Call for Proposals: Supporting and Engaging Online Learners International Perspectives in Higher Education

We invite diverse individuals from across the globe who represent various facets of higher education including (but not limited to) academic and student affairs/services professionals, and administrators to join us in creating this unique resource. This volume of the Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning book series will illuminate international perspectives on supporting and engaging online learners. We seek colleagues to provide scholarly, research-based narratives or strategies for improving practice – particularly with regard to “out of class” support and engagement structures for online students. This volume will provide insight into how universities are creating ecosystems that are inclusive for online students.

The book will be a book under the series:
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning by Emerald Publishing.

An edited volume by:
Dr. Jaimie Hoffman
Director of Student Affairs & Learning, Noodle Partners
Associate Lecturer, University of Wisconsin La Crosse

Dr. Patrick Blessinger
Research Scientist, International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association
Adjunct Associate Professor of Education, St. John’s University

Dr. Enakshi Sengupta
Director, Center for Advanced Research in Education (HETL)
Managing Editor, Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education


  • Call for Chapter Proposals: February 22, 2019
  • Chapter Proposal Submission Deadline: March 25, 2019
  • Notification of Acceptance: April 25, 2019
  • Authors Submit First Draft of Chapters Due: July 31, 2019
  • Blind Peer Review Process: August 20- September 17, 2019
  • Peer Review Results Returned to Authors: October 15, 2019
  • Authors Send Final Full Chapters Due: November 12, 2019
  • Target Book Release: July 2020


This volume will provide educators with an understanding of the needs of online learners and strategies for supporting those needs. Enrollment trends illustrate an increase in enrollment of students in online education – with an increase from 4.5 million to 5.2 million undergraduates from 2012 to 2016 and a larger increase in graduate students of 3.2 million in 2012 to 5.8 million in 2016. In fact, 30% of students in the United States take at least one course online (Allen & Seaman). There’s no doubt that the future of higher education will evolve and even likely rely upon online learning as a method for increasing access to higher education. As high as 20% of students drop out (Nistor & Neubauer, 2010; Crawley & Fetzner, 2013) before completing their degree. All students, including online students do better academically when they feel valued, welcome, and supported (Ludwig-Hardman & Dunlap, 2003), thus it’s important to understand and unpack best practices in supporting online students.

Volume Topics

Although not a comprehensive list, the following topic areas are provided as a starting point for potential chapter authors to see how they might contribute to the volume.

Section One
The first section of this volume (principles and framework) will explore some foundational elements of supporting online learners by first uncovering the growing trends in online education, examining the needs of online students broadly and among sub groups (e.g. undergraduate and graduate students and students within various disciplines), discussing some basic commitments for supporting the needs of online learners, and strategies for creating a comprehensive support system inclusive of online learners.

Section Two
The second section of the volume (best practices) will be strategy/best practice-based allowing for the opportunity to focus on specific aspects of supporting online students such as: mental health counseling, disability accommodations, engagement in co-curricular activities/involvement opportunities, career development support, alumni engagement, academic skills development (e.g. tutoring and writing support) student conduct processing, and assistance with health services. The best practice section of the book will comprise a series of vignettes and case studies where authors share their best practices or research and the outcomes associated with those practices.


Please contact Jaimie Hoffman at or Patric Blessinger at