Student-Centered Electronic Journals in the Field of Education: An Overview of Four Journals

Technology and scholarship permeate the educational experience for students enrolled in graduate education programs. Many graduate instructors seek viable methods to enhance their students' growth as scholars and technologists. Ideally, graduate education programs should integrate technology throughout the curriculum. Research and critical reading skills should be integrated as well. These skills are vital in the development of technologically literate student scholars.

One way to insure students gain these skills is through the use of an electronic apprenticeship program that provides students an opportunity 1) to manage technology within a real world setting and 2) to apply various scholarly tools to the experience of working as online journal editors and reviewers.

Four electronic scholarly journals aspire to do just that. The journals, Current Issues in Education (CIE), Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education (EJITE), International Journal of Educational Technology (IJET), and Meridian: A Middle School Computer Technologies Journal, provide a forum for graduate students to learn first hand about the scholarly publication process while working as editors and peer reviewers. These electronic journals are an outgrowth of graduate education programs that seek to extend the usefulness of the Internet as a teaching and learning tool. Several of the journals are components of courses. Others rely on graduate student volunteers. All of the journals discussed promote greater interactivity and student control over the learning process (see Table 1 for additional information).

Current Issues in Education

CIE’s mission is "to advance scholarly thought by publishing articles promoting dialogue, research, practice, and policy as well as developing a community of scholarship" (See CIE web site, http://cie.asu.edu/index.html). The refereed journal, a publication of the College of Education at Arizona State University features commentary and research articles on a broad spectrum of educational topics. External reviewers, drawn from the greater educational community, work with student editors and reviewers to select articles for inclusion in each volume. CIE uses a rolling publication format. As new articles are posted online, CIE uses Listserv software to inform its readership. Recent volumes have addressed educational theory, technology integration among preservice teachers, and educational policy. Six volumes have been published since 1998 (38 articles; 65 authors as of press time*). 12 (32%) manuscripts include ASU authors. (Note: CIE's acceptance rate was not made available as of press time).

Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education

EJITE is a peer-reviewed journal published by the College of Education at Idaho State University (see EJITE web site, http://ejite.isu.edu/).As its title suggests EJITE focuses on technology integration in PK-16 settings. The journal features research findings, practical articles, book and software reviews, and commentary. Graduate students who work as editors and peer reviewers assist in the journal's mission. External reviewers and COE faculty assist students in selecting articles for publication. Published authors are invited to join the review board following publication in the journal. The journal, which is published bi-annually, had a 52% acceptance rate for the first volume (2002). EJITE, in publication since 2001, has published 9 manuscripts involving 22 authors*. Three out of 10 manuscripts (30%) list ISU authors. Submissions are limited to graduate students, recent graduates (within 5 years of graduation), and K-12 teachers.

International Journal of Educational Technology

The International Journal of Educational Technology (IJET) is an international publication in the field of educational technology (see IJET web site, http://www.outreach.uiuc.edu/ijet/). Education faculty and graduate students at the University of Western Australia and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign publish the refereed journal. IJET seeks to publish bi-annually. However, the past year saw publication of one volume. This "double" volume contained a year's worth of articles (fifteen manuscripts and two showcase articles on exemplary Instructional technology programs). The journal, which as been publishing since 1999, has a 40% accepted rate. Forty-two manuscripts involving 84 authors have been featured in past volumes*. Seven (17%) manuscripts list UWA or UIUC authors. Topics published in the journal include current and emerging technologies, online and distance education topics, and the design of instruction.

Meridian: A Middle School Computer Technologies Journal

Meridian, a refereed journal published by the College of Education at North Carolina State University, features research and practice relating to the use of computer technology in middle school classrooms (see Meridian web site, http://www.ncsu.edu/meridian/). The journal has published bi-annually since 1998. Meridian features "research findings, practitioner articles, commentary, and book excerpts by educational researchers, technology designers, middle school teachers, and authors who wish to share and expand teaching and learning experiences with computer technologies in middle school classrooms and beyond" (Meridian, 2002). The journal, in existence since 1998, has published six volumes (60 articles; 106 authors*). Twenty-two (37%) articles were written by NCSU authors. Recent topics addressed in Meridian include: technology integration, children's literacy, and middle school science and math. (Note: an email request for Meridian's acceptance rate was not answered).

Conclusions

Between then the four journals have published 144 peer-reviewed articles involving 278 authors. However, forty-four (30.5 %) of the 144 articles published in the four journals come from locally affiliated authors. IJET did the best job of holding this number down (17%). IJET's acceptance rate (40%.) is notable as well.

Despite higher percentages of local authors, none of the other journals functions as an institutional organ. Each journal appears to be reducing their dependence on local authors as their readership increases. In fact, CIE has reduced its early dependence on locally produced manuscripts from 83% in its first volume to zero in the current volume (as of press time).

Students working on journals such as these are developing and refining their critical reading skills as a result of reading and make editorial decisions about a variety of manuscript formats (e.g., literature reviews and research and practitioner manuscripts). Each journal attempts to provide an authentic environment for their graduate students to develop the skills necessary for their future development as scholars and published authors.

Beverly B. Ray

EJITE Editor




(Note: Editorials are excluded from the totals. Numbers cited are current as of 04/22/03)