American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology Vol.18 114 May 2009. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/ed-02)
© American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Laura Justice, Editor
I was recently asked to give a guest lecture in a colleague's
class on the topic of language-learning disabilities. To prepare
for the lecture, I went back to old course files on my computer
from when I taught the course "Language Disorders: School-Age
Populations" back in 2001. To my surprise, among my course files,
there were no PowerPoint slideshows for me to review and (hopefully)
borrow content from—rather, I found lecture notes written
in longhand that corresponded to a set of overhead transparencies.
It is almost impossible for me to recall teaching from lecture
notes and transparencies, despite it only being a relatively
short time ago when apparently I did! I don't recall the transparency-to-PowerPoint
transition as being particularly difficult, although I do recall
there being a period where I would bring overhead transparencies
of my PowerPoint slides as a "backup" when giving conference
presentations. And, I'll admit, occasionally I feel nostalgic
for my transparencies, particularly in those perennial instances
when technology lets me down.
My experience reflects a broader social shift as we transition from relying on print to electronic media in many facets of life. Presently, I use online resources to pay my bills, book hotel accommodations and airline travel, register for conferences, research restaurant menus and movie schedules, print airline boarding passes, track my spending, sample and purchase music, correspond with family and friends, and shop for books, clothing, and household merchandise. Just last year, I finally transitioned from a paper calendar to an online Outlook-based calendar; of all the transitions from paper to electronic media, the shift to online scheduling was the most challenging for me (and the one I most strongly resisted).
There is yet another impending print-to-electronic-media transition that will affect not only me but all the readers of ASHA journals, and that is the upcoming shift to online-only journals scheduled to happen with the 2010 volumes. The benefits of going to online-only journals are numerous and include cost-effectiveness and sensitivity to the environment, to name just a few. Currently, I suspect that many readers of this column already utilize ASHA resources available online at www.asha.org, to include not only the comprehensive archives of all previous issues of AJSLP but also a variety of other key archival documents (e.g., the online Leader, Code of Ethics, and cardinal documents of the Association). Importantly, the shift to online-only journals will allow integration of new features and tools that could only be possible by going online. Specifically, efforts are under way to offer enhanced online supplementary content linked to journal articles, such as videos, sound clips, and images designed to help readers better understand content presented in articles. For instance, a research article involving presentation of auditory stimuli to adult listeners could be coupled with sound clips so that readers could hear the exact stimuli used in the study. Because replication of study findings is critical to the process of scientific accumulation, the possibilities presented by attaching enhanced online content to articles are particularly exciting.
Over the next months, I encourage readers of AJSLP to begin to prepare for the transition from paper to online-only journals so that it is as seamless as possible. You can do this by familiarizing yourself with the available online version of the current issue of the journal as well as the entire archive at the journal's home page (http://ajslp.asha.org/). Additionally, go ahead and follow the "Sign Up for E-mail Alerts" link on the AJSLP home page so that you can receive the table of contents directly to your inbox as each AJSLP issue is released. When you begin to receive these alerts, follow the link and browse the journal online so that you become accustomed to examining the online version of the journal rather than the print version, which in the near future will no longer be available.
I recognize that change is difficult, yet it is also the pathway to possibility. While many of us will lament the loss of our print journals for some time once they go away, I suspect there will be a time not far into the future when we reflect on those old print journals in the same way that I reflected on the overhead transparencies with which I used to lecture: slightly nostalgic but glad we moved on.
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