Course Title: Refine editing skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2014

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

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 of five units: Style and Consistency; Publishing and Publications; Structure and Substance; Grammar and Punctuation. These self-paced modules include videos, activities, and exercises. The unit Techniques and Technologies will be a self-directed unit supported by resources provided through the Blackboard LMS. A companion booklet is supplied with each module.

The instructional modules are supported and extended with online discussion forums, quizzes and readings through the Blackboard LMS.

Students will also work collaboratively, within the class and - where relevant - with workplace colleagues, in preparing folios and projects.

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

Individual or online meetings with the teacher may be requested, if needed.

Teaching Schedule

 Week Learning focus Assessments Elements/Criteria
 0Introduction to course and online resources  
Copyediting mark-up 
Assignment #1 (style) distributed3.1, 3.2, 3.3

- Consistency in context
- discussion: prescription vs description


- Word and grammar styles 
- discussion: language change and variation

 4.1, 4.2, 4.3

- Punctuation and formatting styles
- discussion: quality vs consistency (applying style)

 4.3, 4.4

Review of Style & Consistent

Collaborating online

Introduction to Publishing and Production unit

Assignment #1 (style) due

Assignment #2 (folio) distributed

Assignment #3 (project) distributed


4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4



- planning a publishing project
- discussion: fit for purpose


1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4

- Managing a publishing project
- discussion: keeping everyone on the same page
 2.1, 2.2, 2.4
- Legal and ethical considerations
- discussion: doing the right thing

Assignment #3A (project - schedule, brief and flatplan) due


Review of Publishing & Publications

Editing online

Introduction to Structure & Substance unit

Assignment #2A (folio) due

1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4

2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

- developing documents
- discussion: how do we read?

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

   3.2. 3.3, 3.4
- strengthening sentences
- discussion: specialist language or weasel words? 
Assignment #2B (folio) due

 4.1, 4.2

Review of Structure & Substance

Proofreading hard copy

Introduction to Grammar & Punctuation 

 Assignment #3B (project - progress report) due  5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4
- finetuning sentences
- discussion: the art of communication

4.1, 4.2

- checking grammar
- discussion: your grammar tips
  4.3, 4.4
- fixing punctuation
- discussion: punctuation mark trends

Assignment #2C (folio) due

Assignment #3C (project) due week 17 (exam week)

 4.3, 4.4

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 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 to 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

You will also need access to a current Australian dictionary, either the Macquarie Dictionary or the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary

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 or organisation, including discussion and annotated examples
Due Week 5 (Friday 8 August)

- Editing folio (individual and collaborative work): 3-8 select items (c 800 words total, per unit) showing appropriate editing of initial text, and demonstrating a range of editorial challenges relevant to your workplace
Due Weeks 13, 16 (Monday 6 September, Monday 27 October)

- Publication project (group project): creating a small publication which demonstrates your range of editing skills
Due Weeks 8, 12, 17 (Monday 25 August, Monday 29 September, Monday 3 November)

Grades which apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment (graded).

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. These are available from the course contact person (stated above) and will be available on the class Blackboard when assessment tasks commence.

Other Information

Student feedback at RMIT
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 refining your skills and developing your projects.

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