Boston Broadside
January/February 2002
Vol. 59,  No. 3
    Newsletter of the Boston Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication


Copyright © STC Boston 2002

Event Report

InterChange 2001:
Strong Attendance Despite Economic Downturn

By Katharine Galaitsis

  Amy Bucklin, Caleb Stewart
  Amy Bucklin and Caleb Stewart
  Photo by Bob Fushi

This year's InterChange Conference was held at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough on October 15 and 16, 2001. The conference was co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Boston and Northern New England (NNE) chapters of the Society for Technical Communication.

Despite the economic downturn, conference attendance was strong. More than 180 technical communications professionals, employed and unemployed, attended. Special features of this year's conference included hands-on sessions in which participants had the opportunity to use new tools in an on-site computer lab, as well as keynote speaker presentations each morning. Alan Cooper, a leading authority on the subject of customer-centric interaction and the author of "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum," was the keynote speaker on the first day of the conference. Margaret Driscoll, director of strategic ventures for IBM Mindspan Solutions and author of "Web-Based Training" and a number of journal articles, spoke on the second day.

  Mike Doyle, Caleb Stewart, Carol Szatkowski, Denise Dunn
  Mike Doyle, Caleb Stewart, Carol Szatkowski, and Denise Dunn
  Photo by Bob Fushi

Conference presentations were scaled for the various learning levels of the participants. For example, Ken Jackson delivered a presentation entitled "An Introduction to the Voice Web" for participants new to the technical communications field, while Teresa Mulvihill delivered a discussion geared to experienced communicators on "International Technical Communication and Today's Technologies." For attendees with intermediate-level skills, many informative sessions were held. A wide range of topics, from software application information to the merits of distance education, gave participants a chance to explore new areas.

The Boston and NNE chapters of the STC and the University of Massachusetts Boston invited other institutions of higher learning that have technical writing education programs to participate as institutional affiliates. For the first time this year, Middlesex Community College and Bentley College staffed booths in the Exhibit area. Students from those institutions also participated as volunteers.

  Joe Lally, Ann Holt, Candice Chrysostom, Robin Greenly
  Joe Lally, Ann Holt, Candice Chrysostom, and Robin Greenly
  Photo by Amy Bucklin

As always, the conference offered an opportunity to network among friends and colleagues and to learn about the latest software tools and innovative thinking. Technical communicators who attended the conference enhanced their knowledge base, and thus their value to the marketplace. Attending professionals recognize the importance of furthering the field through knowledge; their robust numbers are testimony to that. The Boston and NNE chapters of the STC and the University of Massachusetts Boston hope to continue offering such content-rich conferences in the future.

  Caleb Stewart, Sandra Sabetty
  Caleb Stewart and Sandra Sabetty
  Photo by Bob Fushi

In the state university system, Katharine Galaitsis has worked for continuing education divisions in areas involving industry training and seminars, distance learning, and workforce development. She is currently the assistant to the dean of Corporate, Continuing, and Distance Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston.