Program Details

Professional Editing

Our nine-month editing program, offered through Western's Extended Education for community members, is aimed at those who find they need editing skills in order to produce newsletters, content for Web sites, marketing materials, formal reports and similar publications for their field or business. The program will also benefit those who want to work as freelance editors, publication staff members or authors of their own print and online projects.

Participants should be familiar with learning in an academic environment, and have some writing and/or editing experience.

Formal admission to Western is not required; professional editing is a non-credit program.

Fall topics: Copy Editing
Winter topics: Editing Visual Components and Grammar for Editors
Spring topics: Advanced Editing

Fall: Copy Editing

Communications Facility 202, Western's campus (map/directions)

An introduction to the skills used in preparing written work for publication, the copy editing class involves students in hands-on exercises at several levels of editing: story flow and content, sentence-level accuracy and grammar, punctuation and correct Associated Press and Chicago styles. Students will create elements including headlines, breakouts and summaries. Class topics include working smoothly with writers, editing one’s own work, applying legal and ethical considerations and maintaining relationships with communities of readers. Guest speakers will present on career paths and trends in a range of fields.

Learning objectives:

Through print and Web page layout projects, students will gain and demonstrate competence in many areas:

  • Applying content editing, copy editing and proofreading skills
  • Recognizing and working with story shapes: news, features and summaries
  • Improving leads or story introductions; making trims, cuts and updates
  • Writing main and secondary headlines
  • Planning and writing breakouts such as fact boxes, timelines and Q&A
  • Editing for style using Associated Press and Chicago manuals
  • Correcting common grammatical problems arising from misuse of voice, agreement, tense, case and mood
  • Approaches for working with writers as well as editing one’s own work
  • Editing to avoid legal concerns involving libel and invasion of privacy
  • Gaining an understanding of editing processes in a range of professional settings
  • Demonstrating the ability to edit within deadlines and space limitations

Instructor: Sarah Wallace

Interim: Short course on InDesign

7-9 p.m., Thursdays
Nov. 6; Dec 11 & 18, 2014 (three sessions)

Communications Facility 202, Western's campus (map/directions)

This short course include three sessions of training using InDesign’s page-layout capabilities, taught in a computer lab, for students who are not familiar with the program.

Learning objectives:
Students will demonstrate competence in:

  • Using text boxes and writing headlines
  • Editing photos including placing, cropping and sizing
  • Creating style sheets and applying them to page components
  • Creating templates for a range of publications
  • Using color palettes; mixing and applying color to text and graphics
  • Importing and placing illustrations, graphics and charts
  • Exporting PDFs and files for Dreamweaver pages

Instructor: Rod Burton

Winter: Editing Visual Components

7-9 p.m., Thursdays
January 8 - March 12, 2015 (ten sessions/20 hours)
$395, plus $24 Technology Fee

Communications Facility 202, Western's campus (map/directions)

Course description:
Building on a background from the Copy Editing class, students learn principles of design, and through hands-on exercises, create layouts that incorporate visual components such as photographs, illustrations, informational graphics, typography, and full color. Lectures include guidance for storytelling in today’s multimedia environment and cover copyright considerations, as well as ethical issues involving taste, privacy and responsibility to readers.

Learning objectives:
Through page layout projects, students will gain and demonstrate competence in these areas:

  • Selecting photos and evaluating content and technical specifications for presentation in print and online;
  • Ethical considerations for photo use;
  • Understanding issues involving copyright, privacy and libel;
  • Writing text-based graphics, such as captions, fact boxes, bio boxes, subheads and timelines;
  • Creating and editing statistics-based informational graphics, such as charts;
  • Applying design principles for typography and understanding type classifications;
  • Designing a range of pages, among broadsheet, tabloid, magazine, newsletter, and Web;
  • Integrating writing, editing, and design;
  • Understanding terms and concepts for communicating effectively with artists, photographers, advertisers, and printers.

Instructor Rod Burton

Winter: Grammar for Editors

Grammar for Editors (20 hours)

Hybrid Class: Online plus five in-class sessions
7:00pm - 8:30pm, Tuesdays
Jan 13, 27, Feb 10, 24, Mar 10

WWU classroom (map/directions)

The Grammar-only students need only to have the grammar text: Webster's New World English Grammar Handbook, by Gordon Loberger, Ph.D., and Kate Shoup, 2nd edition, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Course Description:
An intensive review of common grammatical problems, this course covers how professional editors address corrections in manuscripts or articles and how they formulate advice in their working relationships with authors and writers. Individual projects let each student focus on and research specific issues of interest. The class provides an overview of useful resources, texts and grammar guides.

Learning objectives:

Students will demonstrate the ability to spot and name errors, and to clearly explain correct and preferred usages to writers, addressing these common aspects of language:

  • Using dependent and independent clauses in varying sentence formations;
  • Maintaining correct and consistent subject/verb agreement;
  • Using active voice and avoiding passive voice and dead constructions;
  • Maintaining correct and consistent pronoun/antecedent agreement and avoiding vague pronoun references;
  • Recognizing and using appropriate pronoun case;
  • Using well a range of verb tenses;
  • Punctuating correctly with periods, commas, question marks, quotation marks, hyphens, dashes, colons, semicolons, ellipses, and apostrophes;
  • Adding phrases to build complex sentences;
  • Using moods –  indicative, subjunctive and imperative – to best effect;
  • Improving clarity, conciseness, and coherence in writing and reducing wordiness;
  • Placing modifiers appropriately;
  • Improving spelling ability;
  • Enhancing style by using techniques such as parallel structure;
  • Editing for sensitivity to race, ethnicity, age, gender, and abilities.

Note: While this course is offered as part of the Professional Editing program, it can be taken as a "stand alone" workshop, independent of the nine month program for $325, plus the cost of one textbook (Webster's New World English Grammar Handbook). There are no specific pre-requisites, though the course does assume basic knowledge of a 100-level English composition course. Limited seating is available; register by Monday, Jan. 7 to secure your spot!

Instructor: Sarah Wallace

Spring: Advanced Editing

7-9 p.m., Thursdays
Classes begin April 2, 2015 (ten sessions)

Communications Facility 202, Western's campus (map/directions)

Incorporating previous work on editing text and visual elements, students will progress to substantive editing, going beyond correcting errors to envisioning a publication and working with writers to fill gaps or reshape writing. Discussions cover professional issues such as forming estimates and making bids, maintaining professional standards and developing career paths in editing. Beginning with a class project and proceeding to individual tasks, students will demonstrate the ability to take an editing project from initial copy and illustrations to finished publication.

Learning objectives:
Students will complete individual projects that demonstrate competence in:

  • Substantive or developmental editing
  • Effectively incorporating visual and verbal elements
  • Establishing effective work flow, incorporating teamwork and editing in stages
  • Estimating projects and creating bids for work
  • Developing professionally, including knowledge of professional organizations, codes of ethics and strategies for career growth and advancement

Instructor: Hilary Parker

Required Textbooks:

(Textbooks are NOT included in the registration fee)

  1. The Copyeditor’s Handbook, by Amy Einsohn, 3rd edition, University of California Press, 2011.
  2. The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, The University of Chicago Press, latest edition.
  3. The Associated Press Stylebook, the Associated Press, latest edition
  4. The Non-Designers Design Book, 3rd edition by Robin Williams: Peachpit Press, 2008

Required for Grammar for Editors class only:

  1. When Words Collide: A Media Writer’s Guide to Grammar and Style, by Lauren Kessler and Duncan McDonald, 7th edition, Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008.
    - OR-
  2. “Webster’s New World English Grammar Handbook,” by Gordon Loberger, Ph.D, and Kate Shoup. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley Publishing, Inc., latest edition.


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Page Updated 03.19.2015