College of Education
ISSN: 1937-3929
Journal of Curriculum and Instruction

Journal History

Our History

     As with most enterprises, the history of the journal of Curriculum and Instruction began as an idea that grew into a vision and then evolved into reality.  Three professors in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction had a vision to publish an electronic peer-reviewed journal that would reach out to teachers and teacher educators who might not otherwise have access to peer-reviewed professional literature about PreK-12 education.

     In 2004 Dr. Terry Atkinson (reading education), Dr. Sue Steinweg (special education), and Dr. Katherine O'Connor (elementary education) were encouraged by their chair, Dr. David A. Powers, to explore the possibilities - the need, the support, and the logistics - for launching such a journal.  He observed their "passion and determination" to bring their vision forward.  At that time, Dr. Marilyn Sheer, Provost of East Carolina University, was the Dean of the College of Education and contributed support with resources for the effort.

     The founders reached out first across the campus to identify what was being published locally and what server resources might be available to them. They found interest in the Office of Academic Outreach (now the Office of Emerging Academic Initiatives), a unit that pioneered many of the innovations using technology at ECU. Dr. Biwu Yang (research and development) joined the team as the logistics of identifying appropriate software, providing storage space, developing procedures, and technical assistance were explored.

     Their investigations identified the Public Knowledge Project, founded by Dr. John Willinsky, as an organization that was developing open source software, programs that are available free of charge and can be edited to meet the design needs of the users. The program that fit the needs of this group is Open Journal Systems (OJS).  This is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research. (, para.2).  Some of the features that were most attractive to the team were locally installed and controlled, editor ability to configure sections and the review process, online process from submissions, assignment of peer-reviewers, reviews, editing, and publication.  Over 7,500 journals now use OJS to host their publications.

     The next challenges that were addressed included registration of an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and the Digital Object Identifier (doi) which identifies objects in the digital environment.  At the same time, the editorial team had decisions to make concerning the process - from the submission and publication timeline to the decisions concerning sections and type of articles they wished to include. They also determined that publishing an audio version would be unique. The OJS software provided the shell, but the decisions for managing this new journal were made by the first editorial team.

     The Journal of Curriculum and Instruction (JoCI), an electronic, peer-reviewed, open-access journal was launched by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at East Carolina University in July 2007. Articles were published in pdf format as well as in audio format (mp3).  Initially issues were published in January and July; however, issues are now published in November and May, due to adjustments in state and university budgets.  The journal contains one invited article per issue from a national or international leader in the themed area of that issue. The guest editor writes the introductory article which provides an overview of the issue and each article.  There are usually three sections:  Research Forum, Practioner's Platform, and Perspective (peer-reviewed commentaries or articles describing research-supported perspectives related to issue themes).

     The original idea to provide a rotating editorial board was continued with the transition of three additional faculty members.  Dr. Elizabeth Swaggerty (reading), Dr. Guili Zhang (research), and Dr. Bill Grobe (educational leadership) began contributing to the work of managing, editing, and publishing the journal. The original plan was to phase in a new team, work for a semester together, and then to phase out the earlier team on a limited basis.  They soon realized that there needed to be someone who was more stable on the team.  They also wanted to devote their time to the actual communication with authors and editing of manuscripts and to find someone else to bridge the editorial board to the technical assistance and management of OJS.  Thus, in the fall of 2007, a retired faculty member from the Department of Library Science, Dr. Diane D. Kester, was hired to work part-time with the journal as Executive Editor. Her knowledge of the technologies involved as well as her experience as a leader and author provides the sustainability of the work of the journal editorial team.

  In 2014 production of the journal involved the Executive Editor, three faculty editors, two graduate assistants, over 300 reviewers, over 15 proofreaders, technical assistance and support from the Office of Emerging Academic Initiatives, as well as the resource support of the Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the Dean of the College of Education, and the Provost of the University.

  Themed issues alternated with open themes to provide a wider opportunity for authors.

   The Department of Curriculum and Instruction was reformed into three departments during the summer of 2012 at which time JoCI was sponsored by the Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education.

   From 2014-2019 JoCI suspended publication while seeking new avenues for support and focus.

   In 2019 the journal was re-instituted as Theory & Practice in Rural Education. The first issue of TPRE was published in the spring of 2019 and can be accessed at