Glenn M. Hymel, *Marcus A. Banks

Needed--An OJS Plugin for Facilitating Journal-Based Continuing Education Activities: Specs To Guide Software Developers
Glenn M. Hymel, *Marcus A. Banks

Abstract


The Massage Therapy Foundation is actively planning for the launch of a new peer reviewed e-journal, viz., the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice. The Foundationa non-profit 501 (c)(3) public charity organization headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, USAwill utilize Open Journal Systems (OJS) software to expedite the management and publication of this open access journal, and plans to explore the use of various plugins to offer value-added services to readers.

As part of the ongoing work on its planned e-journal, the Foundation has identified a need for the current array of OJS plugins to be augmented by the development of an additional one that would focus on continuing education (CE) activities. More specifically, this needed plugin would serve to facilitate the awarding of CE credits for reading and analyzing pre-selected articles published in the journal. For a nominal charge, readers would have the opportunity to further their knowledge about specific aspects of the field of massage therapy as reflected in the pre-designated CE articles. The charge would pay for the administrative costs of offering continuing education credits; nobody would ever have to pay to read articles published in the journal.


This conference presentation addresses the technical specifications in the following three pertinent areas that would serve to inform OJS plugin developers/programmers: (a) educational goals, (b) assessment plans, and (c) administrative procedures. In the context of a pre-specified article for CE credit, the educational goal specifications would span such considerations as purpose of the article, objectives to be met by the article, content coverage overview, and related resources. The assessment plans specifications would provide for the completion of a 20-25 item multiple choice test, the provision of evaluative feedback of a formative nature replete with learning correctives, and the acknowledgment of ones CE credit award status. The administrative procedures specifications would enable the process of fielding queries from prospective participants, registering for the CE activity, paying the nominal fee incurred, and receiving appropriate documentation attesting to ones completion of the activity. Related to but not part of the plugin development effort of the OJS programmers would be the Foundations responsibility to establish appropriate reliability and validity indices for each CE test.

In dialogue with OJS software programmers, we anticipate that the development of this new and unprecedented plugin will encourage the other 800-plus journals currently using OJS to consider adding to their journal format and coverage some form of an article-specific CE activity. Such a service would be consistent with ongoing trends in the CE realm of professional development efforts across many disciplines and professions, thereby making any given journal more service-oriented, multifaceted, and attractive to its readership. Finally, this type of collegial dialogue resulting in new plugin development would exemplify the type of OJS user input encouraged by the Public Knowledge Project and, accordingly, may serve to inspire others to pursue additional journal enhancements that necessitate further software developments.

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