New online journal promotes learner-centered education


SUNY Oswego is home to a new professional journal, the online Journal of Authentic Learning, which comes out of the curriculum and instruction department.

Founded by Professor Audrey Rule and Assistant Professor Faith Maina, the journal’s first issue came out last month and can be seen at http://www.oswego.edu/jal/ .

Maina and Rule said they volunteered to produce the journal originally with the idea of providing a home for work by graduate students and new faculty members. They said they were pleasantly surprised when their call for papers resulted in publishable submissions from professors as far away as San Diego and Kenya.

Co-authors of articles in the first issue include a second-grade teacher from the Schoharie Central School District and a third-grade teacher from Syracuse.

“For this first issue, we relied on word of mouth” to attract submissions, Maina said. They received 10 manuscripts and published five.

The editors are now seeking manuscripts for the second annual issue to come out next summer. The deadline is Dec. 31.

Although the editorial board for the first issue comprises nearly 30 people, Rule and Maina are also seeking more associate editors and reviewers to help solicit papers and review them for the next issue.

They chose “authentic learning” as the unifying concept for the journal because it is part of the School of Education’s conceptual framework. “It’s a current buzzword term,” Rule added, and “there didn’t seem to be any other journals that focused on it.”

She further noted that the concept is widely applicable and can involve teachers and scholars from many disciplines.

Maina wrote an opening piece for the first issue that explains that there are many ways to define “authentic learning.”

“Authentic learning involves increasing motivation and enthusiasm, helping learners to make decisions concerning their learning, as well as identifying non-traditional ways learning is enhanced and accounting for such learning,” she wrote. “The Journal of Authentic Learning provides a welcome home for such documentation.”

Many members of their department pitched in to make the first issue a reality and, now that they see the finished product, more are interested in helping in what continues to be an all-volunteer effort, Maina said. “It has really energized people in our department,” she said.

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(Posted: Oct 06, 2004)

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