Course Title: Refine editing skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2017

Course Code: COMM7307

Course Title: Refine editing skills

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5314 - Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing

Course Contact: Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925-4815

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Sandra Duncanson

Nominal Hours: 120

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This course covers the knowledge and skills required to apply advanced editing skills to a range of texts in different media.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20278 Refine editing skills


1. Appraise the suitability of written material for a specific purpose or readership

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Broad characteristics of the readership adn the publication are clarified
1.2 Length, structure and focus are evlauted against the requirements of the intended readership and the publication
1.3 Quality of writing is assessed in terms of basic editing required
1.4 Promotional aspects of the publication are identified


2. Liaise closely with the author and/or client to make all significant substantive editing decisions.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Appraisal of the text is discussed with author and/or client to establish broad editing approach
2.2 Actions necessary to achieve a complete and coherent text are established in outline
2.3 Questions of balance are addressed where necessary and any legal issues identified
2.4 Broad action plan and the roles of the writer and editor are clarified


3. Undertake substantive editing of a text

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Text is restructured and reworded where necessary and material added or deleted
3.2 Paragraphing, emphasis and lists are added if necessary to hekl readers scan the text
3.3 Headings and other labelling devices are added where necessary with attention to relevance, logical grading, consistency and appropriateness
3.4 Supplementary material is added where relevant


4. Undertake editing of the style of the text

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Language is edited for consistency, appropriateness and clarity
4.2 Reading level, terminology and formality of language are edited to render them appropriate to publication and readership
4.3 Punctuation and grammar are checked for consistency and adherence to determined protocols
4.4 Conventions for quoting material are maintained throughout


5. Edit for completeness and consistency

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Parts of the text are edited for consistency and itnernal integrity
5.2 Cross-references and links are checked for accuracy and completeness
5.3 Screen-based publications are tested for performance and usability
5.4 Format and layout are checked against any design specifications and checked for consistency

Learning Outcomes

You will be able to work independently and collaboratively to edit different kinds of text at a professional level and across a range of media.

Details of Learning Activities

This course is offered as blended learning. Online instructional modules are used to deliver core content in four units: Style and Consistency, Publishing and Publications, Structure and Substance, and Grammar and Punctuation. These modules include videos, activities and exercises, organised with new material each week. A companion booklet is supplied with each unit.

This is supplemented by online readings, discussion, weekly tests, and practice exercises and activities.

A number of face-to-face Saturday classes offer revision and discussion opportunities, and allow demonstration of specific techniques and technologies. For those unable to attend, material will provided online.

Students will also work collaboratively, within the class and – where relevant – with workplace colleagues, in preparing folios and projects. Individual or groups meetings with the teacher may be requested, if needed.

A number of face-to-face workshops are used to ensure students are using editing techniques and technologies correctly, and to allow further discussion, group work, and assessment support. Informal student-organised study groups are also encouraged. 

Teaching Schedule



Teaching and learning focus

Assessment items due (Sunday midnight, following weekend)

Week 1

- readings/discussion: prescription vs description


8 July

Overview of course
Copyediting mark-up options
- revision of style basics
- discussion of style assignment


Week 2

- discussion: language change and variation


Week 3

- discussion: quality vs consistency (applying style)

Sunday 23 July

Online tests 1, 2, 3

Discussion week 3

Week 4

STYLE: completing individual assignments

Sunday 30 July

Online test 4

Discussion week 4


29 July

- revision and assignment support

- introduction to publishing processes
- group formation for publishing project


Week 5

- discussion: fit for purpose

Sunday 6 August

Online test 5

Discussion week 5

Assignment #1 – Style (for competency and grading)

Week 6

- discussion: keeping everyone on the same page

Sunday 13 August

Online test 6

Discussion week 6

Assignment #2 (folio piece A, for competency and grading)

Week 7

- discussion: doing the right thing

Sunday 20 August

Online test 7

Discussion week 7

Assignment #2 (folio piece B, for competency and grading)

26 August

- assignment debrief and revision

- ethics, professionalism, legalities
- project group work, writing tasks allocated

- using Word comments, Google docs etc


Week 8

Project writing and editing work

Sunday 29 August

Online test 8

Discussion week 8

Week 9

- discussion: how do we read?

Sunday 3 September

Online test 9

Discussion week 9

Assignment #3 (submit writing for project, for structural/substantive edit)

Week 10

- discussion: between a rock and a hard place (working with writers)

Sunday 10 September

online test 10

discussion week 10

Assignment #2 (folio piece C, for competency)

Week 11

- discussion: specialist language or weasel words? 

Sunday 17 September

Online test 11

Discussion week 11

Assignment #3 (send structural edit to author)

 Mid-semester break: 18–29 September

Week 12

- discussion: the art of communication

Sunday 8 October

Online test 12

Discussion week 12

Assignment #3 (provide revised writing for project, to be copyedited)


7 October

- review and revision

- review and revision
- copyediting challenges

- writer/editor discussion of structural/substantive edits
- using Word track changes


Week 13

- discussion: your grammar tips

Sunday 15 October

Online test 13

Assignment #2 (folio piece D, for competency)

Week 14


- discussion: punctuation mark trends

Sunday 22 October

Online test 14

Assignment #3 (send copyedit for project to author for final revision)


28 October

- final text revision
- layout
- start proofreading


Week 15


The next step
Semester review

Sunday 29 October

Online test 15

Assignment #2 (folio piece E, for competency and grading)

Sunday 4 June

Assignment #3 (project report – checks, evaluation, reflection – for competency and grading)


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Resources are available on the course Blackboard site.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is on-going throughout the course. Assessment will incorporate a range of methods to assess performance and the application of knowledge and skills and will include:

  • participation in written exercises, in class and online
  • the application of learned skills and insights to the editing of  writing tasks.

Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete all of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive written feedback on all assessment (refer to your Blackboard site for assessment criteria). Once you have demonstrated competency, the assessment tasks indicated below will be graded (refer to Blackboard for grading rubrics).

All assessment tasks will have more detailed briefs available on Blackboard.

Assessment Task 1 Style assignment (individual work) 
For grading: a copyediting text will be provided for copyediting to the style you have studied (25%).

You will compile a report on house style in your workplace or in a given publication or organisation, including discussion and annotated examples, and will show that you can copyedit a text to apply this style. Detailed specifications will be provided separately.
DUE Week 5 (Sunday 6 August) GRADED weighting 25%

Assessment Task 2 Editing folio (individual work) 
For grading: tasks A, B and E will be graded (total 30%, 10% each). 

You will submit 5 items for an editing folio. This logical sequence of tasks will allow you to show appropriate editing of a text at various stages in the publishing process, and to demonstrate your solution to a range of editorial challenges relevant to a workplace. Most tasks will relate to the ongoing collaborative project - you are expected to respond to teacher feedback to revise tasks C and D (your project structural/substantive editing and copyediting) before returning them in a timely manner to the relevant writer/collaborator.


A. Week 6 (Sunday 13 August) – schedule and flatplan

B. Week 7 (Sunday 20 August) – legal/ethical/professional issues

C. Week 9 (Sunday 3 September) – structural/substantive edit

D. Week 13 (Sunday 15 October) – copyedit

E. Week 14 (Sunday 29 October) – proofreading

Assessment Task 3 Publication project (collaborative project) 
Your individual reflection on this project will be graded. (20%)

In a team, you will work collaboratively to create a small booklet following the brief to be provided, demonstrating your range of editing skills. Your team will have some scope to decide the direction and content of your booklet, within strictly prescribed limits. You will provide content (which can be original writing or appropriately sourced and acknowledged from other sources) to be edited by teammates, following the schedule in your course guide and direction from your teacher. Some discussion and project work can be undertaken in Saturday classes. At the conclusion of the project you will check, evaluate and reflect on the project and the processes used.


Week 9 (Sunday 9 April) – your text shared for structural/substantive edit
Week 11 (Sunday 30 April) – structural/substantive edit to author
Week 12 (Sunday 7 May) – your revised text shared for copyediting
Week 14 (Sunday 21 May) – copyedit to author
Assessment week (Sunday 4 June) – project report; checking and evaluation


For grading: Weekly tests (15%)

You will complete a series of brief summary tests given online, one at the end of each week, to demonstrate your understanding of relevant knowledge that underpins professional editing and proofreading.

Weekly, weeks 1–15 inclusive – GRADED weighting 15%


For grading: Weekly discussion participation (10%)

You will provide a blog post and appropriate comments in the weekly online discussion forum, to demonstrate ability to engagement in an informed and thoughtful manner with industry professionals on issues of relevance to contemporary editing and proofreading.

Weekly, weeks 3–12 inclusive – GRADED weighting 10%


Grades that apply to this course are:

  • CHD Competency with high distinction
  • CD Competency with distinction
  • CC Competency with credit
  • CAG Competency Achieved (Graded)
  • NYC Not Yet Competent
  • DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

All graded assessments are weighted as specified above for the final grade. 

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. The assessment matrix for this course can be found on Blackboard or obtained from your teacher.

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

How to submit work
Your assessment brief will specify how you should submit your work – as hard copy, digital copy or electronically through Blackboard. When you submit your work, you must include a declaration of authorship. 

For submissions on Blackboard, you need to agree to an assessment declaration when you submit.

For all other submissions, you must complete and sign a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work.;ID=x3ddsmsrwa1hz

Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises. We strongly advise that you attend all timetabled sessions. This will allow you to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring you the maximum opportunity to complete this course successfully.

We request that you speak to your teacher if regular attendance becomes difficult.

Assessment feedback
You will receive spoken and written feedback on all your work. Where relevant, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.;ID=qwxbqbg739rl1

Student progress
Monitoring academic progress is helps us to assist you in achieving your learning potential.

Adjustments to assessment
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment satisfactorily by the due date, you can choose to apply for an adjustment to your assessment. RMIT University offers a range of adjustments designed to support you in your studies, including an extension of time to complete the assessment.

Academic integrity and plagiarism
Academic integrity is about the honest presentation of work that is your own. RMIT University has a clear policy on plagiarism (see web page for more detail).

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Credit Transfer is the recognition of previously completed formal learning (an officially accredited qualification).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that allows you to demonstrate competence using the skills you have gained through experience in the workplace, voluntary work, informal or formal training or other life experiences.

Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) applies only if you have previously successfully demonstrated competence in a unit of competency, and now require to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.

Please speak to your teacher if you wish to discuss applying for Credit Transfer, RPL, or RCC for the unit(s) of competency addressed in this course.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview