics ranging from learning spaces design, creative classrooms and personal learning environments, to an even hotter topic such as MOOCs, which will be the third issue. By the end of the year we will also have an issue focusing on digital literacy and e-competencies.
We keep hearing about "open education" and MOOCs lately. How do you think this will transform the educational world?
A couple of decades ago, when elearning first appeared, many people were saying that digitalisation was going to revolutionise the learning processes. In reality things have not changed that much and the same people became disappointed to see universities using the digital tools for administration rather than bringing them into the classroom and beyond.
I believe that open education as a concept, opening access to knowledge, content and learning is the main driving force of today. It’s actually the first time we see big changes coming to education and learning that are being enabled by digitalisation, for example, social and participatory media tools have made MOOCs and open learning resources possible and are opening a path to change as we speak.
Thank you for your time, Tapio.
Before we finish, I would like to emphasize the fact that we are the only journal in this field being published in Europe in 6 different languages. We are most thankful to our readers, contributors and guest editors, who inspire us and make it possible for us to keep on working and to continuously improve eLearning Papers.
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