Passing the Torch

By: Lori Meyer, outgoing co-manager

Where did the time go? At the beginning of 2016, Viqui Dill and I started our terms as assistant co-managers of our SIG, became co-managers in 2017, and have had the honor of leading our SIG for the past two years. Now, it's time to step down, and as my term ends, I want to give my thanks to the incredible leadership team we've worked with.

Mellissa Ruryk, you were the first volunteer to welcome me to the SIG leadership team in 2014, when I stepped into the role of SIG secretary. Your support of me has never diminished. As the creator of our first SIG manager handbook, you have left a valuable guide for future SIG leaders.

Jamye Sagan, you've been a role model of taking on multiple roles. You have excelled in everything you have done for the SIG, and your love of cats has brought me much joy. As the inspiration behind the creation of our virtual open houses, you helped us provide a creative and fun way to introduce ourselves to the techcomm community and encourage membership and involvement in our SIG.

Robert Hershenow, you supported me through my leadership journey both in our SIG and in the East Bay Chapter. Your impressive skills with graphics and your excellent work on our newsletter provided a strong foundation on which we are continuing to provide this valuable communication resource.

James Bousquet, your impeccable organization as our former treasurer provided an inspiring model of efficient leadership combined with a friendly and open communication style that makes our SIG the special place that it is.

Beth Bailey, your pristine management of our mailing lists has contributed greatly to our ability to communicate with each other efficiency, and has provided a great example of quiet leadership and engagement.

Sylvia Miller, you have demonstrated that you really care about our students. Thank you for leading our successful initiative to provide them with opportunities to have their work published and recognized.

Preeti Mathur, your solid expertise in instructional design has benefited our SIG over the years and has enabled us to offer a training evaluation program for which we were recognized by the STC.

Sara Buchanan, your attention to our members has helped us assure that each new member was welcomed, and your detailed reports made sure that we always knew our membership growth patterns.

Scott McCoy, you have guided our mentoring program for the last several years, enabling us to continue this valuable educational resource.

Marcia Shannon, you hit the ground running, first as our SIG secretary and now as our incoming co-manager. It has been a joy to see you move forward on a leadership path fueled by a sincere desire to serve. We look forward to your leadership in 2019!

Crista Mohammed, you led the re-emergence of our SIG newsletter, IDeal, and never wavered in your effort to provide the best quality content to our readers.

Kelly Smith, as Crista's successor, your excellent work is enabling us to continue providing a quarterly online newsletter that informs and teaches.

Cindy Pao, you were a co-manager when I began my volunteer journey with the SIG.  Your unstoppable enthusiasm, focus on service, and ongoing desire to learn and grow reminded me that the IDL SIG was a very special community.

Maralee Sautter, your many volunteer activities over the years have helped make our SIG a strong community. Your work as our webmaster this year has made it possible for us to provide an online communication channel that keeps our members current and educates the wider techcomm community about the value we add.

Madison Estabrook, thanks so much for joining the leadership team as our secretary in 2019. We look forward to working with you!

And finally….

Viqui, being your fellow volunteer in two STC communities has been a blessing, but I feel especially fortunate to have been your co-manager over the last two years. Your technical skills, multiple talents, enthusiasm, and genuine spirit of giving have inspired and strengthened us all. You always went above and beyond, taking on the program manager role in addition to being a co-manager. Because of your work, we have had an outstanding lineup of webinar presenters. Thank you for being a leader, teacher, and friend to all.

With sincere gratitude all of you,


Secretary’s Column

By: Marcia Shannon

This is my last secretary’s column; I am both happy and sad to write that. I am transitioning from assistant co-manager to co-manager in January 2019. Being secretary was a very satisfying, interesting, empowering experience. Answering, “I can do that,” when the secretary spot opened transformed me. I stopped lurking in the background; I discovered what I could do. Without that first step and the experiences that followed, I would not be ready to tackle the co-manager job. What looked too complicated a few years ago now seems like a manageable challenge. As with every role in the SIG, there are experienced members ready to help me succeed.

According to the STC charter, we need a secretary to help keep track of our SIG’s activities. It is an easy way to get involved with the SIG. It gives you a front-row seat to all SIG activity just by attending the monthly meetings and posting the minutes. I learned Google Docs and a good bit about the ins and outs of STC community activities. Writing the secretary columns and other articles for the newsletter helped me develop my personal style.  

The Instructional Design and Learning SIG is a dynamic collection of people with varied tech comm experience. We enjoy sharing what we know and helping one another solve those pesky TC issues that crop up at work. Seize this opportunity to test yourself, expand your skills, and keep our SIG a pace-setting community by stepping up and saying “I can do that”. If secretary isn’t your cup of tea, there are several other open positions you have the skill to fill. Involvement in the SIG will expand your STC experience and let you stretch past the everyday work world. 

Call for nominees for new SIG awards program

By: Lori Meyer

We’re proud to call for nominees for our new SIG awards program! Although we are continuing to participate in STC awards programs, our awards will provide additional opportunities to celebrate the contributions of our great volunteers, and put recognition within the reach of more SIG members.

Two awards will be given:

  • SIG Volunteer Achievement Award
  • SIG New Volunteer Award

SIG Volunteer Achievement Award

Who is eligible:

Any SIG member who has at least two years of SIG membership and volunteer activity by January 1 of the year in which they are nominated.

Description of award:

This award is given to a volunteer who has demonstrated consistent service to the SIG over a period of two or more years, either as a volunteer in a recurring role, or as a volunteer who has served in many ways without having held an elected office or appointed position. The award reflects a recipient's contributions such as adding value for SIG members, making volunteers’ jobs easier, encouraging continued participation in the SIG, and demonstrating creativity and teamwork.

SIG New Volunteer Award

Who is eligible:

  • Anyone who has been a SIG member for no less than four months or no more than two years by January 1 of the year in which they are nominated, and has offered significant volunteer activity within that year.


  • Anyone who has been a SIG member for longer than one year, but who has offered significant volunteer activity for the first time in the history of their membership.

Examples of significant volunteer activity include:

  • Serving as a committee chair, keeping the committee active, and working with the committee to provide new or innovative services.
  • Taking on a task that solves a SIG problem or that motivates others to become involved as volunteers.
  • Creating an innovative event or process that benefits the SIG.

Description of award:

This award is given to a SIG member who has volunteered for the first time. This can be someone with a year or less of SIG membership who has offered significant volunteer activity during that time, or someone who has been a SIG member for one or more years but who has offered significant volunteer activity for the first time. This award seeks to recognize newer SIG members who “hit the ground running” as volunteers, or longer-term members who never have volunteered before but stepped up for the first time.

We’re looking for nominees for these awards. If you would like to nominate a fellow SIG member, please contact us at and tell us:

  • The name of your nominee and the recommended award.
  • A description of why you feel this nominee should receive the award.

Please submit your nominations by December 31, 2018.

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

Please send an email to if you can help with any of these jobs.

How to Create Objectives

By: Daniel Maddox

Course developers seem to diverge in terms of how to create course objectives. I have observed two very different methods in use. This article examines the strengths and weaknesses of each method.

What do we need to teach?

Commonly, the first question that is asked when we sit down to create a course is, “What do we need to teach?” In a course I took in college, this was the question we were told to start with. It was also the question used by a documentation department I once worked for. This is a very simple question to start with, but it does bring with it some difficulties. Here is a brief description of how this method works:

Stage Description
Initial This question guides everything else that you do. You begin compiling a list of needed course content right off the bat.
1 After you figure out what you need to teach, you start asking questions about who you’re teaching, and what your goals are with that teaching. What is the audience’s background? What are their expectations? Where will they be trained? What technology is available?

It may be at this point that you write down the objectives for the course. However, you might wait until stage 2 or 3, when you have finalized your list of course content. That way, you can roll those categories of content up into objectives at the end of course preparation.

2 Based on your analysis, you create a plan for getting the content together. Who are the subject matter experts whom you need to interview? What will the weekly expectations be for completing the work?
3 How do you ensure that you have taught the content you intended to? How do you ensure that your audiences really gets it, knows what they need to know, and can do what they need to do?

At this point, all that remains is to create the actual course content, deliver it, and evaluate it.

This is a very simple method to use. Anyone can sit down with a couple of subject matter experts or salespeople and write down a list of topics that need to be addressed. And anyone can look at that course content and create objectives that relate to teaching that content. This is really the only strength that I can think of. Simplicity is nice.

There is one glaring weakness with this method: How do you ensure that you have solved the right problem? If you start out by discussing what it is that you need to teach, how do you ensure that, to borrow from Stephen Covey, you are leaning your ladder against the right wall? You can evaluate the course however you want, but if you don’t start out by defining the problem, then how do you know that the successful delivery of a given set of content will solve that problem? This method puts the cart before the horse.

What is the problem? What are our objectives?

Here is a description of the second option we have in creating course objectives:

Stage Description
Initial The first questions you ask are: What do we want class participants to walk away with? What do we want to achieve in this course, at a high level?

Based on your answers to these questions, you create a list of overall objectives right off the bat.

1 Based on your objectives, you know what content you will need to create in order to satisfy those objectives. The content begins to come together pretty quickly and logically at this point.
2 Based on the content that will meet the objectives, you figure out how to create and deliver the content in a way that satisfies the objectives most directly.
3 To do this right, you just go back to the overall objectives. Does the course content get us to these objectives?

In this situation, you will know at the end of your evaluations whether or not the course was successful in solving the original business problem.

There is a higher up-front cost to using this method. You might need to have a separate, initial meeting with subject matter experts to nail down overall objectives before you can begin actually deciding what content to deliver in the course.


How do you move from option #1 to option #2? What if there is significant resistance to this change in your organization? What if people just want to ask, “Hey, what do we need to teach here?”

Why not start with a testing of the new method? Use the old method to create one course. This is your control group. Then use the new, objectives-focused method to create a course. When you have performed your evaluations, go back and compare the two methods, to see which actually did more to solve the problems that they were created to solve. With careful analysis, you and your management will see how much sense it makes to create objectives before thinking about what content to deliver.