From the Editor

By Kelly Smith

At the 65th annual STC Summit In May, I had the great pleasure of volunteering to take the reins of IDeaL from former managing editor Crista Mohammed. In the months since, I have worked closely with the co-managers (Viqui Dill and Lori Meyer) and others to create this, my first issue of IDeaL.

At the SIG meeting in June, the group suggested that my first post as managing editor should include a brief autobiography, since I am relatively new to the STC and have not been very active in the SIG until now. I joined STC in 2015 and have attended every Summit since that first one in Columbus. I started out knowing almost nothing about the STC and knowing almost no one in the organization. Since then, I’ve made many friends and have learned more than I could possibly sum up. Each year I am struck by the diversity and vibrancy of our community.

My life as a technical communicator began when I volunteered to write a software user manual for a student project in 1996. Since then I moved from Canada to the United States to work and although my first job title was programmer analyst, I quickly transitioned into being “the writer” on every team I’ve been on. I eventually took some online classes and certifications to make my skills more official and since then, I have written two non-fiction books, have worked as senior editor for a national quilting magazine, and have written or edited hundreds of manuals, procedures, presentations, papers, and other IT and business-related documents, including other newsletters.

When I’m not working, I am studying to earn my MS in Technical Communication Management from Mercer University. I plan to graduate in 2019.

With that out of the way, welcome to the Q3 2018 issue of your IDL SIG Newsletter!

In this issue

Co-manager Lori Meyer congratulates people who have stepped into new roles within the SIG and puts out a request for new volunteers to fill several other roles. If you’d like to have a hand in running our SIG, now is the time to step forward! The SIG needs an assistant co-manager, a secretary, a membership manager, a social media and surveys manager, and a content curator. As you can see, there is ample opportunity to try your hand at a new skill, or provide your existing expertise to the SIG. In addition, the SIG has launched an awards program. Check our Lori’s article to find out more about all these topics.

In the Secretary’s Column Marcia Shannon discusses what dancers and technical communicators have in common.

Co-manger Viqui Dill wrote a wonderful recap of IDL SIG adventures at STC18 in Orlando, Florida. Be sure to check out her photos! In addition, Viqui provides us with a comprehensive review of Li-At Rathbun’s presentation “We Stoop to Conqquer: Adjusting to Mediocrity”. Viqui also provided us with a list of upcoming webinars on a wide range of topics.

Practitioner Rachel Musicante describes for us how she uses IDL concepts to enrich the lives of seniors in assisted living facilities. Rachel incorporates music and games to reach all the residents, even those suffering from dementia. Music really is the universal language.

Student Outreach Chairperson Sylvia Miller wrote about the IDL SIG’s Student Outreach program. This is a great opportunity for undergraduates and graduate students alike to have their work published here, and possibly in the TCBOK.

My classmate, Elizabeth Patterson, reviews Digital Media Ethics by Charles Ess. This book explores ethical issues encountered in digital media and would be a great resource for students, teachers, and any technical communicator who works with online content.

Jamye Sagan is preparing for the bi-annual demographic survey of IDL SIG members. In addition, she reminds everyone of our our sixth annual Virtual Open House. Check out both articles for details. She also wrote a recap of three wonderful sessions from Summit ‘18. Check out her summaries of the sessions on introverted leaders, podcasting, and what we can learn from rock & roll.

About IDeaL: Design for Learning

Giving Graduates an Edge in the Job Market

By Sylvia Miller, Student Outreach Chairperson

For the third year the IDL SIG is offering undergrad and graduate students a chance to publish an article before completing their degrees through our Student Outreach program. First, students submit a brief article about instructional design to our team of judges. If the judging team deems the article worthy of being published in our newsletter—the one you’re reading right now—the student is awarded a one-year STC membership that includes belonging to the IDL SIG. The potential benefits are multiple. Students can:

  • Get their name in front of hundreds of practicing professionals who read our newsletter.
  • Add a link in their résumé and on their LinkedIn page to the published article.
  • Benefit from feedback of practicing professionals—the judges team.
  • Present their published article during job interviews.

And that’s not all. With the student’s permission, the IDL SIG will submit articles we publish in this newsletter for inclusion in the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK). If the article is accepted for inclusion in the TCBOK, the student will earn an additional one-year STC/IDL membership! He or she can also insert another link in their résumé to the article in the TCBOK, which is available for reference by thousands of professional technical communicators.

Here is what L. Stoe said about having his article published in our newsletter:

“Being published under the Student Outreach Program provided a forum for me to apply and test my skills learned in my classes in Technical Communication & Professional Writing. The competitive process was fun and increased my self-confidence. I printed the published article and showed it as I interviewed for a new position as a technical publications writer just last month. I got the job and definitely feel that the published article helped me. Having a published article to show others strengthens any portfolio. I encourage others to go for it... I cannot overstate how nice it was to show my article during my interviews.”

Please help us spread the word!

Please help us advertise this unique opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to have an article published. Share information about the 2018-2019 Student Outreach program with colleagues, students, professor/instructor friends, friends with college-age children, and anyone who stands to benefit from gaining an edge in today’s job market.


All necessary details are at http://www.stcidlsig.org/students/youcanbepublished/, including a list of potential article topics, contributor guidelines, frequently asked questions, and a submission form. Thank you in advance for sharing this opportunity with others.

2018 Summit Session Reviews for IDeaL

By Jamye Sagan

During the 2018 STC Summit in Orlando, FL, I attended several interesting presentations. Here are highlights from three of them.

Introvert in the Workplace

Ben Woelk (@benwoelk)

Over the past few years, Woelk has emerged as a leading authority on introverts and their leadership qualities. This presentation discussed how introverts can be influencers and leaders in the workplace. One item that resonated with me is that influence has to do with your presence and accessibility, not your job title.

Woelk also described the traits of introverted leadership, which include: placing the spotlight on the team instead of self, listening to listen and not to simply respond, and cultivating a safe space to share ideas. Most of all, the introverted leader embodies servant leadership, which is basically leading by example and working alongside your team. Overall, introverted leadership is all about harnessing your innate skills to help influence and be a role model with those with whom you interact.

Great presentation not only for us introverts, but also good for extroverts to better understand how we work.

All I Know About Collaboration I Learned from Rock and Roll

Aiessa Moyna (@aiessamoyna)

In her presentation, Moyna shared five different lessons about collaboration through the lens of various rock music groups.

Seek diverse perspectives. Using the example of how Dave Grohl has been part of Nirvana and Foo Fighters (two vastly different music groups), Moyna explains how teammates should examine issues from different points of view.

Build trust and bust barriers. Through the warning tale of Yoko Ono’s influence on the Beatles, Moyna shows how teammates should maintain focus on a common vision and not foster an “us vs. them” attitude.

Work your network. Just as Dave Grohl collaborates with artists from vastly different genres – such as pop singer Justin Timberlake, jazz musician Dave Koz, and R&B group Boyz II Men – we should reach out beyond our immediate team. Moyna emphasizes that we should stay in touch with people we’ve successfully worked with before.

Manage conflict. Conflict is inevitable; sometimes we must stop and ask ourselves these two questions: What is the issue? How can we solve the issue? Moyna uses the example of the breakup and eventual reunion of classic rock group The Eagles in explaining this lesson.

When all else fails, improvise. Moyna uses jam bands such as Phish and Grateful Dead to illustrate this lesson in flexibility and cultivating a comfortable working environment. Even though members of jam bands may play vastly different instruments, they listen to and follow one another as they perform. Jam band members also look out for one another and do not let a member fail. Most importantly, jam bands foster a comfortable environment where members can take risks and, if they fail, simply try something new.

Overall, Moyna uses great musical analogies to show how people with different skills work together.

Can You Hear Me Now? Podcasting as Teaching & Communication Tool

Jennifer Goode (@ProfGoode, www.thepodcasthost.com)

In her presentation, Goode described how podcasts can be used in education and communication

Since podcasts are serial in nature, deal with specific topics, and are accessible at any time, they make excellent tools for asynchronous learning. Podcasts also appeal to auditory learners and can help build a community via common listenership.

Goode recommended that the ideal podcast is 15-30 minutes – long enough to delve into a topic, but not so long as to lose the listener’s interest.

Not only did Goode explain why podcasts are ideal learning and communication tools, she also shared advice on recording and production equipment:

Minimum equipment needed to record a podcast include microphone, speakers, and free sound editing software such as Audacity.

Better equipment includes: more advanced sound editing software, microphone with boom arm and pop filter, noise-cancelling headphones, soundboard, and room-dampening materials.

In fact, the moment I heard about audio equipment and recording techniques, I immediately thought of our own Robert Hershenow (@rdhcomm), who has delivered several webinars and presentations on this topic.

Finally, Goode explained basic steps for planning a podcast:

  • Select a topic, audience, format, and podcast name.
  • Script an intro and conclusion, to provide a consistent framework for all podcasts. Of course, the body content will change.
  • Integrate media (e.g. music, sound effects, cover art) to enhance your podcast (but watch out for copyright issues!)
  • Publish podcast. Goode suggested publishing through website or media host, and using a directory (e.g. iTunes, Spotify, RSS) to make podcasts easier to find.

This session provided a wealth of practical information that I could incorporate into my work relatively quickly.

We need co-managers, Love Actually style

Hey IDL friends!

I made this silly video to help get the word out that we need co-managers for the next fiscal year. Lori and I will be stepping aside and we need some fresh volunteers to participate. Please consider this need and then step up. Send an email to manager@nullstcidlsig.org to get involved.

We need co-managers, Love Actually style

Here is the text of my Labor Day cards below.  See the real video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KtVKu9CfDA

SHH! SAY IT’S LABOR DAY SINGERS

WITH ANY LUCK BY NEXT YEAR OUR SIG WILL HAVE NEW CO-MANAGERS

BUT FOR NOW, LET ME SAY WITHOUT HOPE OR AGENDA, JUST BECAUSE IT’S LABOR DAY, (AND ON LABOR DAY YOU TELL THE TRUTH) TO ME YOU ARE PERFECT AND MY WASTED HEART WILL THANK YOU IF YOU’LL STEP UP AND BE OUR SIG CO-MANAGER

IT’S A SUPER FUN JOB THAT ONLY TAKES A FEW HOURS A MONTH TO RUN OUR LEADERSHIP MEETING, APPROVE OUR EXPENSES, AND ENCOURAGE OUR MEMBERS AND VOLUNTEERS

WE HAVE MANY GREAT VOLUNTEERS

IT LOOKS GREAT ON A RESUME, COUNTS BIG ON STC FELLOW APPLICATIONS, AND LETS YOU FORM RELATIONSHIPS WITH SOME OF TECH COMM’S FINEST

AND LORI AND I WILL BE HERE TO HELP YOU SO WILL BETH, JAMYE, KELLY, MARCIA, MARALEE, SARA, SCOTT, AND SYLVIA

SO PLEASE CONSIDER BECOMING OUR NEW CO-MANAGER

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

IDL SIG Business Meeting May 21, 2018

Hey everyone who attended our business meeting at the #STC18 Summit. We're so glad you joined us.

Slides are available in a number of formats:

We also have pdf versions of the other handouts:

Join our SIG for just $10 by sending an email to Erin Gallilee  membership@nullstc.org. We would love to have you aboard!

And if you haven't yet, could you please take a minute to tell us how we did? We have a short survey with 8 easy questions.

https://goo.gl/forms/2VAjPE0aHYTGH8lR2

Thanks again for joining us. Don't be shy about contacting us with any questions, suggestions, feedback, or just to say "Hi."

Your IDL SIG volunteers, Viqui, Lori, Mellissa, Jamye, and Crista

manager@nullstcidlsig.org