Course Title: Write non-fiction

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2020

Course Code: COMM7306

Course Title: Write non-fiction

School: 375T Vocational Design and Social Context

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5314 - Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing

Course Contact: Penny Johnson

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925-4815

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Sarah Vincent

Nominal Hours: 50

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 is designed to develop the skills and knowledge required to write non-fiction copy for different audiences in a range of contexts, including popular media. You will learn about the process of copywriting from generating concepts through to planning and refining your writing. 

This is the designated Work Integrated Learning (WIL) course for C5314 Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. This course includes a WIL experience in which your knowledge and skills will be applied and assessed in a real or simulated workplace context and where feedback from industry and/or community is integral to your experience.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20276 Write non-fiction


1. Develop a concept suitable for a work of non-fiction

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Concept is explored with regard to purpose, desired outcome and understanding of the market

1.2 Possible constraints are identified and examined to determine feasibility of concept

1.3 Audience is determined and potential markets are researched.

1.4 Discussion of concept is initiated with industry colleagues and specialists in the field, and feedback is sought

1.5 Proposal for development of non-fiction work is developed.


2. Clarify project requirements

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Research requirements for the work of non-fiction are identified

2.2 Developmental stages for the work are formulated.

2.3 A timeline for the completion of the work is agreed with commissioning agents or editors if applicable.

2.4 Social, ethical and environmental impacts of the approaches/concepts are considered

2.5 Potential copyright issues are considered and explored 2.5 Resource requirements to complete project are identified


3. Plan writing

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Format of work is decided on after research and experimentation and in consultation with relevant personnel

3.1 Structure of the work is determined

3.2 Outline of the work is developed

3.3 Style and tone appropriate to the audience are considered


4. Develop draft

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Non-fiction narrative is developed with consideration given to the nature and format of the project

4.2 Concept is re-evaluated and refined as necessary

4.3 Draft is reviewed and evaluated against purpose and desired outcome

4.4 Additional requirements or modifications are made in consultation with relevant personnel.

4.5 Amendments are made to writings as required

4.6 Draft is checked using appropriate editing techniques.

Learning Outcomes

You will be able to develop works of non-fiction in different formats from concept to written draft.

Details of Learning Activities

In this course you learn through the following:

1. In-class activities:
• lectorials
• exercises and activities
• group discussion
• writing workshops
• industry speakers
2. Out-of-class activities:
• independent study 
• online and other research
• independent tasks writing to a brief

Teaching Schedule

 Note: While all course content in this schedule will be covered, the weekly order may change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.



Topics & Activities Assessment
1 10 February

Lecture 1: Introduction to Copywriting

Class activity: Travel writing exercise.

2 17 February

Lecture 2: Audience & the art of persuasion

Class activities:
Identifying and articulating features, benefits and the USP.
Work on travel press advertisement (Ass. 1).

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)
3 24 February

Lecture 3: Structuring copy & writing headlines

Class activities:
Distilling and structuring copy.
Work on travel press advertisement 
Start work on a new folio piece ( for Ass 3)

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)


4 2 March

Lecture 4: The language of copywriting

Class activities:
Point of view exercise
Workshop travel press advertisment.
Work on folio piece

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)

Submit: Asst 1 (travel press ad) Sunday 8 March 

5 9 March

Lecture 5: Approaches to advertising & taking a brief

Class activities:
Taking a brief and brainstorming concepts
Work on folio piece

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)


6 16 March

Lecture 6: Flyers, postcards & brochures

Class activities:
Plan & draft a brochure/flyer/postcard
Work on new folio piece
1:1 Catch up to review Ass 1

7 23 March

Lecture 7: Direct mail & email marketing

Class activities:
Plan & draft a DM piece
Workshop folio draft
Folio development activity

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)
8 30 March

Lecture 8: Newsletters

Class activities:
Newsletter planning
Workshop folio pieces

Present relevant Reference File example (Ass 2)
9 13 April

Lecture 9: News stories and profiles 

Class activities:
News story and profile activity
Workshop folio pieces

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)
10 20 April

Lecture 10: Bios, taglines & mission statements

Class activities:

Bio and profile writing


In class: Sign off reference files (Asst 2) 

In Class: Sign off reference files (Asst 2)
11 27 April

Workshopping & polishing folio pieces.

Q&A: Any topics not covered

In class: Review folio progress (Asst 3)

12 4 May

 Lecture 11 (online prior to class): Presenting to clients

Class: Present a piece from your folio (copywriter/client roleplaying).

This is the final class for this course.

Submit Asst 3 (Folio) Due Sunday 17 May (Week 13)


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts



Resources are available via Canvas

Other Resources

The University Library has extensive resources and provides subject specialist expertise, research advice, help with referencing and support through:
The learning Lab
The Study Support Hub
English for uni workshops

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:

  • analysis of media format and context
  • presentation of concepts and draft copy
  • examples of final concepts and copy

Assessment Tasks

Students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training qualifications are assessed for Competency. To be assessed as Competent means you have consistently demonstrated the required knowledge and skills at a standard expected in the workplace. To be assessed as competent in this course you will need to complete each assessment task to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback from the teacher at the conclusion of each assessment task.
You should refer to the assessment brief which is available through Canvas for full assessment criteria.  

Assessment 1 – Structured copywriting exercise (Due Week 3, 8 March)
Through a series of class-based activities, you will explore the fundamentals of writing persuasive copy to a brief for a specific audience and action.

Assessment 2 –  Resource bank (Due Weeks 2–10, 12 February – 16 April)
Collect a minimum of 8–10 pieces of diverse copy for a resource bank (or 'swipe file'), and assess against a series of questions. Prepare to discuss at least 5 of these pieces in an in-class discussion.

Assessment 3 – Copywriting folio (Due Week 13, 17 May)
Submit a folio of at least 3 drafted pieces of diverse copy.

  Results that apply to courses that are delivered and assessed in accordance with competency based assessments are: CA - Competency Achieved
NYC - Not Yet Competent
DNS - Did not Submit Assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. These matrices are available through Program Administration.

Other Information

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.

Information about your studies:
You can access My Studies through the RMIT website for information about timetables, important dates, assessment dates, results and progress, Canvas etc.

Information on assessment including Special consideration, Adjustments to assessment, (eg. applying for an extension of time):

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.  

Please speak to your teacher if you wish to discuss applying for Credit Transfer or RPL for the unit(s) of competency addressed in this course.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview