The IDL SIG welcomes two new newsletter co-editors, James Martin and Mellissa Ruryk. They are already working on 2022’s first quarter edition of the award-winning IDeaL newsletter. Paul Scott served as newsletter editor from 2020 through 2021; his thoughtful writing and editing expertise took us through unprecedented times. Thank you, Paul, and best of luck with your future endeavors!
By the way, do you have any IDL newsletter articles that you’d like to submit? If so, please contact our editors at email@example.com.
By Lori Meyer
This year, I joined seven STC Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Normally, the total cost would be $55.00. The cost to me? $0.
This year, I attended three STC live webinars. Normally, the total cost would be $90.00. The cost to me? $0.
This year, I added an STC chapter to my membership. Normally, the cost would be $25.00. The cost to me? $0.
Why? In one word (or perhaps in one color): Gold. Because I am an STC Gold member, I was able to save $170.00 on these educational and networking opportunities. STC Gold membership is available to technical communicators of any professional level. A Gold membership provides several valuable benefits. Here are just two of them:
Free membership in all STC SIGs
STC provides two types of SIGs, each of which focuses on a specific subject area.
Communities of Interest
COIs provide channels for discussion and networking via Slack and other social media outlets (for example, Google Groups). Each COI is run by one or more facilitators, who monitor discussions, encourage member participation and information exchange, and help members find additional resources about the subject area.
STC currently offers these COIs:
- Application Programming Interfaces (API)
- Contracting and Independent Consulting
- Health & Medicine
- Solo Technical Communicator
- UX and User Experience
- Women in Technical Communication
Communities of Practice
COPs provide a wider range of networking, educational, and skill-building activities, including webinar presentations and workshops. Each COP has a leadership structure that offers a variety of volunteer opportunities and recognition, along with a budget that funds special presentations, contests, conferencing tools, and (depending on funding available) stipends for leader attendance at the STC Summit conference. COPs manage their own websites that keep members up to date on the group’s activities and provide opportunities for both student and professional members to contribute articles.
STC currently offers these COPs:
- Instructional Design and Learning
- Policies and Procedures
- Technical Editing
For more information about these SIGs, go to https://www.stc.org/communities/.
Free registration for all STC live webinars
STC offers several live webinars each year, presented by seasoned technical communicators. Each one-hour webinar is recorded, and attendees are given access to the recordings and (if provided by the presenters) handouts.
For descriptions of the live webinars coming up in early 2022, go to https://www.stc.org/education/live-webinar/.
Gold membership also offers these benefits:
- Free membership in one STC chapter of your choice
- A printed version of the STC Intercom magazine (8 issues)
- A 20% discount on STC online courses
- Free access to the Salary Database
- Extended early-bird registration deadline for the STC Summit conference
I’ve been a Gold member for six years, and its benefits have enriched my membership experience. Over the years, Gold membership has given me added incentive to participate in more STC communities and activities, and has strengthened my membership. If you’d like to experience the same added value, consider going Gold! For more information about how to join or renew as a Gold member and take advantage of all of its benefits, go to http://stc.org/membership.
Lori Meyer is the immediate past membership manager of the IDL SIG. She also volunteers for several other STC communities, including the Rochester and Florida chapters, and serves as an ad-hoc director for the STC Community Affairs Committee. Lori works full-time at a cybersecurity firm in Northern California.
By Ruth-Anne Klassen
Our IDL Student Liaisons enjoyed working on the First Fridays at 5 program in 2021. First Fridays @ 5 offered students a chance to practise presenting and hosting a meeting. Those who challenged themselves to take on this opportunity met a friendly audience and learned from a supportive community.
At May’s meeting, Megan and Anita talked about the benefits of joining the IDL SIG as student members. Student members have access to career-building resources like free webinars, competitions, and volunteer opportunities. Along with joining the conversation on Slack, students can participate in the IDL community to learn from other technical communicators.
For the June virtual gathering, Anita shared her experience converting her in-person quilting guild to a digital group. She described how she engaged people who were not previously familiar with online formats, hosted a flipped classroom (in which participants review material before class and work on assignments during class time), and created effective quilting manuals for the class.
July’s First Friday was a time to network, often drawing from Zoom virtual backgrounds to give inspiration for the conversation. We talked about past experiences with science museums and hobbies and looked forward to future STC events.
Anita hosted the August meeting with a presentation about how to use Slack effectively. She addressed topics like how to create or edit a profile, how to manage notifications, how to manage availability status, and how to send a message to a channel or individual.
In September, Ruth-Anne led us in showing parts of our lives in Zoom Virtual Backgrounds. We witnessed travel pictures, admired pets or family members, and got to know both new and familiar attendees better.
Kristie talked in the October meeting about the need for precise communication in technical writing and in life. Based on her experience as a patient in the healthcare system, she spoke about how words like “treatment” can have ambiguous meanings, so it is important to choose words wisely.
Ruth-Anne led November’s meeting with insight and ideas about working in a multi-generational workplace. Diverse age groups contribute to the workforce, and this diversity presents the possibility for conflict, but also for respect and collaboration. In the conversation that followed, we discussed how we respect people, such as by using their preferred name and being aware of our unconscious biases.
At the December get-together we told personal and professional stories, ranging from funny to embarrassing. Some stories involved mistaken 911 calls and the struggle of finding the right winter boot size. Folks also exchanged stories of faulty tech comm translations to other languages and unpleasant clients.
This past year, students have enjoyed improving their skills and learning from other members as they work to become better technical communicators. Next year, we are welcoming anyone interested to present at First Fridays @ 5 meetups. If you would like to get involved in this way, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
Student Liaison, IDL SIG
We have welcomed three new volunteers to our ranks since Paul issued the last newsletter, two of whom are students. Students are helping with short-duration tasks or signing up to take responsibility for one social media channel (for a length of time) with mentoring from Jannetta Lamourt, our social media manager.
Priyank Aggarwal, living in New Delhi, India, has stepped up to start and manage conversations and announcements in the #sig-instructional-design channel in the STC Slack Workspace. We use the channel to spark conversations about instructional design and learning among people interested or practicing in the discipline. Priyank is an IT Professional with several years of experience in IT training development, management and quality assurance.
Ruth-Anne Klassen, living in Calgary, Alberta, has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Ambrose University. She has a great article about volunteering at the Summit elsewhere in this issue of the newsletter. Ruth-Anne is going to run the next First Fridays at Five, In November. We’ll be discussing “Diverse Roles, Common Goals: Working With Multiple Generations in the Workplace.” How can we better with different generations in the workplace, without regard to your age? We will learn and share ideas for working in a diverse workforce, and as usual, chat and network and laugh.
Edel Pace, from Tennessee, is studying Professional Writing with a minor in Creative Mass Media at the University of Memphis. Not surprisingly, we will use her social media skills after she helps “refresh” the Student Outreach Article Writing Competition materials. Edel is doing this work in the context of a university assignment where Mellissa Ruryk, Student Outreach manager, will act as her client. In her own words, “I want to participate in the community and be an active volunteer. As a student, this will provide me with valuable real-life experience and help me meet professionals in the field.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. The best way to gain real-life experience and network is to volunteer in your favorite Special Interest Group or a geographic chapter. Join us through this Eventbrite link.
Speaking of the competition…
Student Article-Writing Competition deadline is November 12.
If you are a student enrolled in any post-secondary program of Instructional Design & Learning, you have exactly enough time to write and submit a 1,000-2,500 word article on almost any aspect of ID before the deadline. Learn everything you need to know about the competition on our website under the Students link. You could be published before you graduate and can link to your article on our website and in our newsletter. It’s a great addition to your portfolio and can help you stand out in a field of applicants.
If you are a student and an STC member, please reach out to me to see how the IDL SIG can help you now and when you graduate.
Student Outreach Manager