NCRA DiscoverSteno® FAQs

How do I start this process?

  • Step 1: Watch the webinar on the Teach an NCRA A to Z Program webpage.
  • Step 2: Recruit someone to help you; it is always good to have a backup leader.
  • Step 3: Fill out and sign the online MOU form here.
  • Step 4: You will recevie a confirmation email and access to the Program Leader landing page.
  • Step 5: Review all information on the landing page: The NCRA A to Z Handbook, Step-by-Step Toolkit, flyers, and forms.
  • Step 6: Select a place, date, and time for the program.
  • Step 7: List your program on the DiscoverSteno website by filling out this form.
  • Step 8: At the end of the program, have participants fill out and submit the Participant Completion Form on the Program Leader landing page.

How do I get the NCRA A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand Handbook, flyers, and any other forms used for the program?

Once you complete the online MOU, an email will be sent from the NCRA DiscoverSteno Team giving you access to the Program Leader landing page on the NCRA website. There you will find all the program materials needed to start.

Are there a minimum number of participants that I need to get started?

There is no minimum, but 10 is a good number.

How do I get participants? Where do I get participants?

  • Facebook posts
  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Legal Secretary Associations
  • Unemployment Office
  • Email blasts
  • School counselor associations in each state
  • High school career fairs
  • Veterans
  • State retraining programs
  • Hang flyers in court houses
  • Toastmasters and Rotary clubs
  • Gyms

How do I market my program? Are there templates available for handouts, flyers, Facebook, etc.?

After signing the MOU, you will have access to the Program Leader landing page. The Landing Page has PDFs of handouts, flyers, and brochures.

How/where do I get machines? Do I get participants or machines first?

  • It is best to get the participants first and then the machines.
  • To find machines, ask your State Association, post a request on Facebook, or put a call out to reporters.
  • Ask reporters to look in their closets for manual machines which are great to use; you may have to purchase a ribbon or a spool, but they are available. And even though a machine might have a dead battery or bad AC charger, most will still work in manual mode.
  • NCRA maintains a list of machines and accessories which have been donated to the program. Contact for more information.

How long does it take to get the steno machines?

It depends on where you can get them from and whether you have to travel to obtain them. It is recommended that you use the cheapest postal rate if you are having them shipped to save money on postage. NCRA does not reimburse for shipping.

What type of machines should I use?

  • Any machine that works. Many of the machines donated may be older machines and it can be difficult and expensive to find paper and ribbons. Newer machines may not have screens that work.
  • Be sure before the first class that all machines and parts work together before issuing out machines. Label each machine and part for inventory purposes.
  • Not all paper trays, tripods, and AC chargers are interchangeable. Smartwriters have a different paper tray than a Stentura, an older tripod might not fit a Stentura, and some Stentura chargers do not charge a Mira. Use your donated equipment to make a complete setup.
  • Remind participants that they can load the iStenoPad app to practice anytime, anywhere, even if they do not have a machine with them.

Do the participants take the machines home or leave them in the classroom?

  • Participants take the machines home so they can practice. Participants fill out an agreement that they will reimburse the program if they do not return their machines.
  • Be sure to put the proper value for the machine they are using in the proper space on the "machine rental" form. One of the main reasons to ask for an emergency contact number is to have a follow-up in case a machine is not returned to the program leader.

How do I handle dictation material for my participants? Do the leaders have to make recordings?

Leaders will dictate what is in the book and no other theory concepts. Participants are encouraged to bring a recording device to class to record dictations for at-home practice. Participants will also have access to dictation materials from the NCRA A to Z online website.

As a leader, do I print the book for all participants to take home?

Yes. You should print copies of each lesson and hole-punch the paper so participants can keep the lessons in a binder. We recommend you print only the lessons you cover each session, as some participants drop out from week to week.

Do the participants take the Interest Inventory Survey online prior to starting the program?

It is not mandatory for participants to take the survey, but it is encouraged. This enables NCRA to collect as much data as possible to track which participants sign up for NCRA A to Z, finish the program, and then go on to enroll in court reporting programs.

How many chapters are taught during each class?

The recommendation is 3-4 chapters per class, one 3-hour class per week, for a period of six to eight weeks. Some lesssons are longer than others and/or contain more material. Each group moves at a different pace depending on the abilities of the participants, guest speakers who may visit, etc. It is up to the leader to figure out what lessons to cover in each session.

Is it better to hold classes once per week instead of twice per week?

Once a week is best. Six or eight weeks of practicing two hours a day gives participants a true sense of what a court reporting program will require of them. Can they sustain that in their personal schedules?

How do I handle people who request to take a program and who may not be the best candidates? How can I discuss the program without discouraging them?

Tell them what the course requirements will be and that it usually takes at least two years of full-time college work to complete the requriements of certification. Be honest, but encourageing. This should be fun. Even your 92-year old neighbor can participate. You never know whom she will refer to our profession!

How do my participants get more information about court reporting programs?

The Schools and Programs pages on the NCRA website are the best place to learn about NCRA-approved court reporting programs. For information on individual programs, participants will need to contact the schools directly.

What is the list of "Prospective NCRA A to Z Participants"?

These are participants who have signed up on the NCRA DiscoverSteno website who are interested in learning more about NCRA A to Z and/or want to sign up for a class. NCRA will send these names out to local leaders and State Associations in their area for follow-up. The list is updated every two weeks on the NCRA A to Z leaders listserv.

Do the leaders earn CEUs for teaching the program?

  • You cannot earn CEUs for this program. However, you can earn 1.0 PDC for teaching the full 24-hour NCRA A to Z program. Assistant program leaders and guest speakers are also eligible for PDCs. PDCs are awarded once all forms have been submitted upon completion of your program. Required forms are the Program Leader Questionnaire and Participant Completion Forms.
  • Keep in mind you may only apply 1.0 PDC per cycle toward your continuing education requirements. If you earn more than 1.0 PDC in any one cycle, that overage may be eligible for carry-over credit. Members may only carry over up to 5 hours of overage earned in any cycle. 

What is a listserv and how do I ask more questions?

Leaders who sign the MOU will be added to an email list called a listserv. Emails sent to the listserv are sent to all subscribers on the listserv at the same time. This is the place to share information and ask questions of the group.

If someone wants to donate a machine, what should they do?

If you know of someone who would like to donate their machines (or any other accessories), please have them fill out this form with their contact info and the list of items available. They do not need to mail their machines to NCRA or anywhere else. We will collect their information and pass it along to NCRA A to Z program leaders in their state. It is then up to the program leaders and the donors to make arrangements to have the items picked up.

How do I get my program listed on the NCRA DiscoverSteno site?

To have your program listed on the  website, fill out the NCRA A to Z® Dates and Locations form.