Call for proposals for a Special Issue to be published by the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.

Partnerships for scaled online learning and the unbundling of the traditional university

Guest Editors

  • Dr. Henk Huijser, Queensland University of Technology,  
  • Dr. Rachel Fitzgerald, Queensland University of Technology,  
  • Professor Gilly Salmon, Online Education Services, UK & Swinburne University of Technology,

Focus of the special issue

Support services and technology platforms have long been delivered in a range of partnerships with external providers. However, partnerships as part of core business have much wider implications for educational technology policy and practice. While digital learning environments make partnerships easy to envisage and execute, partnerships in this area are often complex and at least partially driven by financial motives and marketization (Swinnerton et al., 2018). We believe there are genuine opportunities to open education to international audiences, fulfill the social purpose of higher education and afford opportunities to include non-traditional learners. However, there are concerns about the impact that such partnerships have on educational quality, academic freedom, university reputation and shared governance (Sundt, 2019). For example, online learning in these models may favour individualist over social constructivist approaches to learning, under the banner of personalisation. We acknowledge that developing unbundled models creates challenges regarding curriculum and learning design, however we also believe there are also opportunities for creative and transformational thinking as we move towards a digitally integrated future (Salmon, 2019).

We welcome contributions from early adopters to discuss effective practice and challenges faced. We are particularly interested in the impact of partnerships with private providers on technology enhanced learning and how that should inform both university and government policy.


We invite authors to submit studies, reviews and conceptual articles on topics including, but not exclusive to:

  • Unbundling of the traditional university
  • Reputation maintaining, enhancing and building in entirely global environments
  • The third partners – involving stakeholders such as employers in the mix
  • University arrangements with private companies and their impact on online teaching and learning
  • Models of partnership
  • Social progress and inclusion of non-traditional learners
  • The role and impact of micro-credentialing on partnerships
  • Achieving personalized, active and student-centred digital learning
  • Agile, scalable learning design­­­­
  • The role of technology in online partnerships
  • Flexible delivery models – modes and structures
  • Exploring online and global curriculum
  • The role of academic interventions, tutoring, and support services in partnerships

Manuscript Submission Instructions 

  • Manuscripts addressing the special issue’s focus should be submitted through the AJET online manuscript submission system.
  • When submitting your manuscript, please include a note in the field called ‘Comments’ that you wish it to be considered for the ‘Partnerships for scaled online learning and the unbundling of the traditional university’ Special Issue of AJET.
  • Please review the Author Guidelines and Submission Preparation Checklist carefully, and prepare your manuscript accordingly.
  • Information about the peer review process and criteria is also available for your perusal.

Deadlines for authors 

  • Submission deadline: 2nd March 2020
  • Expected decision on manuscripts: 1st May 2020
  • Revised/final manuscripts due: 5th June 2020
  • Expected Publication of Special Issue: late 2020

Further questions 

Please direct questions about manuscript submissions to Henk Huijser or Rachel Fitzgerald


Hill, P. (2018, April 2). Online Program Management: Spring 2018 view of the market landscape [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Salmon, G. (2019, Feb 1). From partnership to fusion: Future educational landscapes. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Sundt, M. (2019). Professors, ask hard questions of your online providers. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from

Swinnerton, B., Ivancheva, M., Coop, T., Perrotta, C., Morris, N., Swartz, R., … Walji, S. (2018) The unbundled university: Researching emerging models in an unequal landscape. Preliminary findings from fieldwork in South Africa. In M. Bajić, N. Dohn, M. de Laat, P. Jandrić, & T. Ryberg, T. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Networked Learning 2018 (pp. 218-226). Zagreb, Croatia, 14-16 May 2018.