The Newsletter- Q3 2016

Newsletter Banner Q3 / 2016

From the Editor

by Crista Mohammed

Crista Mohammed (1)

Hello SIG members, trust and hope that all is well.  Pleased as punch to offer up another exciting installment of IDeaL: Design for Learning. In this issue, we have purposely focused, in four articles and the co-manager's column, on some of the many benefits of SIG membership. Consider this a reminder about some of the amazing resources at your disposal.  I know you have and will continue making the best use of them. I urge you to spread the word about your awesome SIG!

Robert Hershenow, in the co-manager's column, names his MVB's. What are MVB's ? Well, they are the Most Valuable Benefits of his STC membership. Robert has been an active STC member for twenty years, so he knows a thing or two about belonging to this amazing, professional body. Read more

Sylvia Miller updates us on the SIG's outreach efforts. You may recall last issue's article about the IDL SIG's Student Outreach. Well our plans, by dint of hard-work and determination, have come to fruition. The IDL SIG leadership has worked tirelessly to put together the instruments for our student outreach competition. From now until December 31st 2016, the IDL SIG will accept original articles from students, for publication in this very newsletter. Winners earn one year's free membership to the STC and the IDL SIG. Plus, there is one more great incentive to start writing those essays. Read more

Marcia Shannon, our new SIG Secretary, gives an account of some of the SIG's summer activities, in the Secretary's column. In keeping with our general theme of "SIG Membership Benefits", Marcia describes how membership rates can be prorated based on your time of enrollment. Read more.

Mellissa Ruryk, our resident Word™ guru, explains how to select vertical text. Her approach is entirely new to me and is definitely less frustrating than my piecemeal, painstaking copying and pasting. To watch Mellissa's demonstration of how to master and dominate vertical text click here.

Jamye Sagan reports on a well-regarded, free service to all SIG members-Training Materials Evaluations. All SIG members can access expert reviews of their training materials. When it comes to ensuring quality in your work product there is no substitute for another pair of eyes. Read more.

Viqui Dill provides a timely reminder of one of the SIG's many awesome membership benefits-Free Webinars! Yes, all SIG members enjoy free enrollment in regularly mounted webinars. Unable to tune in live? Well you can access, also for free, all of the SIGs webinars which are  recorded and archived for your convenience! Read more.

Jamye Sagan invites all IDL SIG and prospective members to join our annual Virtual Open House (VOH). The IDL SIG's VOH is our much anticipated, social event at which the membership meets and greets newbies!  And newbies get to meet us! Read more

Two issues ago Virginia Butler made a heartfelt plea to mentor in the STC Mentorship Programme. Then I wrote a piece on the professional gains to be had by volunteering. In this issue, I share how I have personally benefited from over twenty years of volunteering. Read more.

From your Co-Manager: Most Valuable Benefit Awards

by Robert Hershenow, Co-manager


I’m often reminded of how much I appreciate belonging to the STC and the IDL SIG. I’ve been a member for twenty years, and every year my membership has benefitted me in some way. I’d like to offer my take on the Most Valuable Benefits (MVBs) of membership which keep me coming back.

When I was just getting started in tech comm, being able to turn to STC friends and contacts for ideas or technical help – or a reality check with someone outside my corporate bubble – was a great help more than once. So MVB Award #1 goes to all of us – all of you – who make STC worthwhile.

When I became a consultant and launched my own business, having to pay my own way made me take a hard look at expenses. But I chose to maintain my STC membership. I had become Managing Editor of the IDL SIG newsletter, a job I had always wanted and as it turned out, really enjoyed and learned from. That enjoyment (and the dedication it inspired) led to my receiving the Distinguished SIG Service Award, an honor which made me proud, earned me some recognition, and continues to look good on my resume.

The Technical Communication Summit is another Most Valuable Benefit. Actually, it comprises several. Summit offers a super-rich learning experience and an annual chance to meet face-to-face with virtual collaborators and pals. I have always found it inspirational, and it’s probably an STC high point for most of us.

I’ve missed a few Summit conferences over the years. But in 2014 – when other responsibilities prevented me from attending – STC offered the first Virtual Summit, a selection of learning sessions, interviews, and commentary streamed over the Web. You can stay home (or anywhere you have internet access) and still attend. I’m glad I said yes. It was smooth, professionally hosted, glitch-free, and it exposed me to rewarding educational content I might not have chosen had I attended in person. I’m giving the Virtual Summit an MVB Award of its own.

The third conference-related MVB goes to Summit Playback, an online collection of recordings that lets attendees and others re-experience Summit’s educational sessions. Access is included with the price of Summit registration, or can be purchased separately.

A few more benefits of the Summit: If you deliver a presentation, it can pay your registration fee. If you are a student and you volunteer to help with registration or other duties, you can also get in free. And, there is a great party that has often featured a dance concert and open-mic night with STC’s own house band, The Rough Drafts. Summit 2017 happens in the Washington, DC area. Find out more:

But that’s not all! Both STC and some of the SIGs, including the IDL SIG, offer regular webinars on topics of interest to technical communicators. And many Chapters hold regular meetings featuring live presenters, often over dinner. These can be great opportunities to learn, network, and socialize. Check out the IDL SIG’s calendar of webinars and meetings at

More MVBs: the Tech Comm Body of Knowledge (TCBOK); the STC Mentor Board; the STC Career Center; and STC’s publications: Intercom Magazine, Technical Communication, and the Notebook blog. All of these are available to members on STC’s web site .

Finally, your IDL SIG’s email discussion group has been very lively in the past, though participation has fallen off in the last few years. We’d like to see this trend turn back the other way. The mailing list’s potential is huge, allowing SIG members to tap into the vast storehouse of knowledge and experience that our membership represents. Do you have a question or comment about ID or tech comm? Send it to the group and get the party started. Here’s everything you need to know (please at least skim this page):

I hope to see you online!

About IDeaL: Design for Learning

Publication Policy: We invite letters, articles, book reviews, and other items for publication. Articles may contain up to 1,000 words. Picture formats: JPG, GIF, PNG; Text format: Word, RTF, or ASCII. Send items to Crista Mohammed at

Advertising Policy and Rates: We encourage advertising as long as it follows STC guidelines and promotes services of interest to IDL SIG members.

Ad sizes and rates:

Half page (7.5x4.5): $75 (1 issue); $225 (4 issues)

Business Card (3.5x2): $25 (1 issue); $100 (4 issues)

Please submit electronic copy only in .TIF, .GIF, or .PNG format. Send ads to Crista Mohammed at Make checks payable to Society for Technical Communication and send to: Robert Hershenow, STC IDL SIG, 616 Colusa Ave, Berkeley CA 94707.

Copyright Statement: This newsletter invites technical communicators in the field of instructional design to submit articles for publication. The authors implicitly grant a license to this newsletter to run the submission, and for other STC publications to reprint it without permission. Copyright is held by the author. Let the editor know in your cover letter if the article has run elsewhere, and if it has been submitted for consideration to other publications. Design and layout of this newsletter are copyright STC, 2005‐2016.

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One Reply to “The Newsletter- Q3 2016”

  1. Great article, Robert. In fact I, too, have enjoyed being an STC member for 25 years because of all those benefits you cite. And I remember the Summit of 2014 when our group carried around your picture mounted on a stick. You were “Robert-on-a-stick!”

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