Congratulations to our new STC IDL SIG Secretary, Marcia Shannon!

Dear IDL SIG Members, Congratulations to our new STC IDL SIG Secretary, Marcia Shannon! This was a very close race. 28 IDL SIG members took part in the elections – about 5% of our member base. We thank Sara Buchanan and Henry McCormick for putting their names into consideration; we hope to work with them in other roles within the SIG. We also thank you members for participating in this election. --Jamye Jamye Sagan Surveys & Social Media Manager, IDL SIG SIG Liaison, Community Affairs Committee, STC Member, Community Achievement Award and Pacesetter Award Committees

August 18, 2016: “Lightning Talks” webinar with Kit Brown-Hoekstra, Viqui Dill, Jamye Sagan, Mellissa Ruryk and Robert Hershenow

UPDATE: This webinar was a huge success! See the recording and slides on our Free recordings of IDL SIG webinars for members page. (requires password. Contact if you did not yet receive your password.)

Join us for “Lightning Talks” webinar with Kit Brown-Hoekstra, Viqui Dill, Jamye Sagan, Mellissa Ruryk and Robert Hershenow.

10:30 am Pacific / 11:30 am Mountain / 12:30 pm Central / 1:30 pm Eastern Thursday, August 18, 2016 Register on Eventbrite  eventbrite-142

About the webinar

Lightning talks are fast and fun. Each speaker has 5 minutes to present the topic using a 20 slide PowerPoint set to automatically advance the slides at 15 second intervals. The atmosphere is light-hearted and fast-paced as each speaker tries to bring some valuable edutainment your way. The webinar will be recorded so feel free to watch with us online and then rewatch at your leisure. No need to take notes. If you cannot attend, sign up anyway so that you will get a link to the recording.

Intended Audience

All Audiences. The content will be introductory (e.g., > “101 level”)

About the Speakers:

Kit Brown-Hoekstra — Everything I Needed to Know about Leadership, I Learned from Star Trek

A light-hearted look at what makes a good leader. From Kirk to Janeway, the Star Trek captains explored new worlds, developed their teams, and survived life-threatening situations, sometimes with sheer luck, sometimes with wit and charm, and sometimes with a clear head. Even their flaws teach us.

Viqui Dill — You stink at email

Your emails are getting ignored for a reason: you stink at it. Most of us get hundreds of messages a day. Why would anybody ever want to read that wall of text under your boring subject line?

Jamye Sagan — A Loopy Yarn: Knitting and Technical Communication

Although knitting and technical communication seem like two disparate disciplines, they share several things in common--from knowing one’s audience to paying attention to finishing details. This presentation will highlight these commonalities, from project conception to the finished deliverable, and help you think about how your own favorite hobbies relate to technical communication.

Mellissa Ruryk — Chinglish/Engrish/Spangrish

We who grew up speaking English as a first language know how exasperating it can be with all the "rules" for spelling that seem to be ignored as many times as they are applied; homonyms; and the kind of trouble you can get into by missing out just one letter (think "pubic" instead if "public"). Consider and sympathize, then, with people who don't grow up learning the twists and idiosyncrasies of this amalgam of thousands of years of British imperialism. Join us as Mellissa Ruryk shares some amusing samples of signs gone wrong around the world with Engrish, Chinglish, Spanglish and... Mangle-ish?

Robert Hershenow — What Do You Think?

What's going on inside your head? A lot more than you might think! Our conscious thought processes are only part of what our brains are up to at any moment. Find out what else is happening when you are asleep or awake, when you're happy or stressed, and how you can make the most of all that brain power. Register on Eventbrite  eventbrite-142

July 21, 2016: My Career Reinvention: TW to IDL and Beyond by Dr. Jackie Damrau, BPMN

UPDATE: This webinar was a huge success! See the recording and handout on our Free recordings of IDL SIG webinars for members page. (requires password. Contact if you did not yet receive your password.)

Join us for "My Career Reinvention: TW to IDL and Beyond" with Dr. Jackie Damrau, BPMN.

10:30 am Pacific / 11:30 am Mountain / 12:30 pm Central / 1:30 pm Eastern Thursday, July 21, 2016 Register on Eventbrite  eventbrite-142

About the webinar

Learn how one of IDL SIG's members came into the world from being a simple TW, stayed around in IDL for a while, and then stepped into a Business Analyst role where the TW and IDL skills are all useful. This is a brief glimpse into my journey. Your challenge is to ask enlightened questions of me to spur your own drive to get to your next golden opportunity.

Intended Audience

All Audiences. The content will be introductory (e.g., > “101 level”)

About the Speaker: Dr. Jackie Damrau

Dr. Jackie Damrau Dr. Jackie Damrau is a Sr. Business Systems Analyst at CBRE. In her role, Jackie models business processes and other department workgroup processes using BPMN modeling notation to use in gathering requirements for automating existing paper-based workflows as well as to help in improving processes. Jackie has more than 25 years of technical communication experience. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), member of the STC North Texas Lone Star chapter and the Instructional Design & Learning SIG, and the Book Review Editor for Technical Communication. Jackie’s past international positions have been as a SIG manager for the Instructional Design & Learning SIG; assistant SIG manager of the Management SIG; elected member of the Nominations Committee; and general manager of the STC International Summit Awards (2010–2012). Jackie enjoys spending time raising her grandkids and reading “books” when time permits. Find her on LinkedIn ( or on Twitter (@damrauja). Register on Eventbrite  eventbrite-142

The Newsletter- Q2 2016

Newsletter Banner Q2 / 2016

From the Editor

by Crista Mohammed

Crista Mohammed (1)

Hello dear readership. We have another exciting installment of IDeaL: Design for Learning. Hope you enjoy.

In this issue, Robert Hershenow—in the co-manager’s column; and Jayme Sagan—in a session review of Summit 2016, confirm that I am a dope for having missed the 63rd STC summit! Well, no excuses for those of us who missed Summit 2016, we have a whole year to plan for Summit 2017, destined for Washington, DC (May 7-10, 2017).

Robert focuses on the meetings and networking needed for running and managing the dynamic and driven organization that is the STC. Read more

Jayme reviews some of the sessions that were particularly useful and enjoyable. Read more

Jayme makes a second contribution to this issue: She advocates for using progression sessions as a way for building confidence and honing your presentation skills. Arguing that full-length presentations may be intimidating to the uninitiated, Jayme shares her personal experiences with the shorter progression format, and how they have helped her grow from a self-conscious first-timer to a confident veteran. Read more

Mellissa Ruryk shares useful insights on a shared frustration—Word™. Mellissa gives us many, many useful tips for fixing your document layout in Word, many of them new to me. Guess you can teach an old dog some new tricks. Whether these features are known to you or not, Mellissa has described them in a neat, fun-to-read package. I certainly will be sharing her column with my students…with the expectation that I will have better formatted papers to read! Read more

Following on the heels of Virginia Butler who, in our last issue, made a heartfelt plea to mentor in the STC Mentorship Programme, I am issuing a call to volunteer for our SIG and the STC at large. I share lessons learnt from over twenty years of volunteering. Read more.

Finally, “big tings a gwaan” (as Jamaicans say, meaning “big things are happening”) with our student outreach efforts. The IDL SIG recognizes the need to support Instructional Designers in training, as part of strengthening and professionalizing ID practice through formal education. Since SIGs can no longer offer scholarships, the IDL SIG has rolled out a new student support scheme: starting September 2016, students can win free STC and IDL SIG membership for original articles chosen for publication in this very newsletter. Isn’t that simply brilliant? We will encourage budding scholars to share their work with others in the community; and in turn, they will earn membership to a thriving community of practice—the STC. Wow! Read Sylvia Miller’s contribution in this issue to Read more.

From your Co-Manager

by Robert Hershenow, Co-manager


I’m just going to come out and say it: Summit 63 was the best one yet. Besides the educational sessions and programs, the networking and socializing opportunities, the food and beverage surprises (citrus ceviche, anyone?), there were many chances to connect face-to-face with STC leadership to learn and influence where the Society and Communities are headed. And it’s always a treat to stay in a nice hotel (the Marriott has the best pillows) and to explore another city’s restaurants and night life, bowling alleys and ballparks. AND we were right next to Disneyland.

But wait—there’s more! When I reviewed the schedule, I found an enticing session in every single time slot. Not just one that looked OK, but usually several that I wanted to attend. And each one lived up to its promise. Designing and delivering a riveting, dynamic presentation is not easy, but most of them were over before I thought about what time it was. Big thanks to the presenters for rising so enthusiastically to the challenge, and to Todd DeLuca and the Conference Committee for building an outstanding program.

Also impressive was the easy-to-use mobile app, which let me build and display a custom schedule on my cellphone. This was much more convenient on-the-go than pulling out the program booklet or notes on paper, and a month later I’m still consulting it for reference.

For many attendees, the greatest value of the Summit is seeing friends and colleagues with whom we interact only virtually during the rest of the year. Leadership Day (open to everyone this year, not just leaders—what a great idea): the Communities and Honors Receptions, SIG-hosted business meetings and events, and social outings offered by the host Chapter all helped to bring us together, and many impromptu gatherings happened as well. IDL SIG leaders met over dinner at a local restaurant and charted strategy for the year ahead. We also hosted a table at the Communities Reception; and two at the Business Meeting Breakfast, where we reconnected with each other, met new members, talked about what we do, and successfully recruited for open leadership positions in the SIG.

One morning at breakfast, SIG leaders met with STC leaders to discuss the past year’s developments and strategies going forward. STC Executive Director Chris Lyons explained that he envisions SIGs working more transparently within the Society, as providers of accessible content rather than silos of proprietary information. Historically, the challenge has lain in finding ways to share our insights without threatening the confidential nature of our discussions. Chris has proposed that each SIG add a Content Curator, a person whose work will be to “coalesce the discussion into useful content” for everyone. This is an exciting idea because, as Chris explained, as a virtual organization our strength is in tying all of our online presences together for increased Search Engine Optimization (SEO), better analytics, ease of access and maintenance, and savings in cost and time. If you’re interested in helping the IDL SIG manage our content please get in touch; there are many opportunities to contribute. Please join the discussion.

My top Summit souvenir is a new copy of Technical Communication Today, the text upon which the STC’s Tech Comm Certification is based. I’m studying for the exam in the Fall. For more info on certification see

If you attended the Summit you are already registered for Summit Playback (on-demand access to all the recorded sessions online, through March 2017). If you didn’t, STC members can sign up before 31 August for $199; that price increases to $249 starting September 1st. For details see: .

Finally, check out the Summit highlights video online at There’s a nice shot of IDL Co-Manager Mellissa Ruryk at 0:26; the back of my head appears momentarily at 0:35; and our own Kim Lindsey gets airtime at 1:40. Wow! Don’t miss it.

About IDeaL: Design for Learning

Publication Policy: We invite letters, articles, book reviews, and other items for publication. Articles may contain up to 1,000 words. Picture formats: JPG, GIF, PNG; Text format: Word, RTF, or ASCII. Send items to Crista Mohammed at

Advertising Policy and Rates: We encourage advertising as long as it follows STC guidelines and promotes services of interest to IDL SIG members.

Ad sizes and rates:

Half page (7.5x4.5): $75 (1 issue); $225 (4 issues)

Business Card (3.5x2): $25 (1 issue); $100 (4 issues)

Please submit electronic copy only in .TIF, .GIF, or .PNG format. Send ads to Crista Mohammed at Make checks payable to Society for Technical Communication and send to: Robert Hershenow, STC IDL SIG, 616 Colusa Ave, Berkeley CA 94707.

Copyright Statement: This newsletter invites technical communicators in the field of instructional design to submit articles for publication. The authors implicitly grant a license to this newsletter to run the submission, and for other STC publications to reprint it without permission. Copyright is held by the author. Let the editor know in your cover letter if the article has run elsewhere, and if it has been submitted for consideration to other publications. Design and layout of this newsletter are copyright STC, 2005‐2016.

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June 16, 2016: What I Would Have Liked to Know by John Hedtke

UPDATE: This webinar was a huge success! See the recording and handout on our Free recordings of IDL SIG webinars for members page. (requires password. Contact if you did not yet receive your password.)

Join us for “What I Would Have Liked to Know When I Started Out" with John Hedtke.

10:30 am Pacific / 11:30 am Mountain / 12:30 pm Central / 1:30 pm Eastern Thursday, June 16, 2016 Register on Eventbrite  eventbrite-142

About the webinar

Being a good technical communicator is a lot more than knowing how to write a good sentence and use a word processor. John Hedtke, the presenter, says “When I was starting out 30 years ago, I would have benefited strongly from having someone sit me down and say ‘Here are things you should know that will save you time, money, and pain if you learn them now.’ ” The presentation groups these ideas in four categories:
  • Who are you?
  • Career development
  • People skills
  • The Really Important stuff
There will be a handout of the slides available as well.

Intended Audience

Although aimed at people starting on their careers, this is also helpful for seasoned professionals.

About the Speaker: John Hedtke

John Hedtke John Hedtke is the award-winning author of 27 books. He has over 30 years in the software business and technical writing, and over a decade in technical publications management. John has developed and written documentation and books for many leading software products, and has received 26 writing awards to date. A complete list of books, articles, projects, and awards can be found online at his website, John owns Double Tall Consulting, a company that offers writing and business consulting services for a variety of private, public, and governmental clients. He also does numerous radio and magazine interviews and frequently travels to do lectures and guest appearances at conferences and seminars. John was the last Region 7 Director on the Society for Technical Communication’s Board of Directors and is a Fellow of the Society. When not otherwise occupied, John writes magazine articles and sleeps late as much as possible. He lives near Tacoma, WA.

Other Cool Stuff Worth Knowing:

  • John has donated 85 pints of blood.
  • John writes and sells buttons to a button company in California. Some of the clean examples are "I've suffered for my art; now it's your turn," "Stop me before I log on again," "Death is nature's way of telling you to turn off the computer," "My spirit animal is the gummy bear," "Failure is not an option—it already comes bundled with the software," and "How'd you like to curl up in bed with the author of a good book?" It doesn't pay the rent, but it's a lot of fun.
  • John has been playing banjo and guitar and singing for over 40 years. He says he gets a lot of requests when he plays the banjo, but he goes ahead and plays it anyhow.
Register on Eventbrite  eventbrite-142