International Journal of
Educational Technology

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Western Australia


Origins of the International Journal of Educational Technology

Brian Melville Sova PhD

The International Journal of Educational Technology (IJET) grew out of an on-line educational journal I published along with a number of other graduate education students at the University of Western Australia. In September 1995, we published the first issue of Western Australian Visions for Education (WAVE) online. I created WAVE with the approval of Dr Felicity Haynes who at that time was the head of our Graduate School of Education.

As a PhD student in 1995, I had started to do research into the use of Internet educational technologies for student science teacher instruction. I initially proposed the new on-line journal as a way for the graduate education students to share their research findings and opinions on current educational issues. As an international graduate student from the USA, I found it easy to motivate a number of my graduate student friends to embrace the relatively new and exciting global communications aspects of the WWW and contribute to "WAVE". In those early days of the WWW, graduate education students were eager to contribute to WAVE and they submitted opinion pieces, old research assignment papers from their classes and even short news story articles about educational technology. My fellow students and I learned the "html programming language" we needed at the time to put WAVE on-line. We also used an early version of Netscape, Netscape Navigator Gold, as our HTML editor.

In 1996, after two years of successful online WAVE publications, I met with my main supervisor, Dr Roger Hacker, in order to discuss the progress of my PhD research and the future of the WAVE publication. We decided that WAVE should be transformed into a formal, fully refereed academic journal for professional educators around the world with an interest in educational technology. Dr Hacker proposed that a new title was needed in order to reflect the more professional and international nature of the new online journal. He asked me to think about some potential new titles and then meet with him again. I went back to my desk in the graduate students' office and prepared a list of titles that included the International Journal of Educational Technology. When I met with Dr Hacker again later that day, we agreed that the best new title was International Journal of Educational Technology, but we feared that this new title may had been taken and already assigned an Australian International Standard Serials Number (ISSN). Our research and inquiries into the matter were rewarded with the news that this new title had not been assigned or taken by another journal. An ISSN (1327-7308) was subsequently assigned to the International Journal of Educational Technology (IJET).

The concept of an international, professional, and fully refereed, online academic journal was quite a new one in 1996, and it had not been attempted yet at the University of Western Australia. I knew that if the new journal was to be successful, additional sponsorship and expertise in the area of online publication had to be sought from experienced researchers at other universities. By coincidence, one of the leading researchers in the area of Internet educational technology was Dr James Levin from the University of Illinois, back in the USA and my home-state of Illinois. My subsequent email communications were instrumental, as Dr Levin and the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign agreed to co-sponsor the development of our new online professional journal.

During the next three years, I made a number of trips to Illinois in order to meet with Dr Levin and a number of his graduate education students and staff. As co-editors, Dr Hacker and Dr Levin supervised the initial development of IJET, along with four of their graduate students. Associate editors Donna Michelle Hinn and Steve Downey from the University of Illinois, and Douglas Boyder and myself from the University of Western Australia, coordinated efforts to address the technical requirements and form a foundation editorial board. The first issue of the International Journal of Educational Technology was published online in July 1999. Groundbreaking educational research from around the world was successfully published and in the year 2000, a special IJET poster session was presented by our associate editors at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA 2000), Using web-based annotation for review in an on-line academic journal: Challenges and realities.

Online publication ceased in 2001 after Dr Hacker retired from the University of Western Australia and Dr Levin left his position at the University of Illinois. After I earned my PhD from the University of Western Australia in 2003, I eventually returned to the United States in order to work as an Assistant Professor of Education at Brescia University. In 2007, I collaborated with Dr Cameron Richards and Dr Roger Atkinson in order to successfully merge the International Journal of Educational Technology with the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. I remain grateful to these two colleagues in the field of educational technology who were instrumental in preserving this permanent record of all the research associated with and published in the International Journal of Educational Technology.

April 2007

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