JPAAP Editorial

Vol 6, Issue 2 (2018)

A warm welcome to the latest issue of JPAAP, our second issue of 2018 in what is our fifth anniversary year as a journal. In the five years we have been in publication, we have been fortunate to have been able to share through the journal a wide range of original research papers, reflective analyses, case studies, On the Horizon papers, opinion pieces and reviews, relating to a vast array of topics that fall within our overarching focus on research and practice development in higher and further education. JPAAP was originally established, in part, to provide a collegiate and supportive platform for colleagues who are new to writing and publishing in the area of academic practice. Over the years we have been encouraged and honoured by the number of colleagues who have chosen to submit their first papers and articles to JPAAP, in addition to the increasing number of well-established scholars who have chosen to publish with JPAAP because of our open, supportive ethos.

As the journal has continued to develop, and attract further submissions, there have been challenges along the way. This year, in particular, has seen the journal sometimes struggle to respond to the number of submissions we have received in as timely a manner as we would normally aim to do. For this we apologise, thanking both our submitting authors who have experienced delays in their work coming to print for their patience. We thank too our pool of established and more recent reviewers without whom JPAAP could not function as an open peer-reviewed journal, and acknowledge those colleagues who review for us on a regular basis and whom rarely if ever turn down an invitation to review a submission. Over the summer we have been able to welcome a number of new reviewers to the journal who will help ensure that, going forward, we strive to respond to the growing number of submissions to JPAAP in as timely a manner as possible.

For now, and for this new issue, we are pleased that JPAAP Volume 6, Issue 2, continues to reflect both the richness and diversity in topics, submitted by new, emerging and established authors, that has come to characterise JPAAP to date. Across thirteen original submissions, and one updated paper, contributors from a range of universities and institutions across and beyond the UK are sharing their research, reflections and practice in the areas of digital and digitally enabled practice, student and staff transitions and identities, research student supervision, retention, networking, learning spaces, dialogue, and empathy. Child and youth studies, healthcare, sport, education, and veterinary science are amongst the disciplinary contexts for the work reported in the various kinds of submissions for the new issue, although as is common with submissions to JPAAP there is much to be found within and across the papers and articles that will apply across disciplines and contexts.

In our original research papers for this issue, Cheng Tak-Lai from Lancaster University explores the relationship between supervision and the development of students’ professional identify when entering the childcare workforce. Key aspects of digital education practice then come to the fore in Rick Hayman’s paper on the use of audio summative assessment feedback for work-based postgraduate sport coaching students, and in the study by Jill MacKay and colleagues which explores the lessons learned from the facilitation of four different MOOCs in the area of veterinary science education. Online learning also features in the context of our fourth and final research paper, in which Jitse van Ameijde, Martin Weller and Simon Cross from the Open University in the UK explore the relationship between learning design and student retention in distance education courses. The authors identify a number of key factors at the course design stage that can positively influence student retention, whether in online, distance or other course design contexts.

The focus on student support carries through to the first of our reflective analysis papers, from Omar Feraboli at the University of Dundee, who contrasts the factors that influence the postgraduate supervision process in the UK and Germany. This is followed by the reflective analysis submission from Karen Haines, from the Unitec Institute of Technology in New Zealand, who explores an application of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) to support teachers moving into new collaborative learning spaces. Susi Peacock and Christine DePlacido’s paper is similarly focused on staff transitions, but from classroom-based to online learning and teaching. The focus of Susi and Christine’s paper is a newly established network for online tutors at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. The benefits of professional and academic networking, and a workshop intervention designed to help postgraduate health care students develop their networking skills and capabilities, is then evaluated in our final reflective analysis paper from Angela Turner-Wilson.

Acknowledging the importance of conferences and events as a key aspect of academic life, and professional networking within academia, is the starting point for our first case study paper in the new issue. Within this article Nicole Brown, Paul Thompson and Jennifer Leigh provide a background to the issues of ableism, disability, chronic illness and neurodiversty in academia, and offer practical recommendations to address accessibility issues in academic events and conferences. In the second of our two case study papers, Jonathan Glen from Abertay University explores the development and impact of The Dundee Academy of Sport (a joint venture between Abertay University and Dundee and Angus College) in working with schools and school pupils from an SIMD20 (deprived) background in attempting to remove barriers to studying in Further Education and Higher Education.

In the first of our three On the Horizon papers covering emerging work, we hear once more from Kirsty Hughes and Jessie Paterson, contributing authors to the research paper on MOOCs in veterinary education, who with their colleagues Eva Joanna Alexjuk, Rachel Whittington and Stacey Spielman present insights from an interdisciplinary project exploring veterinary and nursing student perspectives on the role of empathy in professional training and practice. John Stoszowski and Liam McCarthy then come on to explore student perspectives relating to motivation and self-determined learning on a cross-cohort undergraduate module designed to heutagogical principles. In our final On the Horizon paper, and a third submission in this issue from colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, Ann Wood and co-authors present their article entitled ‘What Question? Enabling Dialogue Between Students and their Teachers’ in which they explore initial findings from their study investigating into what happens in dialogues between teachers and students in learning contexts.

Rounding out an expansive new issue, Edward Noon provides an updated version of his original research article which first appeared in Vol 5, Issue 3 of JPAAP, and which presents an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the barriers to the use of humour in teaching childhood studies. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) featured in a paper in the last issue of JPAAP too, and is the research method of choice in a least two forthcoming submissions for future issues. This may perhaps point towards the need for a possible future issue of JPAAP devoted to IPA.

For now though please enjoy the current issue of JPAAP, and look out for our third issue of 2018 later this year which will take the form of a Special Issue on Compassionate Pedagogy.

Keith Smyth for the JPAAP Editors
October 2018