Note from the Editor: Q4 2020

What a year. I'm staying up until midnight tonight just to make sure that 2020 doesn't try to sneak back in!

But with all the lockdowns, turmoil and everything else that made 2020 the year it was, there were still some good things. I think that remote work is here to stay in one form or another. Online meetings are also going to be a fixture going forward, and that will make collaboration easier. We each know more about how much we can do when we have to.

I think every one of is stronger, knowing that we got through the worst that 2020 could throw at us.

This month, we say goodbye to Marcia Shannon as Manager of IDL COP. Jayme Sagan gives us her Treasurer's Report. And we have a Resolution Roundup for the new year!

I hope you all have a safe, happy and prosperous 2021.

2021 Resolutions Round-up

From your Leadership Team

Thinking about the many challenges we all faced—and faced down—in 2020 prompted us to share our plans for making 2021 a better year.

Viqui Dill

1) In 2021, I will start my days early because I love getting off early.

2) In 2021, I will stop beating myself up for making mistakes because this is how we learn.

3) In 2021, I will continue to try to be kind because everyone is carrying so much right now.

Destiny Dudley

1)  In 2021, I will start to keep a more routine schedule, focus on exercise, eating for my health, and being proud of myself with the progress I do make.

2) In 2021, I will stop waiting until the last minute to get things accomplished, instead of trying to stay focused on what I need to prioritize.

3) In 2021, I will continue to be happy with my accomplishments toward progressing towards my career, personal, and spiritual goals. To just be kinder to myself and accept that I am not wonder woman.

Lori Meyer

New year resolutions are now very hard for me because my mindset was altered so greatly after my cancer experience. Now, I don't even think of terms of years...only of today and tomorrow.  For me, my daily resolution is “I'm alive. Let me be the best alive I can be today. “

Mellissa Ruryk

1) In 2021, I will start writing down all business purchases with date, amount, retailer, and details of the purchase and its purpose.

2) In 2021, I will stop ignoring my watch that reminds me to get up and move once an hour.

3) In 2021, I will continue to work on my art and exercising my creative side.

Jamye Sagan

1) In 2021, I will start paying more attention to my health by eating healthier foods and by exercising more.

2) In 2021, I will stop procrastinating, or at least not procrastinate so much. Although I tend to do my best work under pressure, it drains me afterwards.

3) In 2021, I will continue devoting time, even if it’s only a few minutes, to doing something fun for myself.

Marcia Shannon

1) In 2021, I will start projects sooner rather than later, so that I do better work.

2) In 2021, I will stop trying to do everything and say "no" once in a while.

3) In 2021, I will continue to write morning pages to stay grounded.

IDL CoP Treasurerʼs Report – Q4 2020

Jamye Sagan, IDL CoP Treasurer

We end 2020 on a healthy financial note – we were able to fund all of our activities, plus have some extra. As of December 26, we have a total of $656.66 in our account - $419.43 in our vested funds, and $237.23 in community funding. Vested funds can roll over each year, but any remaining community funding will be absorbed back into STC. Unlike chapters, communities of practice do not have standalone accounts. Instead, they have sub-accounts under the STC umbrella. Because we did not meet 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:

  • Conference swag, especially mailable items
  • Webinar stipends
  • Door prizes for Virtual Open House and Demographic Survey
  • Stipend for CoP logo redesign

As for income, we made a modest amount from our webinar net proceeds – about $15-25. These proceeds come from IDL non-members; members and students attend at no charge.

In conclusion, we are happy to announce that our 2021 budget has been approved! 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, reading/contributing to our newsletter, or perusing our website.

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

Letter from the Editor – Q1 2020

Welcome to the Q1 2020 edition of IDeaL: Design for Learning!

The past few months have been disruptive for all of us. I have been working at home for the past two weeks and likely will for the foreseeable future. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat.

In addition, the STC itself is moving into uncharted waters with the Summit moving from in-person to virtual. Phylise Banner has asked for the help of the IDL SIG to make this virtual conference the best ever! If you'd like to volunteer to help, please contact her.

This will be my last issue as managing editor. Next quarter, I will hand the reins over to Paul Scott. Paul has been a technical writer for over 20 years. He works as a freelance writer and consultant in Silicon Valley, working with tech and biotech clients.

It has been a pleasure editing your newsletter and I hope I have left it in better shape than I found it. I will be working with Paul as needed over the next three months as we get Q2 shaped up. Please help him out by submitting articles to

As a reminder, we welcome any of the following topics:

  • IDL practice
  • IDL theory
  • Reflexivity in IDL
  • The value of IDL to society and or industry
  • Career paths and progression in the field of IDL
  • Emerging technologies in IDL
  • Promotion of the IDL SIG

We have a short issue this quarter with just three articles.

Marcia Shannon has given us the SIG Manager’s report and Lori Meyer has provided the Membership Manager’s Report. Our new editor, Paul Scott, has provided an article entitled 5 Rules to Help You When Working from Home.

Take care of yourselves and each other!


Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith has been Managing Editor of the IDeaL newsletter since May 2018. She also serves as membership manager for her local chapter – STC Southeast Michigan. Kelly works as Senior Technical Writer at Dart Container in mid-Michigan and has been active in the STC since 2015. In her free time, Kelly is a quilter who enjoys quilt retreats and buying fabric.

5 Rules to Help You When Working from Home

By Paul Scott

People are working from home today like never before, thanks to the new global pandemic. I’m a consultant, so this is my normal. I’ve learned a few guidelines that make it easier for me, and I’m writing this to share them. I hope they’re helpful in the days ahead.

Make it a Place for Work

The thing about working from home is that it’s home. It’s where you relax, not where you work. It’s set up with all the things you use to get away from work: your hobbies, your games, your books, your Netflix.

To work, you need to set up a space separate from all that. Set up a space that feels like work, whatever that is. Best if it’s away from all those homely diversions. Put a door between all of that and you if you can, or turn your back to it at your kitchen table. But one way or another set up a space that is for work and work alone.

Dress the Part

It’s tempting to try to work in pajamas and bunny slippers, but that’s not the right mindset. You don’t need full office attire, but go for casual Friday. Be comfortable, but dress for work, not for home.

Create a “Work Day” Routine

Work gives you a built-in routine: Morning, lunch, afternoon, scheduled meetings. It helps you get things done, each in its proper time slot.

You don’t have to have the exact same routine at home as you do at the office. In fact you probably can’t. But build one of your own that works for you. Schedule email for one time, meetings for another (if possible). Make a slot in which to work on urgent projects and another to handle routine things. And stick to it as much as you can.

Minimize Distractions

In a sense, all of this is about limiting distractions. The workplace, the clothes, the routine are all about keeping yourself focused.

You need to also limit distractions from outside. Tell friends and family that you’re at work from 9 to 5, or whatever your schedule happens to be. They should treat that as they would any other work day and minimize their interruptions.

This is one of the hardest rules to enforce. There’s a natural difficulty in taking work from home as seriously as “official work” in, well, an office. So you need to take it seriously yourself, and enforce your boundaries with others.

Set Goals

You’ll have your assignments from work, but to hit your targets you’ll need to be more rigorous than you are in the office. Businesses like having their workers in the office because it makes it easier to manage and supervise them. At home, you need to manage yourself, and one way to do that is to set measurable goals.

The details will vary depending on your projects, but divide them up and make the parts your goals. Set a timeline and stick to it. It will make you much more productive.

This is how I do it. Working from home is challenging, but after all of the current business has passed I expect we’ll be doing a lot more of it.

Paul Scott
Paul Scott

Paul is the new managing editor of IDeaL: Design for Learning and will take over as of the Q2 2020 issue. Welcome, Paul!