Call for Papers – Special Issue of Journal of Online Learning Research

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K-12 online learning has grown dramatically the last decade. Despite its popularity among diverse parents and students (Beck, Maranto, & Egalite, 2014; Beck, Maranto, & Lo, 2014), it is becoming increasingly clear that this growth has occurred despite course completion rates and standardized test scores that are sometimes much lower than those found in face-to-face classrooms (Freidhoff, 2015; Miron, Gulosino, & Horvitz, 2015; Woodworth, Raymond, Chirbas, Gonzalez, Negassi, Snow, & Van Donge, 2015).

Online learning can be especially challenging for new students because they “not only need to learn a subject online but need to learn how to learn online” (Lowes & Lin, 2015, p. 18). As a result, many students require a high level of support and interaction from online teachers, on-site facilitators/mentors, parents and peers (Borup, West, Graham, & Davies, 2014; Harms, Niederhauser, Davis, Roblyer, & Gilbert, 2006).

However, there is a large variance in the level of student support that programs provide. Some online schools provide little more than a correspondence environment while other programs blend high levels of face-to-face and online support (Borup & Drysdale, 2014; Harms et al., 2006). Other programs provide only online support and rely on parents to facilitate students’ learning (Hasler Waters, Menchaca, & Borup, 2014). More research is needed regarding student support systems and interactions in online and blended learning environments. For this special issue of the Journal of Online Learning Research, the co-editors are seeking submissions that address this need.


Suggested topics related to K-12 online and blended student support systems and interactions include but are not limited to:

  • Program-provided and student-generated support systems
  • Teachers’ tutoring and formative feedback practices
  • Teacher online presence
  • Teacher-student communication
  • Parent-teacher communication and collaboration
  • Student-student communication, collaboration and tutoring
  • Student-system communication and collaboration
  • On-site facilitator/mentor practices and support models
  • Teacher-facilitator/mentor communication and collaboration
  • Parental engagement and involvement activities
  • Learning communities and social presence
  • Student needs and motivation
  • Parent outreach and support programs
  • On-site facilitator/mentor professional development
  • Support systems for vulnerable student populations (e.g., special education, at-risk, English language learners, racial minorities)
  • Blended learning models that emphasize student support

Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research articles are welcome. Research should be grounded in the existing literature and/or theoretical frameworks. Conceptual or theoretical articles will also be considered.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit manuscripts directly through the AACE Publications submission link:

Do not send manuscripts to the Guest Editors. The manuscripts must go through a double-blind review process. Please note that contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project. Authors are encouraged to contact the Guest Editors to propose an idea for submission to ensure the appropriateness of the proposed study for this venue.


Deadline for Submissions: April 20, 2016
Authors informed of decisions: June 20, 2016
Anticipated special issue publication: November 2016

Guest Editors

Dr. Jered Borup
[email protected]

Dr. Lisa Hasler Waters
[email protected]

Dr. Dennis Beck
[email protected]


Beck, D., Jacobs, A. & Maranto, R. (2014).Why they choose and how it goes: Comparing special education and general education cyber student perceptions. Computers & Education, 76, 70-79.

Beck, D. E., Maranto, R., & Lo, W. J. (2014). Determinants of student and parent satisfaction at a cyber charter school. The Journal of Educational Research, 107(3), 209-216.

Borup, J., & Drysdale, J. S. (2014). On-site and online facilitators: Current and future direction for research. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 325–346). ETC Press. Retrieved from

Borup, J., West, R. E., Graham, C. R., & Davies, R. S. (2014). The Adolescent Community of Engagement: A framework for research on adolescent online learning. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 22(1), 107–129.

Freidhoff, J. R. (2015). Michigan’s K-12 virtual learning effectiveness report 2013-2014. Lansing, MI: Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. Retrieved from

Harms, C. M., Niederhauser, D. S., Davis, N. E., Roblyer, M. D., & Gilbert, S. B. (2006). Educating educators for virtual schooling: Communicating roles and responsibilities. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 16(1 & 2). Retrieved from

Hasler Waters, L., Menchaca, M. P., & Borup, J. (2014). Parental involvement in K-12 online and blended learning. In R. E. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 325–346). ETC Press. Retrieved from

Lowes, S., & Lin, P. (2015). Learning to learn online: Using locus of control to help students become successful online learners. Journal of Online Learning Research, 1(1), 17–48.

Miron, G., Gulosino, C., & Horvitz, B. (2014). Section III: Full time virtual schools. In A. Molnar (Ed.), Virtual schools in the U.S. 2014 (pp. 55–73). Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from

Woodworth, J. L., Raymond, M. E., Chirbas, K., Gonzalez, M., Negassi, Y., Snow, W., & Van Donge, C. (2015). Online charter school study. Stanford, CA. Retrieved from

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Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) is a non-biased organization that exists to expand Michigan’s ability to support new learning models, engage in active research to inform new policies in online and blended learning, and strengthen the state’s infrastructures for sharing best practices. MVLRI works with all online learning environments to develop the best practices for the industry as a whole.

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