MiniConference schedule, presentations and presenters

STC IDL SIG & WDCB Fall Frightfest MiniConference: What scares you and how you faced it down

Register on Eventbrite, if you dare!

Come and talk about what scares you and how you faced it down.

When? October 21, 2023

  • 10:30 am – 16:00 ET
  • 09:30 am – 15:00 CT
  • 08:30 am – 14:00 MT
  • 07:30 am – 13:00 PT

Where? Zoom (of course)

Registration prices:

  • Free to Students, academics, retirees, volunteers and presenters (to volunteer, email
  • STC IDL SIG Members $5.00
  • STC Members $20.00
  • NonMembers $40.00

The all-day virtual MiniConference provides a variety of educational sessions related to technical communication, instructional design, and learning.

We are excited to announce that our keynote speaker will be Phylise Banner, a recognized superhero and pioneer in the LX design space. Read more about Banner on her website and share in our excitement.

Our day will be both educational and fun. Grab your Zoom-friendly Halloween costume, play a few warmup games, and maybe even win a prize. See the schedule and read more about the presentations and presenters below.

Schedule of Eerie educational sessions with nightmarish networking breaks

All times Eastern

  • 10:30 am – Grisly games and intimidating intros with Villainous Viqui Dill
  • 11:00 am – Killer Keynote with Phrightful Phylise Banner
  • 11:45 am – “Caldron Bubble: Incorporating Cookbook Design Elements into Technical Documentation” with Jittery Jamye Sagan
  • 12:30 pm – Buzzworthy BioBreak #1
  • 12:45 pm – “Somebody’s Watching Me: Make Presenting on Zoom Not-So-Scary” with Rogue Rachel Eichen
  • 1:30 pm – “Are your presentations frightfully ineffective? Let’s do better.” with Terrifying Traci Nathans-Kelly, Ph.D
  • 2:15 pm – Bewildering Break #2
  • 2:30 pm – “We Need New Blood: Creating Video Content” with Murderous Maralee Sautter
  • 3:15 pm – “Supercharge your Documentation through Storytelling Superpowers” with Alex Hale
  • 4:00 pm – Beastly BioBreak #3 to get in costume
  • 4:20 pm – Wicked Wrapup and Chilling costume prizes: Villainous Viqui Dill
  • 5:00 pm – Go home happy!

Presentations and presenters

Killer Keynote with Phrightful Phylise Banner

We are excited to announce that our keynote speaker will be Phylise Banner, a recognized superhero and pioneer in the LX design space. Read more about Banner on her website and share in our excitement.

Caldron Bubble: Incorporating Cookbook Design Elements into Technical Documentation with Jittery Jamye Sagan

Cookbooks not only contain a treasure trove of not only delicious recipes and anecdotes, but also serve as prime examples of solid technical communication. After all, recipes use words and images to help explain how to prepare a specific dish.

In this presentation, we will examine several examples of effective recipe design elements from various cookbook recipes. These examples will focus on the following elements of cookbook recipes:

  • Overall layout, including columns and use of space
  • Images, including photographs and drawings
  • Text, including font styles and the wording itself.

As we examine each design element, we will also learn how they help make instructions – the recipe –easy to understand. We will then show how to apply them in our own technical communication deliverables, including job aids and quick reference guides.

Thus, cleanly-formatted and well-worded recipes from cookbooks can serve as the recipe for success in creating clear and concise technical communication.

About the Speaker

As the Pharmacy Communication Advisor for H-E-B, Jamye helps design training programs and materials for various projects and initiatives within the pharmacy department. She also manages communications between the corporate office and the store pharmacies.

An Associate Fellow of STC, Jamye serves as the current President of the South Central Texas chapter. She also volunteers with the Instructional Design and Learning SIG as its Treasurer and Survey Manager and belongs to various SIGs. Jamye has also volunteered at the Society level in various roles, including the Community Affairs Committee, the Community Achievement Award and Pacesetter Award committees, and the Associate Fellow committee. Over the past several years, she has reviewed several publications for the Technical Communication journal.

When not making “sense out of the seemingly senseless” in the tech comm world, Jamye enjoys transforming yarn into pretty and useful objects. She lives in San Antonio, TX.

Somebody’s Watching Me: Make Presenting on Zoom Not-So-Scary with Rogue Rachel Eichen

Rachel Eichen has a varied career history across multiple fields of communication, technology, and training. She has over 10 years of in-person and remote teaching experience in a variety of industries including: casinos, financial institutions, restaurants, hospitals, libraries. She even taught computer classes on a cruise ship! She has experience training all sorts of software applications including Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, and web applications such as Google Apps and Facebook. In a former life, she was a technical writer where she learned about the software lifecycle and documented instructions. She also has a variety of technical skills, including a mix of programming, networking, and web-design. Rachel holds a Master’s degree in Library & Information Science and a bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing.

Are your presentations frightfully ineffective? Let’s do better with Terrifying Traci Nathans-Kelly, Ph.D.

Currently serving as the Robert N. Noyce Director of the Engineering Communication Program in the College of Engineering, Cornell University. Nathans-Kelly has a special interest in social justice and techquity issues, along with online teaching modalities. She interacts daily to help engineers and pre-professional engineers to hone their technical messaging, whether it be via presentations, on paper, in meetings and teams, or online channels. Read more and connect with her on LinkedIn.

We need new blood: Creating video content with Murderous Maralee Sautter

IDL’s own co-manager will talk us through her latest challenge: making a recruiting video for volunteers. Sautter has been a technical writer and instructional designer in the industries of high-tech/software, health, science, transportation, education, and government (Intel, Xerox, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Cambia, Regency/Blue Cross, City of Vancouver (WA), and more). Her favorite title is educator since she was an adjunct instructor at Portland State University for over 12 years. Currently, she is the manager of the Instructional Design & Learning SIG. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Supercharge your Documentation through Storytelling Superpowers with Alarming Alex Hales

Alex Michael Hales will take us on a wild ride, using Marvel and DC characters (and their powers) as metaphors for different writing techniques and tools practitioners can use day to day. Hales is a Technical Writer based in Mesa, Arizona. He loves researching, brainstorming, conceptualizing, and drafting content.

Find out more and connect with Hales on his website.

Horrifying Hosting by Villainous Viqui  Dill

Viqui Dill is an STC Associate Fellow who loves connecting people to communities and giving everyone a voice. Dill loves a good story. She can’t remember a time when she did not want to grab a guitar and start a sing along. As worship arts pastor for the exchange church in Winchester, VA, she gets to live the dream every other week. The Dills have a family band, the Dill Pickers, and Dill sometimes plays in a mostly girl band of mammas, Hot Flash. She describes herself as “Technical writer, wife and mom, bass player, worship leader, I’m happiest when folks sing along with me.” Connect on LinkedIn or just google her unusually spelled name to connect.


Shhh…  Librarian Goes Online with Live Polling

By Carrie M. Macfarlane, IDL SIG Member

As a librarian, I teach students how to do research. Like any good instructor, I always try to anticipate my students’ needs. What knowledge, skills, and beliefs will they carry with them when they walk in the door? What should they be able to do when they leave?

If you’re familiar with the librarian stereotype, you might be surprised to hear that once I’ve identified my students’ needs, I use technology to meet them. Yes, I love books and I wear glasses. The librarian stereotype definitely applies to me. But the stereotype needs to be updated, and I’m here to help. That cardigan-clad woman cradling an armful of old books? She likes technology!

In my previous essay about the librarian stereotype, I described how technology allows me to interact with students before a research workshop. Here, I’ll discuss how technology helps me to interact with students after a workshop begins. I learned this technique from a coworker–I’m far from the only librarian who teaches with technology! If you’re a technical trainer, you might want to adapt it to your workshops, too. Continue reading “Shhh…  Librarian Goes Online with Live Polling”

List of Degree or Certificate Programs in Instructional Design

By Sylvia Miller

Are you or a colleague contemplating a degree or certificate program in instructional design? If so, you should check out our webpage that provides a long list of such programs. Each program is linked directly to the institution’s website which contains details about the program. You’ll find a variety of titles for these programs, including educational technology, instructional technology, instructional systems technology, instructional design, and more. You’ll also find that some institutions offer online-only programs, while others provide only in-person degree or certificate programs, or a mixture of the two.

Sure, you could just search the web for “instructional design,” but your search results will include descriptions of universities that offer instructional design services for professors and staff who do not develop or maintain their own online courses. So, we hope you’ll check out our Education page at And if you know of an institution that should be added to the list, please email me at with the name of the institution and, if possible, a link to the webpage describing the program. Also notify me if you find a broken link. Meanwhile, enjoy!

Book Review: Charles Ess – Digital Media Ethics

Reviewed by Elizabeth Patterson

In Digital Media Ethics, Charles Ess explores the ethical issues encountered in digital media from a global perspective. Ess focuses on issues and legal regulations within the US, EU, and Asia. Some of the main topics covered in the book include privacy, copyright, citizen journalism, and general digital media ethics. Ess goes into great detail about each topic, and includes case studies and discussion questions within each chapter of the book. The layout and structure of the book are perfect for students and classroom settings.

One of the strongest qualities of this book is the detail throughout. Each topic is explored thoroughly, and includes related case studies and discussion questions to allow the reader to contemplate the content on an even deeper level. In addition, Ess does an excellent job of helping the reader to understand data mining and ways in which privacy can be maintained while using digital media by exploring relevant cases that have taken place in the US, EU, and Asia.

Ess also does an excellent job of exploring the ethics behind copying and distributing property through digital media. With the increasing amount of information available online, “the general rules, guidelines, and laws applicable to such copying are wide-ranging and frequently shifting” (p. 91). This can make it difficult to truly understand the ethical and legal ways to access and use property. Ess helps explain this by explaining FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) and the Creative Commons approach. While some of these concepts can be challenging to understand, Ess does a commendable job of pulling content from websites and licenses while supplementing with his own explanation.

While Digital Media Ethics contains many strengths, the content is somewhat dense in some places. The discussion questions throughout and at the end of the chapters are helpful in examining certain concepts on a deeper level, as well as breaking up the text. While Ess does a great job of explaining certain topics such as copying and distributing property, some sections of the text are overwhelming and difficult to follow. For example, one chapter focuses on privacy in the electronic global metropolis. While this chapter contains valuable information and relevant case studies, it is easy to get lost in some of the extensive descriptions and concepts, which are arguably over-explained.

As mentioned before, because of the discussion questions that are used to break up this book, it would be a good choice for school and university courses that emphasize digital media and information ethics as seen throughout the world. This book could work for undergraduate discussion-based courses, but because of the complexity of some of the concepts, graduate and doctoral courses would especially benefit from this book, particularly courses that are seminar based.

Outside of a university setting, Digital Media Ethics has relevance to just about any profession. Documentation managers, who are in charge of managing both the creation and maintenance of documentation within their organizations, would find this text especially useful. Many of the resources used today to assist in research and writing are online. While the book is somewhat dense, Ess does an excellent job of explaining the most relevant ethical issues in digital media today. Documentation managers would be able to relate to some of the cases discussed within the book, as well as benefit from the explanations and resources provided in the chapter, “Copying and Distributing via Digital Media.”

As a high school teacher, I am constantly looking for ways that I can teach my students about the importance of digital media ethics and online privacy and safety. While Digital Media Ethics is a much higher-level book, it includes topics and case studies relevant for high school students. Ess argues that, “it becomes increasingly essential, for example, for young people to participate in social networking sites – failure to do so threatens to isolate them from the large majority of their peers who are active on such sites” (p. 121). This claim demonstrates the popularity of social media, and therefore the importance of understanding how to navigate the sites ethically and safely. Safe internet use is a growing need among high school students and Ess does a good job of beginning to discuss this, as well as including some thought-provoking discussion questions that would benefit students of all ages.

Digital Media Ethics is an interesting read that focuses on ethical scenarios encountered online on a daily basis. While the book is relevant to today’s society, it is not a light read and does require some deep thought and consideration that would be great for university teachers and students to utilize within an ethics course. The chapters are packed full with case studies that would also greatly benefit technical writers, documentation managers, and those who work with and use online content frequently.

November 13, 2017 IDL SIG Virtual Open House

Join the IDL SIG online for our Virtual Open House!

4:30 pm Pacific / 5:30 pm Mountain / 6:30 pm Central / 7:30 pm Eastern

Monday, November 13, 2017


Register on Eventbrite

As a virtual community, with all of our members scattered across the globe, we do not have the same opportunities as geographically-based communities to meet up face-to-face. Since 2013, we have hosted the IDL SIG Virtual Open House (VOH) so that new and prospective IDL SIG members could learn more about our community’s mission and goals, learn more about member benefits, and meet some of our leaders and volunteers.

During our VOH, participants have always had the opportunity to ask questions about the SIG and what we offer.

Virtual Party, too!

We’d like to combine our VOH with a virtual party (VP), where we would encourage all attendees to share a photo or story. The VP (not be confused with Vice President!) we hope will add a very human, personal side to our VOH. Hey, it is all about making real, enduring connections!

About the webinar

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.

See the 2016 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2015 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2014 VOH recording on Adobe Connect.


Register on Eventbrite

IDL SIG Virtual Open House November 16, 2016

IDL SIG Open House Nov 10, 2015