I became interested in adult learning and instructional design during grad school when I was in a position requiring me to teach. Since 1994 I’ve been designing and teaching courses and workshops for adults and in 1998 I began teaching classes and workshops about indexing.

It’s very important to choose instructors and instruction formats (online, face-to-face, hybrid) that are the best fit for you, as an individual.

My approach to being an instructor is to impart information in ways that encourage people to think critically as they learn about indexing and to develop their own personal style of writing indexes. I want participants in my workshops and classes to soak in information that their classmates and I are sharing without excluding other ways of thinking about the same issues.I do not want indexers to feel dependent on me, to blindly follow me,or to emulate my own approach to indexing. For this reason, I frequently answer questions by describing my own process or approach as well as different ones described by other indexers.

“Thank you thank you thank you!
Thanks for the enthusiastic support of all that I did right.
Thanks for the corrections, all of which make sense.
Thanks for the general list of comments which I will always be able to use to benchmark future indexes.
Thanks for being such a kick-ass teacher!” – Teresa Lance (2014)

Index West’s Educational Opportunities

I teach a variety of indexing-related courses through my own business, Index West.

Private Tutorials
If you’d like to study with me, but are unable to attend my live, classroom-based course, consider taking my self-paced tutorials. Students who successfully complete these tutorials earn PCI (Practical Competency in Indexing) Certification. 
Step One to Indexing
Learn the basics of writing good indexes and build a solid foundation for your career in this classroom-based course. This class teaches everything you need to know about being a freelance indexer. Students who successfully complete this course earn PCI (Practical Competency in Indexing) Certification. 
Next Step: Business Start-up
Are you ready to start your indexing business, but don’t quite know how to market yourself effectively and don’t feel ready to receive that first call from a potential client? This workshop gives you the opportunity to learn from a successful professional about her experiences and to hear about tactics that she and others swear by.

Other Organizations’ Opportunities

Below is info about indexing courses I teach through other organizations.

Basic Indexing through the Graduate School (formerly the USDA)
This (now retired) distance learning course offered through the Graduate School had many unique features:

  • It is the leading course for indexer training in North America.
  • It was the first correspondence course for indexing in North America.
  • It is the only indexing course designed by a team made up of both professional indexers and instructional design experts, including Nancy Mulvany back in the day.

Upon completion, students receive a certificate of completion. Students who completed this course with a final grade of 88 higher are eligible for PCI (Practical Competency in Indexing) Certification from Index West. (Contact me for more information about PCI.)

Indexing and Abstracting (LI 842XO)
I’ve taught this course for the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University’s site in Portland, OR.
Technical Indexing (TC N100)
In this course I covered the basics in much the same way as I do in Step One to Indexing with an emphasis on technical documentation. The University of Washington’s Department of Technical Communication used to offer this course through UW Educational Outreach. Due to low enrollment for a couple of classes, it has not been offered recently. If you’re interested in seeing this course offered again, please contact the University of Washington’s Department of Technical Communication and let them know.
Students who complete this course and receive high B’s or higher are eligible for PCI (Practical Competency in Indexing) Certification. (Contact me for more information about PCI.)

Courses taught by other instructors

I’m happy to refer you to classes taught by other experienced indexers and experienced instructors if my classes are out of your area or offered on dates when you’re unavailable.

The only other currently offered instruction I have personally reviewed materials for and consider to be top-notch are Sherry Smith‘s tutorials. If you live in Eastern Washington and want to take a face-to-face, live course (which is the best way to learn indexing), I highly recommend classes taught by Sherry Smith. Sherry also offers self-paced tutorials that can be worked in a distance learning situation. Sherry is a remarkable indexer and a fantastic instructor. If you work with her, you will receive top-notch instruction and guidance. Students who successfully complete their studies with Sherry Smith are eligible for PCI (Practical Competency in Indexing) Certification from Index West. (Contact me for more information about PCI.)

If you’re interested in seeing what other indexing courses are available, here’s a good starting point:

PNW courses
The PNW chapter of the American Society of Indexers (ASI) maintains a list of regional classes about indexing. NOTE: Some of these are taught by non-indexers. Some of these are taught by inexperienced instructors.