Course Title: Write non-fiction

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2018

Course Code: COMM7306

Course Title: Write non-fiction

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 Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Michelle Deans

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 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 are 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: the schedule below may change depending on teacher and guest speaker availability.


Week starting

Topics & Activities Assessment
1 5 February

Lecture 1 (in class): Introduction to Copywriting

Class activity: Travel writing exercise.

2 12 February

Lecture 2 (online): Audience & the art of persuasion

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

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)
3 19 February

Lecture 3 (online): Structuring copy & writing headlines

In class:
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 26 February

Lecture 4 (online): The language of copywriting

In class:
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 4 March

5 5 March

Lecture 5 (online): Writing advertising copy

In class:
Taking a brief and brainstorming ideas
Brief & draft activity

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)


6 12 March

No class (Labour Day holiday)

7 19 March

Lecture 6 (online): Flyers, postcards & brochures

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

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)
8 26 March

Lecture 7 (online): Direct mail & email marketing

In class:
Plan & draft a DM piece
Workshop folio draft
Folio development activity

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)
  2 April

Mid-semester break (30 March – 7 April)

9 9 April

Lecture 8 (online): Newsletters, profiles and news stories

In class:
Newstory activity
Folio development activity

Present relevant Reference File example (Ass 2)
10 16 April

Lecture 9 (online): Bios, taglines & mission statements

In class:
Activity - writing a full, brief and micro bio
Workshop folio piece
Folio development activity

Present relevant Reference File example (Asst 2)
Cut off for Asts 2. Monday 16 April
11 23 April

One-on-one catch ups by appointment to sign off reference files (Asst 2) and review folio progress (Asst 3)

No class (work on folios)

12 30 April

Lecture 10 (online): Presenting to clients

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

Submit Asst 3 (Folio) Due Sunday 6 May


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Any prescribed reading material is provided in class


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

Other Resources

You require access to a computer and the internet for this course. Other materials will be provided in class. 

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

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete all of  the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive written feedback on all assessments (refer to Blackboard for assessment criteria).
Assessment 1 – Structured copywriting exercise (Due Week 4, 4 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 12, 6 May)
Submit a folio of at least 3 drafted pieces of diverse copy.

Once you have demonstrated competency, your final assessment will be graded (refer to Blackboard for grading rubric).

Graded assessment in this course uses the following grades:

CHD – Competent with High Distinction
CDI – Competent with Distinction
CC – Competent with Credit
CAG – Competency Achieved – Graded
NYC – Not Yet Competent
DNS – Did Not Submit for Assessment

Grading criteria for this assessment can be found on the course Blackboard site.

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. The assessment matrix for this course can be found on Canvas or from your teacher.

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters.

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.

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

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy designed to assist you in achieving your learning potential.

Adjustments to Assessment (eg. applying for an extension of time):
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment satisfactorily by the due date, you can choose to apply for an adjustment to your assessment. RMIT University offers a range of adjustments designed to support you in your studies, including an extension of time to complete the assessment.

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.

Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) RCC applies only if you have previously successfully demonstrated competence in a unit of competency, and now require to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.

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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview