Call for papers for a special issue on:

“Quality Issues in Online Higher Education

Guest Editors

Francesca Pozzi (ITD-CNR), Flavio Manganello (ITD-CNR), Albert Sangrà (UOC - Universitat Oberta
de Catalunya), Denise Whitelock (OUUK - The Open University) 

Deadline for submission is: February, 15th 2019

In recent years, the pressing need to modernise Higher Education systems due to important socio-cultural, economical, and technological changes is challenging Universities, as they strive to produce a quality experience which is demanded of them from their students and external agencies.   In response Universities have been introducing technology at different levels and subsequently rethinking their teaching and learning models. The main reason Universities are considering such a transition is to enhance the quality and visibility of their educational provision to effectively attract more students, which is leading to worldwide stress at the competitive and market level.

As a result of this process, we have witnessed the proliferation, on the one hand, of tools for measuring and evaluating the academic quality from the point of view of procedural aspects (such as quality assurance, accreditation, and auditing), while on the other hand of indicators and systems aimed at benchmarking Universities in terms of performance measurements (such as rankings). While academic quality assurance procedures provide a reference framework (at national and international level) within which Universities can assess and improve their teaching and learning activities, ranking systems tend to measure aspects such as: attractiveness of the institution, quality of teaching, quality of research, sustainability, international mobility, results obtained by students, etc.

Although there are several quality assurance models and ranking tools for the evaluation of universities, most of them neglect aspects related to online education and/or mainly focus on single courses (not the whole Institution). This gap is particularly critical if one considers that Universities have been offering online courses (at various levels and in different ways) for some time now and there are Higher Education Institutions delivering exclusively online programmes and courses.

Thus, the aim of this special issue of the Italian Journal of Educational Technology is to increase awareness of the salient issues which are concerned with the measuring of  quality in online Higher Education, in order to trigger a reflection on the main strengths and weaknesses of the existing tools and methods for Higher Education evaluation, accreditation and ranking, and possibly identify ways to go ahead.

We therefore invite researchers and practitioners to submit contributions on one or more of the topics outlined below.

  • Evaluation, accreditation and ranking for online Higher Education
  • Methods and criteria for measuring the quality of online Higher Education
  • University rankings and online education
  • Controversial aspects of Higher Education ranking systems
  • Online learning assessment and analytics
  • Quality standards and quality assurance for Universities at national and international level
  • Quality of online educational processes and/or results
  • Academic experiences and best practices with quality assurance procedures and ranking systems.
  • Ways to measure the impact of online education, both socially and economically.

We welcome contributions in three forms:

  • theoretical articles (maximum 6,500 words)
  • research articles (maximum 6,500 words)
  • reviews of the literature (maximum 6,500 words)

Contributions should be submitted by February, 15th 2019 through the journal website. Upon submission, please mention this call for papers in the field “Comments for the editors”. Papers may be in English or Italian language, and should be formatted according to the author guidelines. All contributions are subject to a "double blind peer review" process. Publication is expected by the end of 2019.

For further information about the issue, contact or