IDL SIG Receives Bronze Community Award

We are excited that we have received the Bronze Community Award for our community’s activities in 2020. The citation on the certificate reads:

For your impressive educational programming for your SIG and at the STC Summit, creative inclusion of students through your competition, and effective communication via your social media outlets and newsletter.

On Wednesday, 19 May, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. EDT., our community will be recognized during the 2021 STC Summit Leadership Program.

IDL SIG members can attend the virtual STC Summit Honors Event on Tuesday, 8 June, from noon to 1:00 p.m. EDT, where the Community of the Year and Most Improved Community will be announced. You can view the details for the 2021 STC Summit here.

Programs update Fall 2019

Your IDL SIG has a great lineup of webinars planned for the fall. SIG members attend our webinars for free and have access to a complete library of past webinars as a benefit of membership. Register now for our webinars and make a serious investment in your #techcomm career.

March 19

It's time to get your networking game on in time for #STC20!

Engineering Your Networking Experiences webinar with Kelly Schrank

"Engineering Your Networking Experiences" webinar with Kelly Schrank

STC Summit Program Reviews

By Jamye Sagan

During the 2019 STC Summit in Denver, CO, I attended several interesting presentations. Here are highlights from some of them.

Expanding Your Toolbox to Make Yourself a More Productive Editor

Kelly Schrank (@headbookworm)

In her presentation, Schrank shared several time-saving tips for editing documents in Microsoft Word. These tips included links to various Microsoft Word add-ins such as PerfectIt ( and Grammarly (, keyboard shortcuts and how to customize the Quick Access Toolbar. I even learned strategies for using wildcards in using Find and Replace!

Although I did not attend her entire presentation because I had to prepare for my own right afterwards, I still gained a wealth of information. In fact, her session, with potential opportunities for hands-on practice, would make a great workshop for any SIG or chapter.

Speed Editing: Doing the Most Good with the Least Time and Support

Linda Oestreich (@LindaLouO)

As technical communicators, we always want to do all the things. However, time constraints often prevent us from doing so. In her presentation, Oestreich used the analogy of a horse race to explain her process for speed editing. For example:

  • Preparing for the race: Oestreich recommends using editing checklists – in fact, she recommends the lists used and created by Kelly Schrank. Oestreich sums up her preparation as “Do the must haves before the nice to haves.”
  • Skimming the track: Oestreich recommends analyzing the document for its editorial needs, including length and complexity, how it’s organized and audience/purpose.
  • Running the race: Oestreich compares the race itself to the actual edit process, which involves maintaining priorities, using checklists and embracing quality control.

Through her vivid use of analogy, Oestreich helped me envision the overall editing process and how I can focus on the essentials.

Teaching Online: Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Engaging Virtual Learners

Kevin Siegel (@Kevin_Siegel)

In his presentation, Siegel shared various tips and tricks for teaching online. The tips that resonated with me included:

  • Investing in premium internet when presenting in a hotel, because the basic internet service may not be robust enough.
  • Creating an interactive PDF that helps users orient themselves through the virtual classroom.
  • Getting all users on board by presenting the agenda on screen and having everyone sign off on the agenda via chat.
  • Using iconography to emphasize information and make it come alive.
  • Engaging users by allowing them to lead the presentation at times.

Siegel clearly practiced what he preached. He thoroughly engaged the audience by having them log into a virtual class at the beginning of the session and asking them to participate at given times during the presentation. Although I was ultimately unable to log into the virtual class due to phone issues, I was still able to see the class interface and see how everyone else engaged with the presentation.

The Human Touch: Bringing Instructor Presence into eLearning Environments

Julia Cho (@teachwrite)

Of all the sessions I attended at Summit, this one was one of my favorites. In her presentation, Cho discussed the importance of adding a personal touch to eLearning, which oftentimes seems impersonal. Cho began by explaining why this personal touch is needed – primarily to reduce feeling of isolation, which can lead to anxiety. She also discussed the educational experience, which combines instructor presence, cognitive presence and social presence. Most of the presentation focused on how to create this educational experience. Cho gave the following advice.

  • Design should be first and foremost when establishing the educational experience. In fact, the entire course should be designed before the course begins.
  • Designers should have links to the same thing in different places, because students get anxious if they cannot find resources or information quickly.
  • Use video to establish a personal touch. Use a short – less than 2 minute – video to introduce yourself as the instructor.
  • Use a combination of video and text when giving feedback to struggling students, which can personalize the feedback.
  • Insist on AV support if facilitating a synchronous session, so you can remain focused on the educational content.

#PowerOfStory: The Cultural Program That Got Me Clicks

Viqui Dill (@viqui_dill)

In her presentation, Dill explained how she leveraged her company’s #PowerOfStory program to help her fellow employees overcome fear of change during their migration to Office 365. In this program, employees had the opportunity to gather in groups and share their personal stories, whether through oral presentation, scrapbook page blog entry. Stories were later shared through various internal communication channels.

Dill clearly knows how to engage her audience with meaningful activity – during her icebreaker, she presented various images of well-known storytellers — from Jesus Christ to U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — inviting audience members to identify them and then giving out prizes to the winners. Check out my adorable superhero duck!

My main takeaway from Dill’s presentation was how we can include stories in technical communication. Examples include using scenarios in eLearning, incorporating photos and videos, seeking testimonials and inviting comments on our uploaded deliverables.

Overall, I had never thought of the human element of getting people on board with using a program; I had always just considered the technical aspect of teaching people — how to do X in Y program. But after having gone through a similar project at work where we migrated to a whole new communications system, I appreciated all the venues through which we could share questions and concerns – and learn in the process.

Jamye Sagan
Jamye Sagan

Jamye Sagan currently serves as treasurer for the IDL SIG, and is a senior member of STC. She served as a co-manager of the SIG from 2010-12.

At work, she uses her tech comm skills to make sense out of the seemingly senseless. At play, she uses sticks and hooks to transform yarn into pretty objects.

We had a blast at #STC19

We had a fantastic Summit! Here are a few highlights of our trip.

We had our annual Honest-to-Goodness Face-to-Face Business Meeting & Lunch Buffet 2019.

We made presentations. We attended presentations.

We hung out together.

It was a great week of learning and networking.

STC19 IDL SIG Business Meeting

STC19 Hi Lori

STC19 Jim Dill at Play in Denver

#STC19 IDL Summit Sessions

Compiled by Viqui Dill, programs manager for the STC IDL SIG

Going to the Summit? Wondering what to see and do? Let us help you out!

Here is a list of sessions that may be of interest, chosen because the session is about instructional design and learning, presented by a SIG member, or of general interest to technical communicators. See the complete list of sessions on the Summit website.

First of all, we’re having our annual business meeting, with lunch and networking again.

IDL SIG Honest-to-Goodness Face-to-Face Business Meeting & Lunch Buffet 2019

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM MDT

Register on Eventbrite before May 5.

CPTC Preparation Training Course with Exam

Alan Houser & Jamie Gillenwater, IDL SIG members

Saturday, 4 May | 8:30 AM-4:30 PM | Quartz AB

Sunday, 5 May | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM | Quartz AB

Leadership Program

Sunday, 5 May | 8:00 AM-Noon | Mineral FG

Information Design Essentials

Saul Carliner

8:00 AM-Noon | Granite C

Opening General Session, Welcome Reception, and Expo Hall Open

Sunday, 5 May | 5:00-7:30 PM | Centennial Ballroom

Mastering Your Website 101

Timothy Esposito, IDL SIG member

Monday, 6 May | 8:00-8:45 AM

Leadership Opportunities Are Closer Than They Appear

Sara Feldman and Ben Woelk, IDL SIG member

Monday, 6 May | 8:00-8:45 AM

Meet the Editors

Andrea Ames and Sam Dragga

Monday, 6 May | 9:00-9:45 AM

More Lessons Learned: What Harry Potter Professors Teach Us About Instructional Design

Jamye Sagan, IDL SIG member

Monday, 6 May | 9:00-9:45 AM

xAPI: Geek Free Introduction for Instructional Designers

Megan Torrance

Monday, 6 May | 2:00-2:45 PM

Annual Business Meeting

Monday, 6 May | 5:00 – 6:00 PM | Centennial Ballroom

The Human Touch: Bringing Instructor Presence into eLearning Environments

Julia Cho

Tuesday, 7 May | 8:00-8:45 AM

eLearning: Creating Virtual Reality Projects with Adobe Captivate

Kevin Siegel

Tuesday, 7 May | 9:00-9:45 AM

#PowerOfStory - The Cultural Program that Got Me Clicks

Viqui Dill, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 9:00-9:45 AM

A Tale of Two Podcasts: From Concept to Reality

Allie Proff and Ben Woelk, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 10:00-11:00 AM

Topic-Based Authoring for Training

Sandra Wheeler

Tuesday, 7 May | 10:00-11:00 AM

Innovations in Tech Comm Curricula for College Programs

Russel Hirst, Craig Baehr, and Beth Agnew, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 10:00-11:00 AM

Engineering Better Training Experiences through Innovative Presentation Techniques and Technologies

Chuck Campbell, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 1:00-1:45 PM

Just-In-Time (JIT) Training

Aaron Murray

Tuesday, 7 May | 2:00-2:45 PM

Content in the Age of Machines: Incorporating Controlled Language into Your Content Strategy

Kit Brown-Hoekstra, IDL SIG member

Tuesday, 7 May | 4:00-4:45 PM

Honors Reception

Tuesday, 7 May | 5:15-6:45 PM | Centennial Ballroom

Education Plenary Session

Saul Carliner, Ginny Reddish, and Karen Schriver

Wednesday, 8 May | 8:00-11:00 AM | Centennial A-C