Course Title: Refine editing skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2018

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 delivered as blended learning: a combination of online and face-to-face instruction.

Online content

Each week you will work independently through an online module that will deliver core content through both written and video instruction. Your weekly course work also includes practice exercises and activities that will prepare you for the graded tests and assignments. The course also offers opportunities for online discussion. A PDF companion booklet is supplied with each unit, which is available in the course resources.

Face-to-face classes

There are five four-hour classes that you are required to attend from 9.30am on the following dates: 24 February, 17 March, 21 April, 12 May and 26 May. You are also required to attend the one-hour orientation class on Thursday 8 February from 5.30pm. Some of the tasks required to satisfactorily complete this course will be conducted during classes, so please ensure that you attend all face-to-face sessions.

Consultation sessions will also be held from Week 2. These sessions are optional, and offer students the opportunity to seek help with the online content in person. 
Please note: the first Thursday session (8 February, 5.30–6.30pm) is not optional. All students undertaking this unit are required to attend this orientation session.

How is the course structured?

This course is divided into four units: three discrete knowledge-based units that are taught sequentially – English Language Conventions, Structure and Substance, and Copyediting and Proofreading – and a fourth skills-based unit, Editing Process and Practice, that is taught each week throughout the semester.

Teaching Schedule



Teaching and learning focus

Assessment due

Week 1
5–13 February

English language convention: 
Grammar and punctuation terminology

Editing process and practice: 
What does an editor do?

Orientation class
Week 1
Thu 8 February
Navigating the weekly online, work requirements and course pages 
Week 2
12–18 February

English language convention: 
Sentence structure

Editing process and practice: 
What is ‘correct’ English?

Week 2 online test
Due: 18 February (11.59 pm)

Week 3
19–25 February

English language conventions: 
Sentence structure 1

Editing process and practice: 
What is ‘editorial style’?

Week 3 online test
Due: 25 February (11.59 pm)
Class 1 
Week 3: 
24 February
9.30 am–1.30 pm

English Language Conventions: 
Sentence structures 2

Editing Process and Practice: 
Making style choices and creating a stylesheet
Editing Folio (Assessment 2) setup

Week 4
26 February–4 March

English language conventions:
Punctuation·, Variations in style 1

Editing process and practice: 
Creating and following editorial briefs·     
Identifying what will make a publication successful for its audience and purpose

Week 4 online test
Due: 4 March (11.59 pm)
Week 5
5–11 March

English language conventions:
Complex sentence punctuation
Variation in style 2

Editing process and practice:
The author–editor relationship·
Managing project expectations

Week 5 online test
Due: 11 March (11.59 pm)
Week 6
12–18 March

Structure and substance:
Constructing strong paragraphs

Editing process and practice:
Author queries
Effective feedback

Week 6 online test
Due: 18 March (11.59 pm) 

Editing folio:
original text, and publication and audience summary sheet (C/NYC)
Due: 18 March (11.59 pm)

Class 2
Week 6: 17 March
9.30 am–1.30 pm
Manuscript assessment
Managing projects and documents
Digital markup in word (styles, tracked changes and comments)
Initial editing folio author–editor meetings
Week 7
19–25 March

Structure and substance:
Text structure

Editing process and practice:
Legal issues 1

Week 7 online test
Due: 25 March (11.59 pm)
Week 8
26–29 March

Structure and substance
Assessing content

Editing process and practice
Legal issues 2

Week 8 online test
Due: 8 April (11.59 pm) 

Editing folio: Substantive edit and editorial report upload to canvas (tracked word doc.)
Due: 29 March 
Substantive edit: Graded 15%
Editorial report: C/NYC

Mid-semester break 30 March–6 April

Week 9
9–15 April

Copyediting and proofreading:
Sentence structure 3

Editing process and practice:
Assessing house style and voice

Week 9 online test
Due: 15 April (11.59 pm)
Week 10
16–22 April

Copyediting and proofreading:
Complex sentence punctuation

Editing process and practice:
Ethics and professional standards

Week 10 online test
Due: 22 April (11.59 pm)  

Editing folio:
Substantive edit return to author (tracked word doc.) and email (keep for folio) (C/NYC)
Due: 22 April

Class 3
Week 10: 21 April
9.30 am–1.30 pm

Copyediting and proofreading:
Hardcopy copyediting markup symbols and technique

Editing Process and Practice:
Giving feedback
Substantive editing meetings

Week 11
23–29 April

Copyediting and proofreading:
Common word errors (pronouns, confusing word pairs, compound words, hyphenation)

Editing process and practice:
Working with a style sheet throughout a project

Week 11 online test
Due: 29 April (11.59 pm)
Week 12
30 April–6 May

Copyediting and proofreading:
Plain English and clarity through word choice·     Diversity and cultural sensitivity

Editing process and practice:
Assessing sources and resources

Editing folio:
Copyedit and stylesheet (draft only) upload to canvas (tracked word doc.)
Due: 6 May
Copyedit: Graded 15%

Week 13
7–13 May

Copyediting and proofreading:
Format, visual elements and cross-references·    
Screen-based performance issues

Editing process and practice:
Issues specific to online content editing

Class 4
Week 13: 12 May 
9.30 am–1.30 pm

Copyediting and proofreading:
Proofreading technique (hardcopy and digital with pdfs)

Editing Process and Practice:
Copyediting meetings

Week 14
14–20 May

Copyediting and proofreading:
Practice tasks and revision

Editing process and practice:
Editing project reflection

Editing folio:
Copyedit emailed to author with final stylesheet
Upload final stylesheet to Canvas
Due: 20 May 
Copyedit and email: C/NYC
Stylesheet: Graded 10%

Week 15
21–27 May
Revision and folio completion 
Class 5
Week 15: 26 May
9.30 am–1.30 pm
Proofreading test
Where to from here?
Editing folio:
Whole editing folio including report (upload zipped file to Canvas or submit in hard copy in class)
Due: 26 May
Report: Graded 20%
Folio: C/NYC
Week 16Resubmission if required. 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Resources are available on the course Canvas 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. Once you have demonstrated competency, the assessment tasks indicated below will be graded.

All assessment tasks will have more detailed briefs, which include assessment criteria, which are available on Canvas. Grading rubrics will also be available on Canvas.

Assessment Task 1 Weekly tests
You will be assessed on your knowledge of the online classwork via weekly tests for Weeks 2–11 .

They will test your understanding of the English language conventions required to appraise writing; undertake a substantive edit; and edit a text for style, completeness, and consistency. They will also test your understanding of legal and ethical issues related to editing, planning a publication, editing a project, and working effectively with writers and editing clients. Your teacher will be monitoring your performance in these weekly tests, and may contact you to discuss your progress.

DUE: Every Sunday 11:59 pm Weeks 2–11

Assessment Task 2 Editing folio (partially graded)
You will prepare a range of documents that demonstrate your ability to appraise material’s suitability for publication, your ability to communicate effectively with your author/client, your substantive editing skills, your ability to establish an appropriate and consistent editorial style, and your ability to edit a text for consistency and completeness. 

The Editing folio has 5 sections. The components will be developed throughout the semester, following models and instruction delivered in the online classwork and in face-to-face classes. Some components of the folio are assessed for competency, other components are graded once competency is achieved. 

More more details see Canvas.

DUE: Various pieces are due 18 March, 29 March, 22 April, 6 May, 20 May and 26 May

Assessment Task 3 Proofreading test (graded)
You will sit a test in class on Saturday 26 May. It will be conducted in two one-hour sittings with a break of at least 30 minutes in between. It will have two parts:

  • Part 1: print proofreading (hardcopy document, single page, hardcopy markup) 
  • Part 2: online proofreading (single page digital PDF intended for online publication)

While your final test marks will contribute your grade, you do need to satisfactorily demonstrate all requirements for competency. 


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

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. The assessment matrix for this course can be 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.

Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises. It is strongly advised 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.

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.

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy designed to assist you in achieving your learning potential.

Adjustments to Assessment (eg. applying for an extension of time):
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
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning
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) 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