We had a blast at #Conduit19

By Viqui Dill, IDL SIG Programs lead

On April 5 and 6, the STC Philadelphia Metro chapter held their annual Conduit regional conference at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. IDL SIG members were well represented, both as attendees and as presenters. I attended on the second day, April 6.

Getting to the conference on time was a challenge. Philadelphia was hosting the 13th Annual Race for Humanity to benefit Camp Can Do. Imagine crossing the street dodging runners in both directions as the race went around the Swann Memorial Fountain adjacent to the Franklin Institute.

Danielle Villegas, IDL SIG member and past president of the STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter (STC-PMC), welcomed attendees and opened the day.

Bernard Aschwanden, representing the event host, Adobe Technical Communication, delivered opening remarks. Using a clever combination of stories and product announcements for Adobe, Aschwanden urged the group to make one to one connections and build one to one relationships using any means possible, even twitter.

Neil Perlin delivered the keynote address, “Preparing for the Unknown.” He reminded the group that our tools have changed, noting that pencils have given way to the typewriter, replaced by the word processor, and now the worldwide web. “Tools are irrelevant,” Perlin stated, and then he quoted Rick Lippincott and said “We explain things.” One takeaway he gave the group was to accept the permanent temporary incompetence that comes with constant learning.

Attendees then broke up to attend their choice of four educational sessions.

IDL member Ed Marsh presented “Adding value as a technical communicator.” Marsh urged the group to document how they add value to the organization. “Newsletters work,” he recommended. Pdfs are a bad way to document because the only analytic available with a pdf is the number of downloads. Pdfs are terrible on mobile devices. Technical communicators should embrace data driven content and use the analytics provided to find out how users write and think. Marsh reminded the group that the number of words is not a measure of success. Success means that the right information is delivered to the right person, at the right time.

Although the topic was out of my comfort zone, I next attended “Negotiation Skills: The Missing Ingredient to Content Career Success” presented by Jack Molisani. He began with an icebreaker and rewarded participants with chocolate if they spoke up. He urged the group to do their homework before the negotiation. Know the success criteria and decide ahead of time when to break off the negotiation and walk away. Whenever possible, let the other side make the opening offer. Handle objections with historical data. Molisani then had the group do an exercise negotiating for a lawn care agreement. Each of the groups reported how the negotiations went, what went well, and what did not go well. He then wrapped up with reminding us that negotiating is an art, and that we should find and negotiate with “your people.”

The groups then came together for an amazing lunch provided by the Franklin Institute. Members of the IDL SIG took a moment to get a group photo. Ed Marsh, Laurie Marshall, Cindy Pao, Viqui Dill, Tim Esposito, Todd DeLuca, and Jim Bousquet represented our SIG at the conference.

After lunch, attendees again broke up to attend their choice of four sessions.

Steven Jong presented “Working and Writing across the Generations” explaining how different generations think and communicate differently. Millennials are now the largest generational group and Jong urged attendees to learn how to reach them with mobile-friendly content that is diverse, visual, and embedded.

For the last session of the day, I presented “#PowerOfStory – The cultural program that got me clicks” to a bright and engaged group. I encouraged attendees to speak up by giving them miniature rubber ducks in fun costumes, reinforcing the storytelling theme. My current job is to do internal communications within my company for IT. It’s my job to help four thousand employees make friends with our programs, especially the much avoided Microsoft Office 365 suite of products. I explained how I was able to leverage our corporate #PowerOfStory program to engage employees online and help them get over the fear of change to be able to use the tools for content management and communication.

The groups then came together for the closing session and door prizes. I was lucky enough to win a book of my choice, picking “The Language of Content Strategy” by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie.

After the conference, attendees gathered at the Kite and Key gastro pub for continued networking and collaboration.

Regional conferences like Conduit, InterChange, and Spectrum are a great benefit of STC membership. Shorter and less expensive than the big international Summit conference, regional conferences often feature some of the same speakers and topics. Smaller conferences make it easy to recognize faces and learn names, leading to better networking. The Conduit conference is an annual event and I urge you to make plans to attend in 2020.

#STC19 IDL Summit Sessions

Compiled by Viqui Dill, programs manager for the STC IDL SIG

Going to the Summit? Wondering what to see and do? Let us help you out!

Here is a list of sessions that may be of interest, chosen because the session is about instructional design and learning, presented by a SIG member, or of general interest to technical communicators. See the complete list of sessions on the Summit website.


First of all, we’re having our annual business meeting, with lunch and networking again.

IDL SIG Honest-to-Goodness Face-to-Face Business Meeting & Lunch Buffet 2019

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM MDT

Register on Eventbrite before May 5.


CPTC Preparation Training Course with Exam

Alan Houser & Jamie Gillenwater, IDL SIG members

Saturday, 4 May | 8:30 AM-4:30 PM | Quartz AB

Sunday, 5 May | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM | Quartz AB


Leadership Program

Sunday, 5 May | 8:00 AM-Noon | Mineral FG


Information Design Essentials

Saul Carliner

8:00 AM-Noon | Granite C


Opening General Session, Welcome Reception, and Expo Hall Open

Sunday, 5 May | 5:00-7:30 PM | Centennial Ballroom


Mastering Your Website 101

Timothy Esposito, IDL SIG member

Monday, 6 May | 8:00-8:45 AM


Leadership Opportunities Are Closer Than They Appear

Sara Feldman and Ben Woelk, IDL SIG member

Monday, 6 May | 8:00-8:45 AM


Meet the Editors

Andrea Ames and Sam Dragga

Monday, 6 May | 9:00-9:45 AM


More Lessons Learned: What Harry Potter Professors Teach Us About Instructional Design

Jamye Sagan, IDL SIG member

Monday, 6 May | 9:00-9:45 AM


xAPI: Geek Free Introduction for Instructional Designers

Megan Torrance

Monday, 6 May | 2:00-2:45 PM


Annual Business Meeting

Monday, 6 May | 5:00 – 6:00 PM | Centennial Ballroom


The Human Touch: Bringing Instructor Presence into eLearning Environments

Julia Cho

Tuesday, 7 May | 8:00-8:45 AM


eLearning: Creating Virtual Reality Projects with Adobe Captivate

Kevin Siegel

Tuesday, 7 May | 9:00-9:45 AM


#PowerOfStory - The Cultural Program that Got Me Clicks

Viqui Dill, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 9:00-9:45 AM


A Tale of Two Podcasts: From Concept to Reality

Allie Proff and Ben Woelk, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 10:00-11:00 AM


Topic-Based Authoring for Training

Sandra Wheeler

Tuesday, 7 May | 10:00-11:00 AM


Innovations in Tech Comm Curricula for College Programs

Russel Hirst, Craig Baehr, and Beth Agnew, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 10:00-11:00 AM


Engineering Better Training Experiences through Innovative Presentation Techniques and Technologies

Chuck Campbell, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 1:00-1:45 PM


Just-In-Time (JIT) Training

Aaron Murray

Tuesday, 7 May | 2:00-2:45 PM


Content in the Age of Machines: Incorporating Controlled Language into Your Content Strategy

Kit Brown-Hoekstra, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 4:00-4:45 PM


Honors Reception

Tuesday, 7 May | 5:15-6:45 PM | Centennial Ballroom


Education Plenary Session

Saul Carliner, Ginny Reddish, and Karen Schriver

Wednesday, 8 May | 8:00-11:00 AM | Centennial A-C


Volunteers update: Your SIG needs you!

by Viqui Dill, IDL SIG Co-manager

Welcome new volunteers and folks in new positions!

The STC Instructional Design and Learning Special Interest Group is proud to announce that we have a new assistant co-manager, secretary, and treasurer.

Marcia Shannon is moving from secretary to assistant co-manager for the community. Starting in January, Shannon will serve as co-manager and will be assisted by past co-managers, Lori Meyer and Viqui Dill. We are so glad she's bringing her knowledge about the SIG and taking her service to this higher level.

Madison Estabrook is joining the leadership team as our secretary, replacing Marcia Shannon. Estabrook is a graduate student at Missouri State and has been working in the profession for over a year. New to our SIG, she has been an STC student member since May 2017, Technical Editing SIG Quarterly Events Manager since August 2018, and has served as a Secretary for a Toastmasters club.

Jamye Sagan is stepping into the treasurer role, making her the official Swiss army knife of STC. Sagan was co-manager of the SIG from 2010-12, has served as our social media and surveys manager, serves as SIG liaison for the STC Community Affairs Committee, among other significant contributions. We are so glad she will continue to be on the leadership team as she fills this important need for the community.

Lori Meyer will be stepping down from her role as co-manager and taking up the role of membership manager. Meyer brings years of experience as membership manager for a number of STC communities.

Viqui Dill will also be stepping down as co-manager and assuming the programs manager role. She has been passionate about programs and has served the SIG in this role since 2015.

Many thanks to departing volunteers Sara Buchanan, Mellissa Ruryk, and Preeti Mather for their dedication and service as Membership Manager, Content Curator, and Training Evaluations Manager over the years. You will be missed and we can't thank you enough.

We need you, IDL SIG Members:

Our IDL SIG is a very special group of people within STC, consistently recognized as a fun community to belong to, as well as one that is beneficial to our careers. The old saying “you get out what you put in” is so true, but I would say you get back more than what you put in. Even the smaller volunteer tasks make our community more valuable to each of us. Invest a bit of your time and see! We have an immediate need for the following:

  • Co-manager (we need a second co-manager to support Marcia Shannon)
  • Surveys manager
  • Content curator
  • Training evaluations manager
  • Social media manager

See our complete list of volunteer opportunities on our website at http://www.stcidlsig.org/about-idl-sig/volunteer-opportunities/

Please send an email to manager@nullstcidlsig.org if you can help with any of these jobs.

Jamye Sagan hosts our Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House

Watch the Virtual Open House here

On December 7, 2018, SIG members and STC members gathered online for our sixth annual Virtual Open House. Jamye Sagan, longtime SIG leader and enthusiastic volunteer, opened the program which began at 7:30 pm Eastern time. Sagan chaired the meeting and welcomed attendees, inviting everyone to feel at ease and join the conversation.

Lori Meyer,  IDL SIG co-manager, presented the mission and goals of our group and stressed that members are welcome to join the group to build their skills, stretch their knowledge, ask questions, and try things out.

Sagan then introduced the team leaders one by one, highlighting the value that each area brings to members. Viqui Dill talked about the webinar series that showcases experts in our field and stressed that SIG members can attend or watch the recordings for free as a benefit of membership. Meyer presented again, this time about her role as co-manager and her passion for recognizing volunteers through our new SIG awards program. Next, Marcia Shannon discussed her role as assistant co-manager and her upcoming role as co-manager beginning in 2019, and the empowerment offered to volunteers to learn, grow, and stretch. Sagan then presented about the role of secretary and introduced our new volunteer, Madison Estabrook. Sagan followed that with her discussion of her current roles, generously wearing the hats of treasurer, social media manager, and surveys lead. Dill presented the role of membership manager and thanked Sara Buchanan for her many years of faithful service. Kelly Smith introduced herself and the newsletter, IDeaL: Design for Learning, inviting attendees to submit articles to be published online.  Shannon and Sagan gave an update about the Student Outreach Program chaired by Sylvia Miller, which offers the opportunity for students to be published before they graduate. Meyer presented the role of content curator and thanked Mellissa Ruryk for filling that need in . Sagan gave an update about the website maintained by Maralee Sautter, the training evaluations program, and some of our other SIG programs, the discussion list maintained by Dr. Elizabeth Bailey, and the STC mentoring program championed by Scott McCoy.

Sagan then summarized the benefits of membership, including the opportunity to meet face to face at the STC Summit and attend the educational sessions specific to IDL. Meyer summarized the benefits of volunteering and invited attendees and members to take the next step and support the SIG. Sagan explained how to join the SIG and invited attendees to sign up, then presented contact information including links to our social media outlets.

Congratulations to Paula Robertson, Angelina Nachimuthu, Kelly Smith, and Marcia Shannon  who won the Amazon gift cards at the end of the meeting. An informal discussion about IDL and the cats we love wrapped up the meeting, offering us another opportunity to connect online.

Many thanks to attendees and presenters, especially to Jamye Sagan for bringing us the Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House.