This issue marks the re-development and re-design of E-JIST. We trust
you will enjoy sharing and contributing to the new issues.
We have extended the editorial team with the appointment of an Executive
Editor. Our Founding Editors continue with us, whilst now operating
from professorial appointments in other universities.
The design team has extended the interactive opportunities within the
Journal, so that not only is conceptual interaction invited as usual
but it is actively encouraged with the provision of Web facilities.
The printed, published, and issued journal has given way to the dynamic,
evolving and collaborative journal. Quite clearly, no one henceforth
has the 'last word' on any subject, unless perchance it is the data
archivist, who withdraws any issue into data archives; but even here
it will be retrievable, electronically, in a way that avoids the past
perils of storage of print materials and print proofs.
We invite presentations (that is, inputs potentially much wider than
just 'manuscripts') that explore the full dimensions of what is now
available electronically and the use of those dimensions in the promotion
of the science of instruction. What new instructional opportunities
are available now? What steps have we taken to test their efficacy?
What do we know of their efficiency? What changes have been introduced
into the dynamics of the instructional community? These are some of
the questions to which you might like to provide your answers for the
benefit of other readers.
For their part, readers may choose to respond to contributors' experiences,
by using the interactive windows in the Journal to express and share
their views. The Journal will provide a moderator for this activity.
That person's role will be to generally moderate, edit, control, guide,
and sum up the debate on any particular topic. This group interaction
should not in any way stifle private interaction between participants,
if you choose to engage in such activity.
This issue offers a range of inputs. There are formal theoretical papers.
There are current practice papers. There is a commentary on another
writer's work. There is a conference appraisal. There is a 'melting
pot' section where unrefined ideas are brought forward to be mulled
over, extended or contracted, defined and refined, etc. There is a resources
and links section, where readers can record discoveries of resources
to which they seek to draw the attention of others.
We hope you will be engaged enthusiastically as a reader and will want
to make your own unique contribution to the substance of the Journal.
In this issue, the Theory-based papers focus on the rapid maturation
and evolution of 'Fifth Generation' distance education beyond distance
education itself (Jim Taylor); on the theoretical and practical dialogue
dimensions of interactive Web-based instruction (Ann Shortridge) (as
illustrated in a course on poultry physiology); and to an argument for
the use of the Problem-based approach to Web-based Corporate Learning
(Cher Ping, Lim; Seng Chee, Tan; and Jeffrey Klimas). (With this latter
paper you may choose to examine the nexus between the problem-based
approach and the support structure and then move to another issue, namely,
to question the influence cultural learning styles plays in the adoption
of instructional strategies.)
The Practical papers describe how the introduction of the African
Digital Library was proposed, initiated, and implemented to service,
cheaply and expeditiously, 54 African nations with resources from the
world (Paul West); and how five steps were followed in the provision
of an online Histology course (Sherry McConnell and Regina Schoenfeld-Tacher).
(This latter paper has a very interesting side observation. Unknown
to the lecturer one of her students was a member of both her online
course and a different campus-based course. The lecturer notes she developed
a close relationship online, while the relationship in the anonymous
lecture theatre simply did not develop, since it was not till the end
of semester that the student identified herself.)
The Conference Commentary is from an experienced participant (Jannette
Kirkwood), one of the 1305 delegates from 88 countries, at the International
Council for Distance Education conference in Dusseldorf in April, 2001.
Inevitably 'digital divide' issues emerged as delegates debated what
esoteric innovation contributed to the provision of basic learning opportunity.
Other delegates may offer different perspectives.
For the Commentary section Madeleine McPherson chose Stephen Schatz's
attention-grabbing paper, 'Paradigm Shifts and Challenges for Instructional
Designers: An introduction to Meta Tags and Knowledge Bits'. It is a
useful paper and she brings a critical appraisal to it. The debate is
now thrown open to further comment from all parties.
For Melting Pot, we're not sure what will arrive there before the release
of the issue. That's part of its mystique. Likewise, Resources and Links
will be open-ended and an accumulating depository. The accumulation
begins with this issue. You may not even be reading the end of this
editorial, because you have already moved off to pursue some topic of
immediate interest to you in the issue. That's fine … and appropriate.
You make this Journal serve your purposes. Nevertheless, if engaging
with the Journal stimulates you to further your research and/or develop
new practice, we would be interested in receiving some account of your
experiences, to share with other readers in future issues