General Topic: “Written Assignments and Dissertations in

Distance Learning within the TESOL Context”

 

RPLTL is seeking manuscripts for a Special Issue that aims at presenting a comprehensive account of the role and impact of written assignments and dissertations in distance learning, as seen in the context of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The manuscripts should be within the remit of one of four general topics, presented below. The Special Issue is going to be published in two separate volumes, 10/1 and 10/2, in 2019. 

 

Authors interested in submitting a manuscript should send (by 15/4/2017 at the very latest):

 

a) an extended abstract (of between 300 and 500 words, excluding references) and

b) a list of 3-6 keywords that describe their intended paper


to the guest editors of the corresponding Section. For more detailed information on Section topics and the deadlines for all the phases of the submission, reviewing and publication process, please see below.

 

 

Vol. 10/1 (2019)


Section A. Academic Writing.

Guest Editors: P. Manoli, M. Zafiri, V. Zorbas.

 

Academic writing is a skill used in many contexts throughout life, such as books, essays, research papers, dissertations or writing assignments in an academic setting. One of the major stumbling blocks, however, for young scholars in graduate programs today, is mastering the techniques of this skill, especially when they are writing for a targeted and informed audience. The conventions that are traditionally followed by academic writers have been the subject of debate for many years; thus confusing young scholars yet further.
Without a doubt, there are young scholars who come into the scene with hordes of experience in the area having penned many papers over the years. Others have logged in quite a few papers during the course of their studies, while a good number has not made much progress beyond exams and weekly assignments. The situation, however, becomes even more daunting when one is summoned to fine hone their academic writing skills in a foreign language while pursuing graduate work in a distance learning environment, predominantly due to insufficient vocabulary knowledge and absence of frequent face-to-face cooperation. Though there is some research on academic writing in the greater vicinity of the academic world, very little research has been carried out to date in the context of foreign language pedagogy and distance learning, particularly with respect to Greek TESOL distance learning environments.
We are pleased to invite researchers, postgraduate and doctoral students to submit papers on academic writing in the context of distance learning and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages to this Special Issue. The abstract should be up to 500 words (without any references), while 3-6 keywords should be included. Your paper should be submitted via email to the guest editors of this section of the Special Issue.

 

Areas of interest:

  • Effective use of literature in academic writing
  • Current debates in academic style and language
  • Academic writing across the curriculum
  • Challenges of academic writing for non-native speakers
  • Teaching academic writing in distance learning environments
  • Assessing academic writing
  • Reviews
  • Small-scale research in different levels of education
  • Case studies

 

Contact Information:

  • Dr. Polyxeni Manoli: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Dr. Marina Zafiri: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Dr. Vasilios Zorbas: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Section B. Feedback on academic assignments.

Guest Editors: A. Georgountzou, A. Giannakopoulou, Chr. Calfoglou.


One of the key factors contributing to the learning and teaching process is, undoubtedly, feedback. Without it, “learning is like a ship without a radar” (Matlou-Chokwe, 2015), as students are left with no guidance in reference to the effectiveness of their output. With regard to writing in particular, feedback constitutes a sine qua non in the process of finalizing the written product. 
In academic writing pedagogy, the tutor’s effective feedback is regarded as one of the cornerstones for the students’ progress (Ferris, 2008; Granville & Dison, 2009; Li, 2007). However, what constitutes effective and constructive feedback, whether and to what extent it can help students fill in the gaps in their understanding, correct misconceptions and develop better academic writing skills, whether and to what extent students are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to read written feedback in order to improve their writing still remains an area of contention among instructors and students.
Within the context of TESOL and distance education, the issue of feedback is compounded further by the fact that the writer - feedback provider targets non-native language users and interaction is particularly limited; thus, feedback on written assignments becomes practically the only way for students to receive a response to their work, since the writing process is essentially solitary, with-out a broader collaborative context. This necessitates the use of accurate commentary, which links theory, research and practice closely together (Price, 1997), while it might also necessitate creating a more solid collaborative framework. 
Along the lines of the student – centered approach, recent studies have shifted away from traditional, authoritative frameworks and looked at the issue of feedback as a dialogic form of evaluation (Higgins et al, 2001) and a mediated learning experience (Lee, 2014), also making crucial reference to positiveness-tentativeness and morale-boosting as key elements of quality feedback. This is particularly relevant in an M.Ed. context, where student writers also possess the identity of teachers and feedback providers. 
We strongly encourage postgraduate and doctoral students, young and junior researchers to submit a paper to this Special RPLTL issue, shedding some further light on the seriously under-researched topic of written assignment feedback in the TESOL postgraduate programme context. The abstract submitted, detailing the rationale and the research methodology employed, should be between 300-500 words (excluding references) and 3-6 keywords should be included. The text format can be doc, docx or odt. Your submission should be sent via e-mail to the guest editors of this section of the Special Issue and could refer to any one or a combination of the following areas of interest, among others:

 

Areas of interest:

  • Types of feedback in distance education (focused or unfocused, formative or corrective, overt or covert, exhaustive or selective, positive or tentative …) and their impact on students 
  • Tutor and student perceptions of effective feedback strategies in distance learning
  • Assessment and feedback literacy 
  • Feedback and self-identity
  • The role of gender and/or age in feedback provision
  • Strengths and challenges of written feedback in distance learning 
  • Feedback in synchronous and asynchronous classrooms 
  • Peer feedback and learner networking 
  • Constructing a model of formative feedback in distance learning

 

Contact information:

  • Dr Anastasia Georgountzou; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Dr. Alexia Giannakopoulou, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Dr Christine Calfoglou: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Vol. 10/2 (2019)


Section C. Assignments, dissertations and research.

Guest Editors: Ath. Karasimos, If. Kofou, K. Vlachos.

 

Research is undoubtedly the cornerstone of assignments and dissertations in distance education as well as an integral part of distance education students’ learning and knowledge acquisition. However, limited research has been done on the whole process of completing an assignment and/or a dissertation in the Greek TESOL context. Apart from that, distance learning students face difficulties in organizing their research, research methodology and using research tools, which contribute not only to the success of their work but also to their learning process. Thus, small-scale research (of assignments and dissertations) should revisit the central issue of method in research and distance learning.

 

Areas of interest:

  • Small-scale research in different contexts
  • Research in different levels of education
  • Research Design and Methodology
  • Action Research
  • Field Research
  • Case studies and Evaluation
  • Effectiveness and Impact of Research
  • Educational Technologies and Research

 

Contact Information:

  • Kosmas Vlachos: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Athanasios Karasimos: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Ifigenia Kofou: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Section D. Links between written assignments, thematic modules and the classroom.

Guest Editors: L. Antoniou, J. Dimakos, M. Stathopoulou.

 

Written assignments are crucial components of the vast majority of distance courses bridging the distance between instructors and students and involving them in a constant dialogue. Assignments promote learning, helping students to process the content and to make connections between what they already know and the new material. They also reflect students' progress and help the instructor evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in order for him/her consider (further) remedial action. Given their importance for learning, this section focuses on the extent to which written assignments are linked to the module content and the actual classroom, while its ultimate aim is to shed light onto the qualities of good assignments, an area that seems to be neglected in the field of distance education.

 

Areas of interest:

  • Sequencing of assignments within modules (e.g., the extent to which they progress from simple tasks to higher order thinking activities; whether sequencing provides coherence for the course)
  • Relation of assignments to contents and objectives of modules
  • Characteristics and types of assignments (e.g., subjective or open-ended; applicable to teaching situations; if group work is required; the extent to which they exercise critical thinking skills, or they check understanding of core concepts; what resources they ask students to draw upon etc)
  • Rubrics of assignments (e.g., the articulation of the assignments; the extent to which the purposes they serve are clearly explained)
  • Links made between theoretical principles and practice
  • Learners’ experience of assignments
  • Links between HOU assignments and real-life teaching situations (i.e., the extent to which they include real world scenario)

 

Contact information: 

  • Leda Antoniou: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Ioannis Dimakos: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Maria Stathopoulou: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Key Dates

  • 15/4/2017: Abstract/keyword submission.
  • 15/6/2017: Decision on abstract (acceptance/rejection) and invitation to submit manuscript.
  • 15/12/2017: Manuscript submission.
  • 20/2/2018: Guest Editors’ review of submitted manuscript.
  • 30/4/2018: Submission of revised manuscript. 
  • 30/6/2018: Guest Editors’ final review of revised manuscript.
  • 30/8/2018: Submission of final paper.
  • 2/2019 (Sections A and B), 7/2019 (Sections C and D): Expected publication of Special Issue.