Course Title: Produce Writings - Non-Fiction

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: COMM5436

Course Title: Produce Writings - Non-Fiction

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 Email:mctafe@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Ms Fiona Scott-Norman
 
Email: fiona.scott-norman@rmit.edu.au

 

Teacher: Mr Matt Holden

Email: matt.holden@rmit.edu.au

Nominal Hours: 105

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

The competency Produce Writings –Non-fiction VBP552 is delivered and assessed in conjunction with  the following competencies:
CUVCOR03A: Develop, refine and communicate concept for own work
CUVCOR11A: Source information on history and theory and apply to own work
CUSRAD01A: collect and organise information
 

Course Description

This course aims to give you the skills and confidence to embark upon a career as a freelance print journalist, and to prepare for a career as a non-fiction writer. It will help you to cultivate a professional approach and a critical awareness of appropriate language, style, and word length for a range of publications and audiences by:

- analysing a range of journalistic and other non-fiction material from various publications
- writing and workshopping in class
- researching and writing ‘publishable’ articles/chapters for assessment
- discussing contemporary issues in the media and publishing
- emphasising the importance of grammatical, well-constructed sentences and paragraphs
- developing competence and confidence in planning, drafting, re-drafting, editing and pitching articles and non-fiction work                         


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP552 Produce Writings - Non-Fiction

Element:

1. Analyse the purpose of the writing task 

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The purpose of the work is confirmed with relevant parties
1.2 The form, media and technique most appropriate to the purpose of the writing task is selected
1.3 The stylistic and cultural context of the writing task is proposed to meet the writing objective
 

Element:

2. Investigate the scope of the writing task

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The level and scope of the writing task is analysed to determine the length and style of the work
2.2 The level of research required to fulfil the agreed outcome to the required style and standard is analysed
2.3 The resources necessary to retrieve or generate the relevant information is determined
2.4 The type and level of information required to suit the context of the writing task is planned
 

Element:

3. Plan the writing task

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The writing task is planned to reflect the media, scope, structure and content of the work
3.2 Ideas are organised and developed into an ordered sequence
3.3 All resources required to deliver the writing task are organised
3.4 A timeline for the completion of the writing task that reflects the critical milestones is determined
 

Element:

4. Create the writing task

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Components of the information required and the form in which the writing will be developed, constructed and presented is resolved
4.2 The intention of the writing task and the characteristics of the audience are reflected in the writing
4.3 Appropriate processes and research are utilised to retrieve the necessary information
4.4 The particular characteristics of the media are analysed to inform the writing in a way that is appropriate for the purpose of the writing
4.5 Relevant information sources are employed to generate and inform the writing task
4.5 Common literary devices and the metaphoric function of language are integrated into the writing task
4.6 Writing task is produced in accordance with writing goals
 

Element:

5. Realise the writing task

Performance Criteria:

5.1 The writing task is appropriate for the media, the context of the brief and the style of the subject matter
5.2 The language in which the writing task is written is suitable for the intended audience
5.3 The writing task is proofed and edited to the standard required for presentation
5.4 A draft is presented, if required, to the client to confirm that the work is acceptable
5.5 Work is adjusted as required and presented in the agreed manner and timefram
 


Learning Outcomes


 On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to plan, draft, edit and pitch a variety of non-fiction for a range of publications.


Details of Learning Activities

In this course you learn through -

In-class activities:
• lectures
• industry speakers
• teacher directed group activities/projects
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• class exercises to review discussions/lectures
• reading of excerpts of writings and set texts to provide examples of writing elements
• workshopping of students’ own projects
• analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice

Out-of-class activities:
• independent project based work
• writing and reading assignments
• online and other research
• independent study


Teaching Schedule

Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.
 

Week
Class ContentAssignments dueCompetency & Elements

Week 1


 

Defining the relationship beteen fiction and nonfiction  – .
What do you read? What are your influences?
 VBP552 - Analyse purpose of writing task
CUSRAD01A- Collect relevant information
CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
Week 2
 
Literary nonfiction in the twentieth century  VBP552 - Investigate scope of writing task
CUSRAD01A- Collect relevant information
CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
 Week 3

 
 Contemporary nonfiction publishing: what’s out there? who’s publishing it?
 
  VBP552 –Investigate scope of writing task
CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
CUVCOR03A – Develop & communicate concept
Week 4

 
 Choosing which voice: tone, style, language, impersonation
 
  VBP552 – Plan and create writing task
CUSRAD01A- Collect information
CUVCOR11A - Apply information on history and theory
 
Week 5
 
 Were do ideas come from?Assessment 1 due  VBP552 -Realise writing task
CUSRAD01A – Organise information
CUVCOR011A – Apply information on history and theory
 
 Week 6

 
Researching your ideas  VBP552 –Investigate the scope of writing task
CUVCOR01A – Communicate and refine concept
CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
 Week 7

 
The history of the essay 

CUVCOR011A – Apply information on history and theory
VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task

 Mid-semester break -  April 1 to April 4 (inclusive)  
 Week 8

 
The personal essay
 
  VBP552 –Investigate the scope & plan writing task
CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
 Week 9
 
Other essay sub-genres: cultural criticism, essays about place, etc.
 

 
 VBP552 Create writing task
CUVCOR03A – Communicate concept
 Week 10
 
 
What editors want? (Guest lecturer)
 
Assessment 2 due
 
 VBP552 - Create and realise writing task
CUSRAD01A – Collect & organise information
VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
 
 Week 11

 
Ethics and legalities in nonfiction writing
 
 CUSRAD01A – Access and organise the information
CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
CUVCOR03A – Refine concept
 Week 12

 
Interview techniques  VBP552 – Plan and create writing task
CUVCOR11A – Source and collect information on history and theory
 Week 13

 
What makes a good profile? Finding and choosing talent 
CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
 Week 14

 
 Researching and conducting interviews VBP552 - Create & realise writing task
CUSRAD03A – Communicate & refine concept
VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task

 
 Week 15

 
 Writing up profiles

 
Assessment 3 due VBP552 – nvestigate scope of writing task
CUVCOR01A – Develop concept
CUVCOR11A – Source and collect information on history and theory
 Week 16

 
Guest lecturer  VBP552 – Plan writing task
 CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
 Semester Break - June 10 to July 6 (inclusive)  
  Semester 2  
 Week 1

 
Freelance journalism – what can you sell, what editors look for; different types articles 
  VBP552 – nvestigate scope of writing task
CUVCOR03A – Develop and communicate concept
 Week 2

 
 Finding your ‘angle’
Understanding the function of precedes and headlines.

 
 VBP552 - Plan, create and realise  writing task
CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
CUSRAD01A - Collect, assess and organise information
VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
 Week 3

 
 Essential information and ordering in news journalism  VBP552 - Plan & create writing task
CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
 Week 4

 

 Writing personal/reflective articles.

Making the personal relevant - it’s not all about you!
Looking at purpose, audience, content and structure.
 

 CUVCOR11A – Source & collect information on history and theory
CUSRAD01A - Communicate information
 Week 5

 Writing the regular personal column

Discussion of assignment 2 specs.
Getting the reader on side. Looking at personal columns and how writers build a readership.
 

 VBP552 –Plan  writing task
CUVCOR03A – Refine and communicate concept
VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
 Week 6 Looking at opinion pieces; Ethos, logos and pathos – examination of persuasive techniques, brainstorming arguments  
CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory

 
 Week 7 Writing a book or film review: analysis of examples, discussion around style, length, function, markets and getting started  CUSRAD01A - Collect & assess information
VBP552 - Investigate scope of writing task
 
Week 8Workshopping pieces written for Assignment 2  Writing Seasonal/How-To/Formula informative articles  VBP552 - Analyse purpose of writing task
VBP552 – Plan & create writing task
 Week 9 Looking at examples of pitches and commissions; write pitch for Assignment 2   VBP552 - Analyse purpose of writing task
VBP552 – Plan & create writing task
 Week 10 Writing to be read aloud - opportunities, techniques and pitfalls  CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
 Week 11 Discussion of assignment 3 specs. Brainstorming ideas; refining ideas; how might they look on the page?  CUVCOR11A - Apply information on history and theory
 September 23 to July 4 (inclusive)  
 Week 12Finding, researching and focusing your story. Markets for publication.  
CUVCOR03A – Communicate &refine concept
 Week 13

 Developing a beat

Workshop feature article assignment
 

  CUSRAD01A - Organise & communicate information
CUVCOR03A – Communicate concept
 
 Week 14 Questions, discussion and exercises around the application of media ethics.  
CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
 Week 15 When writing the article is not quite enough  VBP552 – Create and realise the writing task
CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
 Week 16Review and discussion around future opportunities  CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Prescribed material will be provided by the teacher.


References

Hart, Jack, 2011 Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction, University of Chicago Press Mark Kramer and Wendy Call (eds), 2007, Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide, Plume (Penguin)
Power Prose: Writing Skills for the Media Age. Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books, 2004.

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


Other Resources

You require access to a computer and to the internet for this course.

Newspapers, weekly supplements, literary journals and magazines in print and online


Overview of Assessment


Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your writing tasks.


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.

Semester 1
Assessment 1: Nonfiction book research paper (20%)
Choose and read a nonfiction book and write a report on it that examines intent, genre, antecedents, critical responses, market and audience.
Word length: 1000 words
Due: To be submitted in class on week beginning March 11


Assessment 2: Personal essay (35%)
Write a personal essay for a specific audience and market.
Word length: 1200 words
Due: To be submitted in class on week beginning April 22


Assessment 3: Profile (45%)
Write a profile for a specific audience and market.
Word length: 1500 words
Due: To be submitted in class on week beginning May 27


Semester 2
Assessment Task 1: 500 word news story (20%)

Write a 500-word news story using the pyramid technique. Using the same technique, re-write the finished story in 150 words. Both stories to be submitted in class on week beginning July 29


Assessment Task 2: 800 word article (35%)
Choose one of the following and write an 800 word article using the requisite conventions. Article to be submitted in class on week beginning September 2.
•Personal/reflective article
•Review
•Opinion piece


Assessment Task 3: 1200 feature article(45%)
Write a 1200 word feature informative article. Feature article to be submitted in class on week beginning October 28.


Detailed briefs for each assignment will be provided to you in class and on blackboard, including industry-specific criteria such as: clarity and appropriateness of angle, clear audience targeting, etc. Your participation in the drafting and class workshopping process will be considered in assessment of assignments.



Assessment tasks in this unit are graded.
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.


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 criteria used for grading, 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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview