From StarTran students, teachers, and reporters

I was a student in Kansas learning the theory from your Star Tran materials, so I have them already. But I had to return to California. I decided to try to learn on my own at home. The school in Kansas was first-rate and, during the short time there, I was able to learn what I needed to do in order to be successful.

Years ago, I was first a student at another school in this area but became frustrated largely because of a theory which was full of conflicts. It was so bad that students regularly made up their own theory in order to pass tests — with all the problems that can make for a reporter later on. From the very first day I used the Startran Theory, I was thrilled with it. It was obvious to me that it was far superior to the conflict-ridden theory I had been so frustrated with before. I also feel that it’s intuitive — I usually can figure out what the new outline will be before I’ve even gotten to it in the materials.

During the first few days at the school in Kansas we were put on the Case CATalyst system with student machines hooked up to write in realtime. I was shocked by the difference in the Star Tran Theory and the old theory I had used before — little differences, but in every way better!

I have never wavered in my desire to do this for the rest of my life. I am a college graduate and this will be my third and final career. Thanks for the chance to correspond with you and your obvious wish to sell me only what I need. My machine is a new Elan Mira. I wanted to get the dictionary most compatible with the excellent Star Tran I’m learning.”

Mary Hargis

StarTran Independent Student

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate all of the hard work you put into teaching in these lessons.  You are an excellent teacher and I am learning so much more than I would have learned if I had stayed with my previous program.  Also, the theory is so much easier to understand.  I appreciate that words with short vowels are often written using the vowel that it contains in english.  I can see how this prevents conflicts and the excessive use of the asterisk key.  I’m very much enjoying this program so far :).
Kind Regards,


Jessica J.

StarTran Online Student

 I wish I had found your course years ago. It just seems so logical.
Penny Maduro

StarTran Online Student

I started StarTran Online in February of 2020 and I completed all 40 lessons in January of 2021. This program was so amazing and very well structured. It was very easy to comprehend and follow along through with everything. I am excited to start the speedbuilding portion so I can become a realtime court reporter, and I feel very confident that with the training I received through the StarTran theory that I am prepared to reach my goals. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to enter the exciting career of court reporting.

Lindsey R. of MD
StarTran Online Graduate

StarTran is an awesome program. I love it because you actually learn your theory instead of getting through it. When I get to speedbuilding, I will be confident that my foundation is solid to build upon. Marlene has structured the program in a way that builds your confidence as you progress. I actually see my comprehension and my writing improve with each lesson. This was by far the best decision I could have made for my future as a court reporter.

Donna Reeves

StarTran Online Student

Your course is amazing.  I just finished the first section (yes I was excited so I woke up very early to get a head start LOL).  I made about a million flashcards, used your finger labeling trick to memorize the correct placement of keys, and plan on going through the entire section once more this evening to really engrain everything I learned.  Your program makes this whole court reporting journey so much less intimidating.  I am about to download the dictionary to my CAT.  Thank you so much.   I’m learning so much already!

Jennifer Manwell
New StarTran Online Student


Thank you for the feedback! I’ve been really loving the program.

Amy Herty

StarTran Online Student

I am very impressed with the teaching technique of your lessons. It is quite obvious that you have many years of teaching experience, as quite a bit of what I read in your texts reflects exactly my thoughts. In many ways your theory is superior to the one I have been teaching.

Mona Cross

Program Director, Wilson College

That is actually very helpful, thank you so much! You have been a great teacher. You teaching style really meshes well with my personality. My last school did not. Your positive reinforcement is amazing!

Amy G.
StarTran Online Student

Thank you so much! I’m so glad I signed up for StarTran. It really clicked for me. I have seen other theories with briefs that are not as phonetically based. I think I would have really struggled with something like that. I can already see how having briefs is very beneficial. It seems like when I get to one, I can catch my breath! I also really liked the way everything was laid out in such a detailed format. I have already signed up for Simply Steno. I did my first lesson today. I felt well prepared. Thank you for your wonderful guidance. 

Angela C.

StarTran Online Graduate

I really love your theory. I am a slow learner, and can’t devote as much time as I’d like, but I feel like I am learning the best theory out there. I am a self-study student hoping to enter Simply Steno soon!

Dwayne D.

Independent StarTran Student

I’ve really enjoyed your teaching and sense of humor, so I’m glad this worked out.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve chuckled out loud at your humor smile.

Myra F.

StarTran Online Student

I am finding this theory much more enjoyable than the theory that I learned last year. This theory is much more proficient and makes sense to me. This theory is much easier for me to understand, and I actually get the pattern in the writing — the best way I can describe it.  I look for patterns in things, and in the Stratran theory the pattern is very easy to pick up and is consistent.  

I’m also enjoying the fact that writing briefs is being taught from the get-go, not in the middle after I’ve learned to write words then go back and relearn.   This saves me time and a lot of frustration! 

Thank you Marlene,

Maria P.
StarTran Online Student

I have found StarTran Realtime Theory to be a very well-designed, streamlined system of writing. It was easy to learn, and the Practice Habits give valuable advice and support that really helps.

Dawn Fisher

StarTran Student

I’m starting Lesson 10, and I absolutely love StarTran so far!! It makes much more sense to me than Phoenix.

Penny Beaver

StarTran Student

I find the briefs excellent and plan to use as many of the briefs and phrases as I can. The Reference Volume is very helpful, and I haven’t required support from the author as yet. The materials are organized in an easy to understand manner. Reading ahead, especially the Practice Habits at the beginning of each lesson really helps. Just a note about the vowels — they’re excellent! It’s great that you do lots of drills with them at the beginning. I don’t know if this is standard in teaching stenotype theories, but your approach is very easy to understand.

Billy Sutherland

StarTran Independent Student

Marlene, every minute of school was worth it.   I feel very lucky to have StarTran Theory. Thank you so much! The whole StarTran Theory was perfect for me. I’m now working as a court reporter in California!

Trudy O'Brien

California CSR

I think your theory is superb, so superior that there wouldn’t be any question about which to choose. I’m even incorporating some of it into my own writing!

Judith Spriggs

Owner, Farr/Spriggs Reporting USA, Inc.

I think the theory has been put together and reviewed thoroughly. It seems extremely accurate, comprehensive, and thorough. It is also easy to understand — user/learner friendly in a sense.

Jennifer Bollin

StarTran Online Student, Neosho County Community College

Overall, I think your theory is the best, especially the organization and teaching part of it. The order in which you teach the keys and the thoroughness that you have covered prefixes, suffixes and compound elements is superb…Thanks again for all the help and encouragement.

Rhonda Zacharias

CSR, CRR Theory Instructor

I am impressed with how very thorough your theory is and how well it is presented.

Candace Bellamy

CSR, Instructor, Oklahoma City, OK

I found a lot to like in StarTran. [Practice Habits] really point the students in the right direction and help keep them focused on the goal of achieving mastery of the steno machine. It is nice to find affirmation from an expert in the field. [Your theory] was very educational and actually enjoyable.

Ron Way

Theory Instructor, Houston Community College

Everything is going great so far. I love the training format; it’s laid out very well. Thanks!

Christina Alden

StarTran Online Student

It certainly wasn’t an easy start to learn this; however, once it clicked in my brain it became really, really fun. I really love the briefs and took my time learning them to ensure that I knew them backwards and forwards because I believe that is key. I think the StarTran method is awesome, and I am so happy that I made the decision to enroll in your class. Thank you again for all of your advice and help!  I definitely will tell anyone interested in a reporting career that you guys are the best!

Nancy Larson

StarTran Online Graduate

I love StarTran Theory! It was very clear and made a lot of sense so I didn’t need much help. The audios were a challenge, but that’s how you learn. I practiced about one to two hours a day and finished Basic and Advanced in about six months.

Leigh Ann Wade

StarTran Student

I have previously attended online realtime classes…where I studied Phoenix Theory. The comments on your website are absolutely true. StarTran is much better and easier to learn.

Val Jansen

StarTran Student

I’m just finishing up the StarTran theory and have great things to say about it. I chose StarTran after looking into several other theories and examining other CR materials out there. The theory is really well organized, well presented, and well thought out. I also like the fact that the StarTran materials include a comprehensive set of practice tapes. The author of the theory, Marlene Struss, has been very helpful and quick to respond to questions.

Robert Abrams

StarTran Independent Student

Now that I’m in the field, I see the conflicts and problems other reporters have and I’m more thankful than ever that I learned StarTran, a truly conflict-free realtime theory.

Sally Davis

California CSR, RPR

I love my theory. I knew I had a good foundation, but didn’t know how good until I transferred to a new school. At my new school they were surprised at how clean my notes were. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

Natalie Davies

California CSR

I was astonished at what they (my students) were able to do after three weeks. The theory is making perfect sense to them. They’re reading back wonderfully. We are just about to wind up the semester. The course went well. One student has passed 50 wpm Q&A and will probably pass 60 wpm next week; another student has passed 80 wpm at 96+% and will probably be writing close to 120 by next semester (she has also passed a 50 wpm at 100%). They are all good phonetic writers and the theory seems to be working well for them. Yeah!!!!

Debi Reinhart

CSR, StarTran Theory Instructor

StarTran Theory is a remarkable piece of work. I was especially impressed with the Practice Habits at the beginning of each lesson. Those are brilliant.

Thomas Holub

CRI, Instructor, Oklahoma City, OK

StarTran is really conflict-free and thorough. I can see that students learning this theory will really have an advantage. You’ve really got an effective program.

Nina Rollins

CR Department Head, Central California School of Continuing Education

I’d like to offer my compliments and congratulation. I do particularly like the way your theory is presented, with sample exercises after each principle. Congratulations on a great idea!

Grant Morrison

StenoType Tutor

I am so Happy that I found StarTran! I was looking for an online program after the school I was attending did not offer the program anymore. I looked at all the different options and chose StarTran, and it has turned out to be Awesome. Mrs. Marlene is Amazing! She is very easy to talk to and very encouraging. I am still in the beginning stages, but I am learning so much and having fun with it.

Sandra Sparks

StarTran Online Student

I have enjoyed StarTran Online. I was able to complete the program within a year while working full-time. The theory concepts made total sense to me. I also appreciated that most of the dictations had various speed options. I liked that there were options available regarding outlines depending on what made most sense to you or how short/long you wanted to write. The instructor responds quickly to questions, and you will receive tests back with edits in a timely manner. I would recommend the program to a friend!

Sara M.

StarTran Online Graduate

I found the instruction very clear and understandable. I would say there were some things I had to re-read a couple of times but not very many and not very often. I did mostly follow the seven steps. It made moving through the lessons very easy, knowing exactly what I needed to do each lesson. Instruction on technique was good. I would say certain things took some time to get used to but I never felt like I was doing it wrong

The briefs and phrases mostly made sense to me. There was enough repetition. Some briefs and phrases took a little longer to ‘click’ in my brain but writing them down helped me to recognize patterns in them. I liked learning the conflict resolution as I progressed through the lessons. I don’t think it would have been helpful to have to learn them at the end. There was lots of great [career] information at the beginning of a lot of the lessons and even more as I went into Advanced Theory.

All of my questions were answered in a timely and helpful manner. Marlene was always easy to contact and communicate with.

I definitely think the program is a great value! I did get what I expected and then some.

Christy Robinson

StarTran Online Graduate

I am so happy that I chose StarTran Online!  I love the fact that it is so affordable and that it was self-paced.  The program is very well executed with each lesson building on the previous so you are always reviewing.  There are many, many briefs and phrases and options to choose from if a concept doesn’t make sense. Overall, I am very pleased and feel like I have a great theory foundation to begin speedbuilding.

Melanie Ralls

StarTran Online Graduate

I am so happy I chose StarTran Online to learn steno writing! The program was affordable and allowed me the flexibility I needed with my busy schedule. The methodical approach as well as structure and content of the schedules was very well put together. I never felt like that there was anything lacking in my understanding of steno theory. Marlene was always responsive when I had questions and I never felt like I was on my own.

Jeri Preston

StarTran Online Graduate

I love the startran theory! So much of it just clicks with me and makes it so easy to excel in this work. There are some hard words and briefs that stump me from time to time, but all in all, it’s a beautifully made theory and I can’t wait to become an official reporter and put all these words to use!!
Jamee Smith

StarTran Student, Neosho County Community College, KS

Thank you for being so supportive and enthusiastic! I am so impressed with your program. I like how organized it is, and I just have to follow the steps and it all makes sense!  I know I would not be  prepared for speedbuilding now if I had not gone through your program. The way you have set up and organized StarTran Online is fantastic. I cannot thank you enough for all the work that you did to create such a wonderful  online theory program.

I am enrolling in SimplySteno and starting August 20th, after treating myself and my family to a vacation!

Donna Mooney

Returning Court Reporter, Delloro-McDaniel Court Reporting

I feel like I got more than my money’s worth from the program and am very happy with the knowledge I have gained. I feel like the program is very reasonably priced, especially for someone making the career change to improve their financial status. For the most part, the Seven Steps worked for me and gave me a guide every time I sat down to practice. My questions were always answered in a timely manner, sometimes almost immediately. Yes, I would absolutely recommend the program and would be happy to talk to anyone about it. I know online school is not for everyone, and I struggled with focus and dedication at some points, but it is a great option.
Kelsey Wright

StarTran Online Graduate

I LOVE StarTran!!!! This is the best deal you’ll ever get for such a thorough and unique theory! I’m so happy with my decision and excited to move on to the next chapter of my court reporting journey. Marlene is always there to answer your questions and assist you in any way you need. I couldn’t have chosen a better place to learn my theory and beginning part of this career. Thank you Marlene! I couldn’t have done this without all your help!
Yachet M.

StarTran Online Graduate

Marlene, thanks again for all your hard work. (Wish I’d had this theory from the get-go.)

Chris Herndon

StarTran Theory Instructor , Neosho County Community College, KS

StarTran Online has been a great way for me to start my education!  I researched many programs to determine which would be the best fit for me, and I have no regrets in my decision.  StarTran theory has provided me with a strong base of knowledge including the confidence to write out any word I hear, even unfamiliar words phonetically.  Throughout the program there were many briefs and phrases introduced, as well as shorter options for writing out longer words. Not knowing prior to theory how “short” of a writer I might have ultimately become, I feel like this has been the best of both worlds for me.  I enjoyed the self-direction of the program, yet never felt alone as Marlene was always responsive to any questions that I had.   I have recently started speed building and feel very prepared for the next steps in my journey!

Diane Farmer

StarTran Online Graduate

There are quite a few theories and schools out there. Theory is your foundation, and it’s a big decision. Once I talked to Marlene, I knew StarTran would be the right fit for me.

I needed something online and flexible, since I also work full-time and have a family. StarTran is completely on your own schedule. You can log in any time of day or night. It’s also incredibly affordable.

From researching various online groups and attending the A to Z program, I had an idea of what I wanted. I wanted to learn a theory that taught briefs and phrases and a shorter way to write, but it also had to make sense. I’m an older student, and I had concerns that I wouldn’t be able to pick up ultra-short briefs like a younger student might. I was really pleased by how StarTran was taught. There are a ton of briefs and phrases, and they all make sense. They all build off of each other, so it is very seamless and natural. You can also choose to write shorter or write longer. StarTran offers a few different ways of writing a word, and you choose the way that makes sense to you. I feel like I am able to write short, and it all comes very naturally with this theory.

Another big issue for me was instructor availability and approachability. I wanted someone who would be responsive to questions and would not make me feel silly or that they were too busy to answer questions. Marlene went above and beyond. I honestly never had any questions about the content, because that was always explained very well in her instructions, but I sometimes had concerns and questions about the field of court reporting. She was always extremely positive and encouraging.

I just feel very grateful and thankful to Marlene and very glad I picked StarTran.

Linda Tarr

StarTran Online Graduate

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