The Journal of Extension -

April 2013 // Volume 51 // Number 2 // Editorial // v51-2ed1

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JOE at 50


In "JOE at 50," I talk about the journal's 50th anniversary, about some of the milestones that have occurred along the way, and about recent changes in the JOE site's look, function, and content. In "April JOE," I point to eight articles, just skimming the surface of an issue full of articles worth reading.

Laura Hoelscher
Editor, Journal of Extension
Department of Agricultural Communication
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Fifty years ago, in the spring of 1963, the Journal of Extension was first published. The Journal of Extension (JOE) has changed a lot over the last half century.

Real milestones occurred in 1992, when the winter issue was made available on the Internet as part of a pilot study on the feasibility electronic delivery of the journal; in 1993, when the winter issue marked the last hard copy publication of JOE; and in June 1994, when JOE became available exclusively on the Internet. Then editor Michael Lambur (a current JOE reviewer, by the way) wrote in his Editor's Page that "the change to an electronic format has been an extremely challenging and adventurous learning experience."

The electronic format does not present quite the same challenge it did 19 years ago, but the adventure continues. For example, who'd have thought in 1994 that all JOE articles would be accompanied by searchable keywords? Below, I talk about some more recent JOE changes.

New Look

By now, you've probably noticed the journal's new look and the dynamic new look of the JOE site. If you haven't, check out There, you'll also see a feature celebrating our 50th anniversary that invites you to "take a trip through time, read articles in past issues, and learn how we've changed—and how we haven't—at:"

New Function

The site not only looks different (and, I think, better), it also functions differently thanks to something called "responsive design."

I asked JOE's Webmaster, Ohio State's Eric Owens, to explain the improvements for which he can take credit. He sent me this:

The new JOE website features a responsive template that adjusts the layout to the resolution of the device the user is viewing it on. For those users on computers and larger tablets, the website will appear as a normal website and adjust to the width of that users active browser window. For those on smaller mobile devices such as Android Phones, iPhones, or iPods, the website will shift to a more mobile-friendly interface with a simplified touchscreen menu.


New Content

There's also some neat—and helpful—new content on the JOE site. Look under About JOE for a webinar from Iowa State's Nancy Franz on JOE and the Engaged Scholarship Movement. And under Help for JOE Authors, you'll find a webinar from Oregon State's Deborah Maddy on Writing for the Journal of Extension.

JOE hasn't stood still, but, then, neither has Extension.

April JOE

The first three Features, "Nutrition Education Brings Behavior and Knowledge Change in Limited-Resource Older Adults" <>, "Information Needs and Challenges Faced by Adult Child Financial Caregivers of Aging Parents" <>, and "The eXtension Employed Family Caregiver Survey: Highlights from Data Gathered from Wisconsin Employees and Employers in 2010 and 2011" <>, all deal with the meeting the needs of older adults. And the first article cited is paired with a complementary Tools of the Trade article, "Application of Crossover Design for Conducting Rigorous Extension Evaluations" <>.

The first two Ideas at Work articles, "Effectively Communicating Science to Extension Audiences" <> and "Creating Research-Based Videos That Can Affect Behavior" <>, have obvious commonalities that are dear to this communicator's heart.

And there are two more Tools of the Trade articles on apps, indicating the growing popularity of that technology: "Encouraging Rain Garden Installation with a Smart Phone App" <> and "Caught with Your Plants Down? There's an App for That!" <>.

I've just skimmed the surface of an issue full of articles worth reading.