IDL Student outreach program

Did you know that the IDL CoP runs a competition each year to help students earn a year of STC (and IDL) membership? This is the 5th year of the competition and we would like you to help us spread the word to any students you know in the field. Or, if you are a student yourself, consider entering.

Write a 1,000-word article on an approved topic that relates to Instructional design and learning and submit it before the deadline of February 15, 2021. If the panel of judges selects your article, you will receive a year of complimentary student membership in the STC (which can be added onto an existing membership if need be).

If you know (or want to learn) about these topics, consider researching and writing in these areas:

·       Analysis ·       The profession of instructional design ·       Developing instructional design products
·       Implementation ·       Evaluation ·       eLearning
·       Media use in Instructional Design ·       Technology ·       Theories and models

Approved articles are published here in the newsletter and also submitted on your behalf to the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK). Should your article be published on the BOK, the IDL CoP will pay for another year of student membership.

Spread the word to anyone you know who is a student in instructional design. Tell them to check all the details at, or contact the Student Outreach lead Mellissa Ruryk at

Destiny Dudley Joins IDL SIG Leadership as Co-Manager

Greetings IDL community,

My name is Destiny Louise Dudley, a new member to the IDL leadership team. I feel very humbled and honored to be a part of such a progressive community. In return, I have no doubt I will end up learning more from everyone in this community than anything I can contribute. I am grateful for this opportunity. In the meantime, I would like to take a few minutes to introduce myself to everyone.

As of November 2019, I was a full-time, special education and English teacher in a specialized language-based education program. Sadly, this program was discontinued and I found myself an unemployed, special education teacher. With such an unforeseen change, I decided to pursue my second passion, writing with a special interest in creative writing and instructional design. As of March 2020, I jumped right into pursuing a membership and active role with STC, completing the STC TechComm Fundamentals Bootcamp Course, and beginning a new masters degree with Southern New Hampshire University in creative writing. In my personal time, I enjoy reading, traveling, hiking, spinning, yoga, nature, crafting, painting, DIY projects, volunteering at animal shelters, and my two crazy cats.

I am very excited about all of the new changes happening within this new community and in STC as well. The saying “the world is changing and we must change with it” comes to mind when I think of the new innovations the STC society is pursuing. If anyone has the chance to watch the last STC conference online, please do so. It is open until August, and I can say it is one of the best career decisions I could have made so far.

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!

It’s not too late to renew your STC membership for 2020!

By Lori Meyer, IDL SIG membership manager

It's 2020 -- Can you still renew your STC membership? Yes! 

Now that 2020 is one quarter completed, you might be wondering if it's too late to renew your STC membership for this year. The answer is no, it is definitely not too late! Although 2019 memberships have expired, you can still renew your membership and continue to benefit from all of the programs and services that make STC an excellent partner in your tech comm career development. Those include:

  • Member discounts for educational programs, including courses, webinars, and the STC Annual Conference, Summit — the gathering place for all technical communicators to learn from the best and the brightest in our profession. The 2020 Conference will take place virtually this year, due to COVID-19.
  • Free subscription to Intercom, the STC monthly publication, which offers informative articles about the topics of interest to today's technical communicators.
  • Access to the Technical Communication Salary Survey, from which you can gain valuable knowledge about compensation in our profession.
  • The opportunity to become industry-certified through the Certified Professional Technical Communicator program.
  • The opportunity to build your network of professional colleagues through involvement in STC chapters and special interest groups.
  • The opportunity to have your work recognized through regional technical publications competitions.

You can renew your STC membership online quickly and easily. Once you have completed the online renewal form and submitted your membership dues payment, your membership will be reactivated.

To renew your membership

  1. Go to org and log in with your member ID and password. Your STC membership number is your user name.
  2. Click Join or Renew Now.
  3. Read through the Membership Levels and Benefits section, then click the Renew Your STC Membership Today
  4. Click the Renew Today link at the bottom of the page.
  5. Complete the renewal form. If your contact information (home/work address, email, or phone number) has changed, make the necessary updates. Make sure that your email address is current and correct, so you can receive acknowledgement of your renewal and other information about your membership.
  6. Choose the communities to include in your membership. Each chapter costs $25.00; each SIG costs $10.00.

Please note: 

  • If you are currently unaffiliated (do not belong to any chapters or SIGs), you can add communities now.
  • If you are already a member of one or more chapters and SIGs, you must choose them again, because the renewal system does not automatically carry over community memberships from the previous year. If you are currently a member of the IDL SIG, be sure to check IDL SIG on the renewal form! And if you’re not a SIG member, we would love to have you as one!
  • If you are an STC Gold member, one chapter membership is free, and all SIG memberships are free. The system will remove the charges for these memberships at the end of the renewal process. However, you must still select a chapter and the SIGs you want included in your memberships, so you will be added to the membership database for those communities.
  1. Select or bypass any other options as you prefer.
  2. Enter your credit card information when prompted, and submit the renewal form. STC will send an acknowledgement email. Keep this email for your records.

We look forward to having you as a member of STC and our SIG!

If you have any questions or concerns about your membership, please feel free to contact me at I will be happy to answer any questions you have, or guide you to resources you need.

Thank you for being a member of the IDL SIG!

Lori Meyer
Lori Meyer

Lori Meyer, an STC Fellow, has more than 20 years of experience as a technical writer, editor, and help developer. She began her technical communication career in Rochester, NY, and relocated to the San Francisco Bay area in 1998. Lori has been active in STC since the early 1990s, starting with the Rochester Chapter, where she created the chapter's first Web site.

Since then, she has held in many volunteer positions, including employment manager, secretary, conference co-chair, membership manager, director-at-large, and SIG co-manager. She has delivered leadership presentations at the STC Summit international conference and via webinar.

On the community level, over the years Lori has served as a director at large for the Carolina Chapter, secretary and president of the Washington DC-Baltimore Chapter, membership manager of the Rochester, East Bay, and San Diego Chapters, and president of the East Bay Chapter. Lori stays involved with these communities, and also volunteers for the Technical Editing and Consulting and Independent Contracting SIGs.