IDL SIG Manager’s Column Q4 2021

By Maralee Sautter

Year-end review

The winter solstice has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and 2021 is ending. The days are growing longer, and the nights shorter. The weather is cold with snow predicted in my part of the world—the northwest coast of the USA. Sitting by the fire brings about reflection, warmth, and memories of a year of IDL SIG accomplishments. (If you’re bathed in warmth or heat where you are, you are lucky!)

The IDL SIG team has been very busy during this last quarter of 2021: delivering great programs, fun social events (such as our Virtual Open House), a contest that all STC members could enter, and a 2-hour, interactive workshop. Our student-run First Fridays at 5 meetups have been highly successful, and a great place to chat, learn, and exchange ideas. We have many accomplishments under our collective belt this year because we have an amazing volunteer team with innovative ideas and the initiative to take them into reality. We are already planning for 2022 and have great programs and benefits lined up for you.

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to renew or join STC, be sure to do it soon. The official deadline is December 31, but there’s still time afterward. To join or renew, click STC Join-Renew and be sure to select Instructional Design & Learning as your SIG of choice. Depending on your membership category, you may have to pay a few extra dollars, but we are worth it!

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to learn. If you are interested in joining our team, please send an email to Anita at If you want to explore leadership opportunities (co-manager wanted), please email Maralee at

While we all have been through a lot during the pandemic, I hope that everyone in the IDL SIG & STC family is looking forward to 2022 with optimism. Let’s make it a great year!

Spread the Word—IDL SIG article writing competition deadline February 18, 2022

Your SIG runs a competition twice yearly to award students with a complimentary membership and bring in fresh new perspectives on the world of Instructional Design. Help us attract a wide range of entrants by publicizing the competition at your workplace, local STC chapter, library, or university.

You could be published before you graduate!

The Society for Technical Communication’s IDL SIG invites undergraduate- and graduate-level students to submit articles related to instructional design to the Student Outreach Article Competition for a chance to be published in our quarterly newsletter IDeaL: Design for Learning.

Winning the Student Outreach Article Competition and having your article published can help you increase your chances of being hired after graduation. It might be just the edge you need to land a great job in technical communication or instructional design!

By having your article published, you will:

  • Get your article in front of hundreds of practicing professionals.
  • One-year complimentary STC student membership.
  • Membership in the IDL SIG.
  • Link your article to your resume and LinkedIn.

And that’s not all!

Judges in our competition also recommend whether you should submit your article to the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK). If the TCBOK publishes your article, you earn an additional one-year STC/IDL student membership (or its equivalent value)!

You can also insert another link to your article in the TCBOK in your résumé or online portfolio, which is available for reference by thousands of professional technical communicators.

One winner said, “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.” (Read the full article at

How to enter the Student Outreach Article Competition

  1. Download the complete Entry Package 2021-11 from this page. (Navigate to if you are reading this in hard copy.) The package contains:
    • Contributor Guidelines.
    • List of topics in Instructional Design. Note: if you choose a topic not listed, you need pre-approval of your topic.
    • Frequently Asked Questions. If the FAQs do not answer your question, email us at
    • A final checklist to help ensure your article meets all the requirements.
  2. Write an article between 1,000 and 2,500 words. Use the final checklist in the entry package to ensure your article adheres to all guidelines, improving your chances for success.
  3. Complete the 2022 Submission Form before submitting your article.
  4. Send your article, the submission form, and any graphic files to by Friday, February 18, 2022.

IDL SIG Treasurerʼs Report for Q4 2021

By Jamye Sagan, IDL SIG Treasurer

We end 2021 on a steady financial note—we were able to fund all of our activities, plus a little extra for next year. As of December 20, we have a total of $292.92 in our account—$292.92 in our vested funds, and none remaining in community funding. Vested funds can roll over each year, but any remaining community funding will be absorbed back into STC. Therefore, we always spend down our community funding before tapping into our vested funds. 

Unlike chapters, special interest groups do not have standalone accounts. Instead, they have sub-accounts directly under the STC umbrella. Because we did not meet again in person at Summit this year, we did not incur as many expenses such as door prizes and business lunch catering.

From September to December, we incurred the following expenses:

  • Webinar and workshop stipends
  • Zoom annual subscription

As for income, this year we made nearly $100 total from our webinars. These proceeds come from paid attendance from IDL non-members. IDL members and students attend our webinars at no charge.

As of December 20, we are still awaiting approval of our 2022 budget. The Budget Review Committee is still reviewing all STC community budgets; we expect ours to be approved any day now. We take great care to ensure that our funds will benefit as many of our members as possible. Thank you for supporting us, whether by attending our webinars and online events, reading/contributing to our newsletter, or perusing our website.

If you have any questions about SIG finances, please email me at

IDL SIG Manager’s Column

By Maralee Sautter

Hello, IDL SIG members!

In the northern hemisphere, colorful leaves are falling and swirling in an earthbound course, signaling the advent of autumn. The days are becoming shorter and scents of pumpkin spice are adrift in coffee shops and neighborhood bakeries. While you may not have the same weather as I do here in the Pacific Northwest, I am relieved that cooler weather is here: the record-breaking heat and wildfires experienced over the summer are gone. 

While the crazy weather has affected all of us—from coast to coast—nothing has stopped the IDL team from a flurry of activity. We have been busy planning, preparing, and delivering great programs and virtual activities to benefit you, our IDL members!

IDL announcements are back

The antiquated Mailman system went into retirement last year. Happily, in late August, we began sending IDL announcements using Mailchimp. To be sure you receive these mailings, add to your address book. If you are not receiving mail from the SIG via Mailchimp, check your spam folder. Students and new techcomm professionals may receive additional mailings from the Student Outreach Coordinator.

Join our discussion forum 

Are you interested in sharing news, asking questions, or discussing ideas with fellow IDL SIG members? We have a solution: Join our IDL SIG Slack channel and post your ideas or questions. It’s easy! First join the STC Slack channel. After joining, select #sig-instructional-design. Read instructions for joining Slack on our website.

A peek around the corner

Joint program with STC Chicago & the IDL SIG  

Get that Interview! How to Beat the Dreaded Applicant Tracking System webinar with Jack Molisani Wednesday, October 13 at 1 PM EDT. Click here for details

Two-hour Workshop 

Zoom-proof Your Presentations with Leah Guren, Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 12 –2 pm EDT. Read more details on our Facebook page. “Like” us while you’re there!

Virtual Open House – Mid-November

The IDL SIG Virtual Open House is open to IDL members and would-be members to learn about our benefits and volunteer opportunities. We showcase the volunteers who make the IDL SIG run as smooth as maple syrup. 


The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a contest! Practitioners, bring us your worst technical communication disasters and our students will judge your article, up to 500 words. There are prizes for the most terrifying disasters and winners will be published in our Q4 newsletter. Names can be changed to protect the innocent.

Watch social media outlets, announcements, and our website for more details about this fun social event.

First Fridays at 5

First Fridays at 5 is a virtual social event for students and the Instructional Design & Learning (IDL) Special Interest Group (SIG) members happening the first Friday of the month. You don’t have to be a member to join. Our students always have something brewing. For past events, check out our student page.

Membership Drive begins

Our Membership chair, volunteer Lori Meyer, has a great article elsewhere in this newsletter. One thing is worth repeating: Remember to sign up for IDL SIG on the join or renewal form.
Note: Gold membership includes all SIGs and COIs and does not require signup.

IDL SIG Treasurer Report – 2021 Q3

by Jamye Sagan, IDL SIG Treasurer

How much money do we have?

As of September 27, 2021, we have $789.67 in our account – $273.34 from community funding and $516.33 in our vested funds. 


Since Q2, we have incurred the following expenses: two speaker honoraria for our July 14 and September 15 webinars. We even made almost $16 profit through non-SIG-member webinar registrations. 


In the next couple of months, we will submit our reimbursement requests for our Zoom and Survey Monkey subscriptions. We use Zoom to conduct our educational webinars, leadership meetings, and virtual social events. We use Survey Monkey for our demographic surveys and elections. We also plan to purchase some small raffle prizes for our upcoming virtual social events – our annual Virtual Open House sometime in November, and our First Friday at Five event in December. 


Budget Time! Where do we get our funds?

We are about to begin working on our 2022 IDL SIG budget. Every year, all STC Chapters and Communities of Practice submit their budgets to the STC head office. From there, the budget committee will review all budgets and approve them. 


Our primary source of income comes from community funding and vested funds. Community funding are funds we receive from the STC office, based on the number of SIG members as of August 31. We receive a certain dollar amount per member. Since these funds do not carry over from year to year, we must use them or forfeit them. We plan our budget so that we spend all of our designated funding.


Vested funds are funds we have earned through the years. These funds can carry over year after year.


As we review our budget, we constantly check where we can save costs and, most importantly, see how we can use our funds to best benefit you – our members. 


We’d like to hear from you!

If you have any questions about SIG finances, please email me at