Open Access Policy

The Journal of Case Learning and Exceptional Learners (JCLEL) is an open-access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or their institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link the full texts of all articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

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Review Process

JCLEL is an open-access, double-blind, peer-reviewed electronic journal published two times per year. If you have concerns about the terms of submission or review, please contact the Editors.

When an author submits a manuscript to JCLEL, the Journal's Editorial Board reviews it to ensure that it meets the Author Guidelines (see below) and evaluates its appropriateness for the journal's readership. The manuscript then undergoes a double-blind peer review by two or more authors in the field. Each reviewer may include specific and narrative comments for the author of the submission about its content, argumentation, research methodologies, data, conclusions, etc. These comments will be provided to the authors without identifying the reviewers.

In the course of the review, manuscripts will be given a recommendation for publication according to the following:

  • Accept: No revisions required
  • Accept: Minor revisions required
  • Revise and resubmit: Major revisions required
  • Reject

  • When all reviews have been received by the Editorial Board, a decision will be made regarding publication and authors will be notified. If the reviewers' recommendations are substantially different, the Editorial Board may ask 1-2 additional reviewers to read and evaluate the submission and then, upon receipt of the additional reviews, a final publication decision will be made. The response time for manuscript decisions is typically 6-8 weeks from submission.

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Submission of Manuscripts

General Information

The Journal of Case Learning and Exceptional Learners (JCLEL) is an open-access, double-blind, peer-reviewed online journal that publishes case studies and case study learning research and resources. JCLEL is published biannually in the fall and spring with the potential for special issue editions in the summer.

JCLEL features case studies that special education faculty can utilize in higher education settings to prepare teacher candidates. JCLEL case studies feature K-12 and post-secondary students with moderate to extensive living and learning needs (e.g., intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and moderate to extensive support needs). JCLEL aims to represent the experiences, learning challenges, and pragmatic responses of individuals with a broad variety of living and learning needs. JCLEL aims to represent the experiences, learning challenges, and pragmatic responses of individuals with a broad variety of living and learning needs. JCLEL encourages early-career special education faculty members and doctoral students in related fields.

This journal is the result of a collaboration between Georgia Southern University, Illinois State Unversity, and Appalachian State University and is published in partnership with Digital Commons@Georgia Southern.

Types of Manuscripts

JCLEL aims to represent the experiences, learning challenges, and pragmatic responses of individuals with a broad variety of living and learning needs. JCLEL invites manuscripts of the following type for publication:

  • Observation-based Case Studies (typically 20-25 APA formatted pages): The purpose of observation-based case studies is to share a thorough student description designed to help readers make evidence-based, informed intervention decisions. Therefore, the observation-based case studies do not include interventions implemented or applicable for the case students. Instead, the case study must provide comprehensive student background information and data that helps readers better understand information about the case. Given the purpose of this type of case study, at the end of the case study, authors will need to include reflection questions that help readers make data-informed decisions (e.g., IEP goals and interventions).
  • Intervention-based Case Studies (typically 25-35 APA formatted pages): The purpose of intervention-based case studies is to share a thorough student description that is impacted by an intervention for living or learning behavior change. These manuscripts use an experimental approach designed to inform a reader’s appreciation for how and why an intervention was considered effective or ineffective. Intervention-based manuscripts show how the research was conducted (methods). Still, they should not be in the style of traditional research reporting-- descriptions should situate the research methods within or concerning the case, share the data collection details that give confidence to the data (but may not provide enough detail for the replication of intervention methods), and clarify connections to the research findings with social validity details for the case student. This type of submission also requires comprehensive information on student background and specific interventions that show the association between student learning profile (background information), evaluation findings, goals, and interventions. Despite the differences between this submission and traditional research reporting in the field of special education, intervention-based case studies should also showcase or connect to research with carefully formulated research questions, sound support for interventions from the existing literature, and research-informed results that highlight relevant gaps in the literature.
  • Unique Approaches/Challenges (typically 12-18 APA formatted pages): The purpose of this short practice-based or other scholarly work is to share novel ideas and practices impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and moderate to extensive support needs. JCLEL is committed to filling a gap between research and practice for students with moderate and severe disabilities. Unique approaches and challenges is a practitioner manuscript intended to share challenging experiences of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in working for our targeting student populations. Despite the available list of EBPs in the field, it can be challenging to observe the intended outcomes for multiple reasons (e.g., controlling research design issues). JCLEL hopes to collect and disseminate those challenging stories and share the strategies to advance the field. This manuscript may have a classroom practitioner focus, a research and instructional development focus, or a case learning in higher education focus.
    • Examples of topics appropriate for a Unique Approaches/Challenges submission:
    • Case Learning Critique - explore an issue or new development related to case learning in the field. This manuscript type is also an opportunity for the JCLEL readers to share their experiences, opinions, and perspectives on case learning and relevant issues.
    • Practitioner-focused Manuscripts - provide specific EBP information that could be replicable in classroom settings.
    • Short Report - an explanation of the implications of a finding with impacts on evidence-based practices or methodologies that may serve as a foundation for additional research or case development focusing on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and moderate to extensive support needs.
  • Multimedia Case Study: (typically media elements 5-60 minutes in length, supplemental text in 5-20 APA formatted pages) JCLEL is also accepting multimedia format case studies, submissions with a shared goal of representing cases of students with thorough and detailed descriptions but with a multimedia component as the primary source of information. This type of case study will follow specific guidelines (see Author Guidelines below) for each type of case study with the addition of a multimedia element such as video recordings (e.g., blogs, vlogs, interviews), audio files, presentations with media elements, and more. This type of case study moves the main focus away from text and towards pictures, videos, PowerPoints, etc.
  • Literature Review (typically 18-25 APA formatted pages): This review paper provides a comprehensive summary of case studies on the targeted population of JCLEL. A systematic review of the available case studies regarding student background and other related information is appropriate. Non-systematic narratives may be considered if they contribute to a better understanding of any gaps in the research field.

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Author Guidelines

JCLEL publishes feature articles in length below, including the abstract, tables, figures, and references. As an evidence-based case study journal, all manuscripts should be grounded in an appropriate research base or founded upon a strong understanding of recent legislation. The key to successful manuscripts for JCLEL, however, lies in the author’s ability to share authentic case studies for readers. Prospective authors are advised to consider the following guidelines prior to the development of a manuscript for JCLEL. The following must be adhered to in order for a manuscript to be included for consideration:

  1. Manuscript submission is a representation that the manuscript is the author’s original work, has not been previously published, is not in current consideration for publication elsewhere, and is not self-plagiarism.
  2. Manuscripts must be prepared according to the recommendations in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA 7th ed., 2020). You can access the APA website by clicking here.
  3. Please describe participants/subjects (or any other references to persons with disabilities) with a people-first orientation or language representative of a case study individual’s identity (identify-first). Also, use the term “intellectual disability” (singular) to replace any previous term used to describe the population of students with significant limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior as manifested in the developmental period. Deviations from these standards should be explained in the Positionality Statement of any manuscript submission.
  4. Content Requirements for each type of manuscript: All types of manuscripts must include an abstract in addition to the following manuscript-specific requirements:
    • Observation-based case Studies
      • Positionality Statement - author and participant/collaborator context, position as it relates to the case
      • Theoretical- and/or research -based introduction
      • Case Introduction - case demographic information (e.g., age/ grade, gender)
      • Background information - case history related to family information (family priority, cultural/ linguistic/diversity considerations), school information, and the case’s academic, functional, and behavioral strengths, weaknesses, assets, and support needs.
      • Evaluation findings - previously conducted evaluation results, IEP or classroom raw assessment data (e.g., observation, psychometric formal assessment, informal classroom assessment)
      • Reflection questions
    • Intervention-based case Studies
      • Positionality Statement - author and participant/collaborator context, position as it relates to the case
      • Theoretical and Research Basis introduction
      • Case Introduction - case demographic information (e.g., age/ grade, gender)
      • Background information - family information (family priority, cultural/ linguistic/diversity considerations), school information, case academic, functional, and behavioral strengths, weaknesses, assets, and support needs.
      • Evaluation findings - intervention evaluation/assessment results, raw assessment data (e.g., observation, psychometric formal assessment, informal classroom assessment)
      • Goals and interventions - IEP goals & objectives, curriculum matrix, daily schedule, accommodations, and/or post-secondary goals/transition plan
      • Discussion/ Implication of the case study
      • Recommendations to teacher educators, teachers, or novice researchers
    • Multimedia case study will follow specific guidelines for each type of case study (see the content requirements of observation-based case studies or intervention-based case studies above). This submission must be a high-quality multimedia product, following accessibility requirements. The following guidelines were adapted from the Springer Journals multimedia guidelines using the Digital Commons multimedia requirements. For more details, please visit the Institutional Repository Services website: https://georgiasouthern.libguides.com/c.php?g=833714&p=5953163
      • Supply all supplementary material in standard file formats.
      • Please include in each file the following information: article title, journal name, author names; affiliation, and e-mail address of the corresponding author.
      • To accommodate user downloads, please keep in mind that larger-sized files may require very long download times and that some users may experience other problems during downloading.
      • High-resolution (streamable quality) videos can be submitted up to a maximum of 25GB; low-resolution videos should not be larger than 5GB.
    • Text and Presentations
      • Submit your material in the preferred PDF file format. Any type of format, including PDF, .doc, or .ppt is acceptable but will be converted to PDF in the submission process.
      • A collection of figures may also be combined in a PDF file.
    • Spreadsheets and Specialized Formats
      • Spreadsheets can be submitted as .csv or .xlsx files (MS Excel), but any specialized format such as .pdb (chemical), .wrl (VRML), .nb (Mathematica notebook), and .tex can also be supplied. For more information, please see this link for an example of some of the data files that are hosted in Digital Commons: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/data/
    • Compiling Multiple Files
      • To collect multiple files, you can use a .zip or .gz file.
    • Numbering
      • When supplying supplementary material, the text must make specific mention of the material as a citation, similar to that of figures and tables.
      • Refer to the supplementary files as “Online Resource”, e.g., "... as shown in the animation (Online Resource 3)", “... additional data are given in Online Resource 4”.
      • Name the files consecutively, e.g. “ESM_3.mpg”, “ESM_4.pdf”.
    • Captions
      • For each supplementary material, please supply a concise caption describing the content of the file.
    • Processing of supplementary files
      • Supplementary Information (SI) will be published as received from the author without any conversion, editing, or reformatting.
    • Accessibility
      • To ensure that people of all abilities and access needs benefit from the content of your supplementary files, please ensure that the manuscript contains a descriptive caption for each supplementary material.
      • Video files should not contain anything that flashes more than three times per second (so that users prone to seizures caused by such effects are not put at risk)
    • Literature Review includes traditional manuscript format, including, but not limited to:
      • Introduction
      • Literature review
      • Search Methods
      • Search Results
      • Findings
      • Conclusion
    • Unique Approaches/challenges is a practitioner manuscript grounded in the current literature. Its components include but are not limited to:
      • Introduction
      • Literature review
      • Challenges, step-by-step directions for described practices, or next steps (dependent on the focus and audience).
      • Conclusion
  5. Formatting Requirements: The body of your manuscript should not include a title page or abstract. Authors are required to submit three different files as follows.
    • Title page: including the title of the paper, author's name and institutional affiliation, author’s bios (300 words per author), and declarations.
    • Body of manuscript, without any author identifying information:
      • Title
      • Running head (abbreviated title)
      • Abstract (300 words)
      • Keywords
      • Manuscript (type-specific content requirements stated above)
      • Reference list
      • Tables and Figures in text, not the end of manuscript
    • Cover letter to the editors
  6. All manuscript lengths should be based on formatting that includes double-spaced pages, references, tables, figures, and an abstract. Manuscript lengths are a guideline, and the length of manuscripts alone will not determine the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript for publication.
  7. Graphs, figures, and appendices should be original with high resolution to ensure sharpness and readability when reduced or enlarged.
  8. All manuscripts must be submitted via the submission portal on the JCLEL website

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Submission Preparation Checklist

Authors are required to complete and adhere to the following checklist before submitting manuscripts.

  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in comments to editors).
  • The primary submission file is text-based (Microsoft Word, PDF, or other file format) unless submitted as a multimedia case study.
  • Where available, URLs and DOIs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is double-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The manuscript is free from any identifying information - in the header/footer, citations, references, in author identification embedded by the software, and in the body of manuscript.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.

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How to Submit

To submit a manuscript for this journal, you can click here. This will take you to the submission portal on JCLEL’s website, or you can head to the homepage of JCLEL and click “Submit Article” on the left-hand side of the screen and follow the instructions from there

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Copyright & Licensing Terms

All papers published in JCLEL are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Authors retain all copyrights without restrictions, and agree to the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license for their work as a condition of publication.

End users' rights under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license are outlined here. For all other purposes, permission must be obtained from the author.

Copyright and licensing terms for The Journal of Case Learning and Exceptional Learners are registered with Sherpa Romeo.

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Plagiarism Policy

JCLEL may use Similarity Check, a multi-publisher initiative, to selectively screen article submissions for originality. Similarity Check uses the iThenticate software, which checks submissions against millions of published research papers (the Similarity Check database), documents on the web, and other relevant sources. These submitted papers are not retained in the Similarity Check system after they have been checked. Read more at Crossref's Similarity Check & Researchers page. Authors should refer to the APA 7th Edition for specific information about plagiarism.

  • Self-referencing vs. self-plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism is the “act of presenting one's previously completed work as original and new” (APA, 2020, p. 21, 256). Citing your own published work is self-referencing. JCLEL encourages authors to create case studies from previous research and data; however, authors must cite the original research (self-reference) or disclose this information during the submission process.
  • Self-plagiarism or plagiarism is found at any stage of the submission process (e.g., initial submission, peer-review process), will result in an automatic rejection, and authors will not be considered for publication in this journal.
  • If plagiarism is suspected after publication, the Editors-in-Chief, in consultation with the editorial team, will conduct a preliminary investigation. Plagiarized manuscripts will be edited to include a watermark, and the paper may be retracted.
  • Using AI
  • JCLEL recognizes the increased use of AI in education. Articles created using AI must include a disclosure statement.

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Charges & Fees

JCLEL levies no submission charges, or charges or fees for publication of accepted articles.

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Digital Archiving

JCLEL is preserved using CLOCKSS, aa leading preservation archive that guarantees persistent access to journal content for the very long term. Articles also receive Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) through Crossref to ensure they can always be found.

Contact Information for Editorial Board

For concerns or questions regarding the submission of a manuscript, further clarification of guidelines for each submission type, or questions regarding the review process, please contact The Editorial Board.

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