Course Title: Refine editing skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2013

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

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Stephanie Holt


Sarah Hunt

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 Broadcharacteristics of the readership and the publication are clarified
1.2 Length, structure and focus are evaluated against the requirements of the intended readership and the publication
1.3 Quality of writing is assesed 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 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 help 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 required


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 internal 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

Learning activities:

- lectures and demonstrations
- exercises
- class readings and discussion
- group activities
- ongoing project work (individual and group)

Teaching Schedule

 Week Stream 1 Stream 2 Elements/Criteria
technical knowledge – grammar, style, punctuation, language, structure
publishing and editing - technology, techniques, processes
(and start on style)
 Hard-copy proofing mark-up 1.1-1.4
 2 Style
- exploring editing’s threshold concept
- spelling and word variation
- developing and imposing consistent style (tools, techniques, resources)
 Planning a published communication
- online and/or off
- appropriate form and structure
- thinking visually: words/images


 3 Style
- standard elements of a house style
- Key style specifics (capitalisation of job/organisational terms, caps/quotes/italics for titles)
 Planning a published communication
- parts of a publication to include
- appropriate styles


 4 Style
- Key formats in house style
(lists, referencing, numbers)
 Online editing
- advanced editing with Word
 5 Structural editing
- overall assessment and revision of draft text
- identification of legal issues arising
 Online editing
- paragraph styling with Word
- track changes and comments


 6 Structural editing
- improving paragraphs and paragraphing
 Online editing
- PDF markup and editing


 7 Structural editing
- improving sentence structures (incl modifier problems)
 Online editing
- Google docs and other collaboration tools


 8 Structural editing
- key structural editing specifics (heading hierarchies, paragraph styles, graphs & tables, handling illustrations)
 Working online and collaboratively
- framing feedback
- multiauthor publications
 9 Grammar
- technical fundamentals (including key terminology, basic sentence structures)
 Working online and collaboratively
- working with content management systems
- collaborative editing
 10 Grammar
- finetuning practical grammar (possessives, irregular verbs, modifier problems)
 Managing a publication
- publishing in-house
- outsourcing/custom publishing


 11 Grammar
- fine-tuning practical grammar (verb/noun/pronoun agreement, subjective/objective pronouns)
 Managing a publication
- publication stages
- publishing roles
- locating/briefing freelancers


 12 Grammar
- punctuation review
 Managing a publication
- workflow & scheduling
- monitoring and managing progress


 13 Legal issues
- copyright
- rights and permissions
 Managing a publication
- fact checking content
- practical strategies for dealing with masses of material


 14 Legal issues
- open-source content
- intellectual property
- accessability
 Proofreading ready for publication
- techniques and focus
 The politics of editing in the workplace
- feedback
- interaction
- workplace hierarchies
- approval/compliance




15 Proofreading ready for publication
- project work

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.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software. You will also have access of the library resources.

Recommended texts:-

Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 6th Edition, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, 2002 

Flann E. & Hill B., The Australian Editing Handbook, 2nd Edition,  John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, 2003

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

detailed specifications will be provided when appropriate

- Style assignment (individual project): a report on house style in your workplace or in a given publication, including discussion and annotated examples
Due Week 5

- Editing folio (individual and collaborative work): 4 select items showing appropriate editing of initial text, and demonstrating a range of editorial challenges relevant to your workplace
Due Week 12

- Publication project (group project): creating a small publication which demonstrates your range of editing skills
Due Week 15 

Grades which apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment (not graded).

CA Competency Achieved
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. These are available from the course contact person (stated above).

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Feedback - You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.
Student feedback at RMIT

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Student progress policy

Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension. Special consideration, appeals and discipline

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.

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 go to Academic Integrity

Work Placement:

It is a requirement of this program that all students participate in authentic work related tasks. These may be either simulated or in a real work environment. On occasion, we are approached by industry and given opportunities for students to apply for short term placements. When these placement opportunities arise, students are required to negotiate the specific details with the relevant program coordinator or teacher. All industry placements require students, RMIT staff and host organisations to sign a written agreement prior to the commencement of the placement.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview