Essential Readings in Problem-Based Learning

Call: Special issue 2024

“I have not been a philologist in vain—perhaps I am one yet: a teacher of slow reading. I even come to write slowly. At present it is not only my habit, but even my taste—a perverted taste, maybe—to write nothing but what will drive to despair every one who is “in a hurry.” For philology is that venerable art which exacts from its followers one thing above all—to step to one side, to leave themselves spare moments, to grow silent, to become slow—the leisurely art of the goldsmith applied to language: an art which must carry out slow, fine work, and attains nothing if not lento. For this very reason, philology is now more desirable than ever before; for this very reason it is the highest attraction and incitement in an age of “work”: that is to say, of haste, of unseemly and immoderate hurry-skurry, which is intent upon “getting things done” at once, even every book, whether old or new. Philology itself, perhaps, will not “get things done” so hurriedly: it teaches how to read well: i.e. slowly, profoundly, attentively, prudently, with inner thoughts, with the mental doors ajar, with delicate fingers and eyes.” Friedrich Nietzsche


This is a special call for a special issue. The issue has two purposes. First to present the reader of the issue with several readings and texts that have meaning in the context of essential PBL research. We imagine a table of contents for a scholar to study and to be inspired by. This scholar can be new to the field, and thereby be given an access or pathway into the field on which to build his/her further exploring. Or the scholar may be well-established and then be allowed to reflect, to reimagine and to revisit those foundational works that once were done and now seem partly forgotten. Enthusiastically and boldly we hope to assemble an issue that can provide a concentrated and selected, but valuable and profound brick or pillar for the research field of PBL in Higher Education.  

The second purpose is to strike a blow for the slow-reading movement. The movement has been around for a while and has many cousins, such as slow-food, slow-travel and even slow-medicine. Recently we ran into slow reading during a conference on scholarship of teaching and learning. The presentation focused on the movements merits in terms of providing a ground for critic of neoliberalism, capitalism and colonialism, while promoting and siding with feminist and post-human positions. However, it does not have to be as radical as that. In short, slow-reading is just a more careful attitude, focusing on working with dense, complex, and important texts, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. Trust not in numbers of citations, or in endless or needless empirical studies with dubious scientific value, but instead to indulge in the text, making meaning and enriching a comprehension. This movement or idea or academic devotion has inspired us, to try to create this special issue in its spirit. We would like to have the contributors carefully read or re-read an essential text in PBL. A text that means something, that requires attention and that makes a difference. A text worthy of a slow reading.

So, this is a call for a special issue, in which researchers will present a special text. The text should play a part in their comprehension of PBL, and in the article, the researcher will write on this text, he/she can talk us through it, explain its value, tell its story, or just comment on what it means to them. Make us and the readers of the special issue curious about the text and make it meaningful for the PBL research community.

The papers we look for can have one of five formats and should be short (up to 3000 words) and insightful. The focus is the chosen text and the authors reading of it. This allows for academic writing of slightly different styles than the usual research article – in this issue, we do not care about IMRAD, Toulmin-models or a long list of references – we only care about sincerity, indulgence, and revelation.


Paper formats:

  1. A descriptive and/or normative presentation of the essential work
  2. A critical review of the essential work
  3. A personal introduction to the essential work
  4. An explanation of the essential work’s role and place in the PBL research history and syllabus
  5. A creative pitch, aimed at finding new readers for the essential work



Submission and review of abstracts:  April 30th, 2024

Response to authors of abstracts:  May 10th, 2024

Submission of articles for peer review:  September 15th, 2024

Peer review sent to authors:  October 31st, 2024

Resubmission of articles following peer review: November 30th, 2024

Layout and copyedit:  December 10th, 2024

Publication: December 20th, 2024


Submission and Review Process:

Prospective authors intending to submit a paper for the special issue are asked to supply an abstract stating:

  1. the title of the essential reading one wish to present,
  2. the chosen format of one’s paper
  3. a short text with some reasons for choosing the particular reading, including its relation to PBL.

The editorial team will review the proposals and identify abstracts that are suitable for being developed into full papers.

Please send the abstract to Patrik Kjærsdam Telléus,

Full manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the journal's author guidelines and submitted via the journal’s manuscripts system to the section: Special Issue: Essential Readings in Problem-Based Learning.

Manuscripts for the special issue should be no more than 3000 words in length, as indicated in the guidelines for case submissions. Please note that the word count is inclusive of the title, author details, approx. 150 words abstract, keywords and reference list as well as any tables and appendices that the manuscript may contain.

Manuscripts must be original and may not have been previously published, nor may they be under consideration for publication elsewhere at the time of submission to JPBLHE and throughout the duration of the review process. Each full manuscript will be subjected to double-blind peer review.

For full details of the editorial criteria and comprehensive instructions on how to submit a paper, please consult the journal's author guidelines. For further information, please visit the journal web page:

Queries and requests for further information may be directed to the editors-in-charge of this special issue of JPBLHE:



Patrik Kjærsdam Telléus

Kathrine Liedtke Thorndahl

Camilla Rams Rathleff

David Kergel