Course Title: Develop writing and editing skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: COMM5397

Course Title: Develop writing and editing skills

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4171 - Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Ms Liz Steele 
Phone: 9925 4951
Email: <font color="#0066cc"></font>

Teacher: Mr Ian See

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 develops your writing and editing skills in a professional context. It introduces you to the publishing process and emphasises the roles, responsibilities and relationships of authors and editors. The course contains a detailed study of English spelling, vocabulary, grammar and syntax, and of paragraphs. You also analyse and assess writing from a range of styles and for different audiences.
The course also focuses on punctuation and style issues, as well as copyediting and proofreading. You learn editing and proofreading mark-up and technique, and handle proofs with numerous design features.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP551 Develop writing and editing skills


1. Ensure the clarity of language  

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The principles of clear language are applied to writings
1.2 Ambiguity, repetition and verbosity are avoided in writings
1.3 Clear and logical connections between phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs and sections are made
1.4 Punctuation is used to ensure clarity of meaning and ease of reading


2. Apply the appropriate voice and tone

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The type of authorial voice/s appropriate to the publication are determined and applied to writings
2.2 The language requirements of the publication are analysed and demonstrated in writings
2.3 The language requirements of the readership are devised and incorporated into writings
2.4 Consistency of tone is maintained in writings
2.5 Text is monitored for non-inclusive or potentially offensive language


3. Apply the accepted conventions of grammar and usage to a range of written contexts 

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The conventions of grammar and syntax in written English are analysed
3.2 Words and their meanings are appropriate for the writings
3.3 The conventions governing the expression of numerical data are demonstrated
3.4 The conventions governing the use of quoted material is demonstrated
3.5 The conventions governing the display of illustrations and tables is demonstrated
3.6 The conventions for expressing specialised and foreign material are demonstrated, where necessary


4. Use correct spelling and punctuation                           

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Australian spelling and punctuation conventions are demonstrated in writings
4.2 Alternative spelling and punctuation conventions are applied when appropriate

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
• understand the book publishing process and the role of the editor
• apply the fundamentals of English grammar, spelling and vocabulary to a range of written contexts
• use reference tools with confidence, including style manuals and dictionaries
• critique short pieces of fiction and non-fiction according to principles of genre, audience, style and clarity
• communicate effectively in editorial report writing and in author–editor relationships
• apply punctuation correctly and for effect
• use the publishing industry’s technical language and its copyediting and proofreading marks
• edit short pieces of fiction and non-fiction according to principles of genre, audience, style and clarity
• edit and communicate research through delivery of a class talk.

Details of Learning Activities

Classes are a mixture of lectures, discussion, practical exercises and group work.
You learn through:

1. In-class activities:
• lectures
• industry speakers
• teacher-directed group activities/projects
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• individual and collaborative projects
• class exercises to review discussions/lectures
• analysis/critique of students’ work

2. Out-of-class activities

• practical exercises
• reading articles and excerpts
• preparing for discussion
• editorial report writing
• project work
• independent research
• revision for tests.

The Editing 1 website on Blackboard provides information, resources, activities and web links to support your studies. You are expected to manage your learning and undertake an appropriate amount of out-of-class independent study and research.

Teaching Schedule

Semester 1   
Week startingClass contentAssessment due datesElements
Week 1 

Outline course and requirements
Class talk: Introduction
Role of the editor
  1, 3
Week 2 

Class talk: Organise time slots
Language: Spelling and tautologies
The book production process
  2, 4
Week 3 
Class talk: Research and presentation tips
Language: Word confusions
Class presentation plan due (21 and 22 February) 1, 2
Week 4 

Grammar: Introduction and nouns
Text analysis (non-fiction)
  2, 3
Week 5 

Grammar: Possession
Text analysis (fiction)
  2, 3
Week 6 

Grammar: Test revision
Effective communication
  1, 2
Week 7 

Editorial report writing
Editing and grammar test  (20 and 21 March) 1, 2, 3
Week 8
Grammar: Sentence grammar—subjects, objects and complements
Editorial report writing
  2, 3
Week 9

Grammar: Finite verbs
  1, 3
Week 10 
Grammar: Non-finite verbs
  1, 3
Week 11 

 Grammar: Pronouns  1, 3
Week 12 

Grammar: Agreement, adjectives, adverbs, determinersEditorial report due (1 and  2 May) 3
Week 13 

Grammar: Prepositions and conjunctions  1, 3
Week 14 

Grammar: Clauses and phrases  1, 3
Week 15
23 May
Grammar: Misplaced, dangling and squinting modifiers
Grammar revision and practice test
  1, 3
 Week 16 

Introduction to Major Editing Project
Paragraphing and grammar test (29 and 30 May) 1, 3
Week 17Assessment Week - no classes  
Semester break  4 June to 29 June  
 Semester 2   
 Week 1 

Style: Introduction to house style and capitals
  1, 2, 4
Week 2 

Style: Capitals, italics and titles  3, 4
Week 3 

Punctuation: Commas, semi-colons and colons

  1, 4
Week 4 

Punctuation: Hyphens, ens and emsWriting for Major Project due (24 and 25 July) 3, 4
Week 5 

Punctuation: Quotation marks—fiction and non-fiction conventions  3, 4
Week 6 

Punctuation: Lists, shortened forms and remaining punctuation issues
Test Revision: Punctuation
Week 7

Editing symbols and mark-up technique for text and structure
Punctuation test (14 and 15 August) 1, 3, 4
Week 8
Editing fiction
Major Project: Project requirements
Week 9 

Editing non-fiction
Major Project: Author queries
  1, 2
Week 10 

Style: Numbers
Major Project: Style sheets
 Week 11 

Major Project: Revision and in-class editing  1
 Week 12

Major Project: First author–editor meetings
Proofreading: Proofreading symbols and mark-up technique
Week 13 

Proofreading: Proofreading technique
Major Project: Second author–editor meetings
Week 14
Proofreading: Typography and page proofing terminology
Major Project: Author–editor sign-off
Major project due (16 and 17 October) 3, 4
Week 15 

Proofreading: Illustrations and figures
Test Revision: Proofreading
Week 16 

 Proofreading testProofreading test (30 and 31 October) 1, 2, 3, 4
Week 17Assessment Week - no classes  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Editing 1 Grammar Handbook 2011 (available from the RMIT Bookshop)
Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons, 2002
The Concise Macquarie Dictionary, 5th edn, Macquarie Library, Sydney, 2009 or The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2009


You are advised to look at the course blackboard site for ongoing updated information.

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment includes a written report, an editing project, in-class tests and an oral presentation.

Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

1. Class presentation (15%)
A 10-minute presentation on an aspect of editing, publishing, writing or the English language. Your presentation relates to a publishing context, and to you and your classmates as people who will be working as editors or writers being edited.
Class presentation plan due Semester 1, Week 3 (21 and 22 February) 
Presentation due in either Semester 1 or 2, on a date negotiated with your teacher.

2. Editing and grammar test (7.5%)
A closed-book test on spelling, tautologies, word confusions, plurals and the apostrophe.
Due date
Semester 1, Week 7 (20 and  21 March)

3. Editorial report (15%)
A 1000-word editorial report on an unpublished manuscript.
Due date
Semester 1, Week 12 (1 and  2 May)

4. Grammar and paragraphing test (20%)
A test on all grammar and paragraphing work covered in Semester 1.
Due date
Semester 1, Week 16 (29 and 30 May)

5. Punctuation test (12.5%)
An open-book test where you add punctuation to an unpunctuated paragraph and correct punctuation problems in a series of sentences, checking parallel structure and compound words as appropriate. You work with the style provided.
Due date
Semester 2, Week 7 (14 and 15 August)

6. Major editing project (20%)
You edit another student’s piece of writing submitted for a simulated anthology. To participate in the project, you submit a 1000–1200 word piece of writing according to a brief. As the editor, you complete an electronic clean up of your author’s piece and then do a hard-copy edit. You edit the piece according to the brief, the demands of the piece and market needs. A one-page reflection on the project as both editor and author details your experience and learning.
Due date
Writing – Semester 2, Week 4 (24 and  25 July)
Editing Project – Semester 2, Week 14, 16 and 17 Oct)

7. Proofreading test (10%)
An open-book test, where you proofread page proofs according to the brief and style provided. You are marked on your proofreading mark-up as well as your ability to find and correct errors.
Due date
Week 16 (30 and 31 October)

Grades used in this unit are as follows:

80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail

For further information on the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are
available through the course contact in Program Administration.

Other Information

Submission of Assessment Tasks
You are required to submit all assessment tasks in hard copy with a completed School of Media and Communication cover sheet. You are expected to keep a copy of all assignments submitted.

Late Submissions
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension before that due date.
Please refer to the course blackboard site for information on late submissions and on applying for an extension.

You will receive both spoken and written feedback on your work. Where appropriate, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Academic Integrity
Academic Integrity is about the honest presentation of your academic work. Presenting work that fails to acknowledge other people’s work within yours can compromise academic integrity. For further information on academic integrity and plagiarism, please refer to the following URL.;ID=kkc202lwe1yv

Special Consideration Policy
Please refer to the following URL for information on applying for special consideration:;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1

Course Overview: Access Course Overview