English 5000

Technical Editing

Schedule | Course Description | Course Objectives | Required Texts | Assignments | Final Grade | Class Behavior | Turning In Assignments |
Class Attendance | Punctuality | Make-Up Work | Academic Honesty | Special Needs | Site Index

Course Schedule Fall 2009 (Subject to change)

  = class will be held in a computer classroom. Please check schedule for room number.
  = major assignment due.
Date Topic Class Plan Class preparation/Assignment due Point Value
August 18

Course Overview

Tom Wujec on 3 ways the brain creates meaning.



August 20 Editing Overview/ Copymarking Discuss 1& 4 Ch. 1, "Discussion & Application" (D&A) 2
Ch. 4, D&A 1, 3, 4, 5
August 25 Copymarking /
People and

Discuss 2 & 4

Ch. 2, D&A 2 (about 50 words of analysis)
Ch. 4, D&A 2 (I know we did this as a group in class, but please complete this individually)
August 27 Copymarking Discuss Van Buren & Buehler's "Levels of Edit"
Read Van Buren & Buehler's "Levels of Edit"  
September 1 Collaborating with writers/ Basic
Discuss 3 & 7

Ch. 3, D&A 4
Ch. 7, D&A 1, 5


September 3 Copyediting for


Meet in room HC 3143.

To be completed in class:Compare journal style guides to Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Make sure to bring your CMS. Write a brief memo detailing your findings and submit it through Blackboard.

Ch. 8, D&A 2  
September 8

Copyediting for

Meet in room 3130

In class assignment.

September 10 Spelling,
& abbreviations

Ch. 9, D&A 4, 6

revision 4.1

September 15 Grammar

Discuss spelling homework

Discuss subject, verb, and complement

Begin Grammar/Usage Diagnostic, time permitting

Ch. 10, D&A 6  
September 17 Grammar

Discuss Modifiers

Diagnostic continued

Spelling homework (given out in class)  
September 22 Grammar

Discuss Pronouns





September 24 Usage




September 29 Review  


Diagnostic Memo due



October 1 MIDTERM EXAM     10
October 6 Usage/Punctuation

Discuss "Linguistic lightning: The power of the right word"

Discuss usage & idiom

Consider usage examples


Word usage in-class excercise


Bring a dictionary to class!

Additional Reading "Linguistic lightning: The power of the right word"

October 8 Punctuation

Finish usage in-class project

Discuss parallelism, plurals/possessives, and internal punctuation

Discuss extra-credit assignment

Ch. 11, D&A 6, 7, 8 (from Tuesday)

Ch. 11, D&A 9


October 13



Proofreading discussion and practice: Editing v.s Proofing

Discuss Homework

Editing another's work: Edit a colleague's paper

Bring in a paper you are working on for another class, even if it is a paper you have "finished." You must bring in a paper in order to participate in the next three classes.

Ch. 13, D&A 5

revision 9.1

October 15 Proofreading

Proofread a colleague's paper against dead copy from previous class period.

Go over homework.

Extra credit Presentations

Address the edits made by your colleague. Bring both papers (dead copy and current copy) to class.

Ch. 13, D&A 6

October 20 Proofreading/technical material

Extra credit Presentations

Finish and discuss copyediting vs. proofreading excercise

Technical Material Overview


To Submit (and discuss in class): Edited copy of paper, proofed copy/copies of paper, 1 page memo discussing the editing/proofreading process from the perspective of both an editor (1/2 page) and a writer (1/2 page).


October 22 Technical

Extra credit Presentations


Bring your CMS to class

CMS, Ch. 13

October 27 Technical

Extra credit Presentations

Tables continued

Discuss homework

Meet in 3130

Style Guide

Ch. 12, D&A 1-4


October 29 Electronic

Extra credit Presentations

Using Track Changes in MS Word

Meet in 3130

Read Ch. 6


November 3 Electronic

Extra credit Presentations

Introduction to Styles

Page Layout

Meet in 3130

Ch. 5 - Write a 50-word
summary of what you learned.
November 5 Comprehensive

Extra credit Presentations

Meet in 3130

Comprehensive editing

Read Ch. 14, D&A 1: Make a list of your proposed emendations and bring the list to class.


November 10 Comprehensive
editing/logical fallacies

Extra credit Presentations

Discuss awareness of argument and logical fallacies

Fallacies 1

Fallacies 2

13.1 revision 13
November 12 Style

Extra credit Presentations

Discuss style and accomodation of information

Review homework

Ch. 15, D&A 2, 3, 4  
November 17 Style

Extra credit Presentations

Discuss Ch. 16 & Homework

The Doublespeak Awards

in-class editing

Bring in a paper you are working on for another class, even if it is a paper you have "finished." You must bring in a paper in order to participate in the next two classes.

Ch. 16 D&A 1, 2, 4


November 19 Organization

Extra credit Presentations

Discuss Assignment 18.1

Organization Excercise

in-class editing


Ch. 17, D&A 5

Make the changes to your paper as indicated by your classmates. Bring a corrected copy to class, in addition to the dead copy.

December 1 Organization /
Visual design

Extra credit Presentations

Visual Design Excercise

Ch. 18, D&A 3 (Write about 150


December 3 Review/ Fill out
  Submit a full 1 page memo discussing the process of editing and proofing your papers. Focus this memo on a discussion of stylistic considerations: what did you notice while editing? What did you need to address in your own work? 3
December 11

Final Exam


Meet in room 3116 revision 18.1

10 (final)

13 (18.1)


Schedule | Course Description | Course Objectives | Required Texts | Assignments | Final Grade | Class Behavior | Turning In Assignments |
Class Attendance | Punctuality | Make-Up Work | Academic Honesty | Special Needs | Site Index | Back to Top

Course Description

This course will familiarize you with principles and practical applications of copymarking, copyediting, and comprehensive editing. We will work with professional writing from technology, business, science, as well as texts intended for academic publication. We will work with both print and online documents inside and outside of class.

Course Objectives and Expected Outcomes

English 5000 students should leave the course with an understanding of the following:

  • The role(s) of editors in the document creation and production process––i.e., various ways that writers view editors, and that editors view their own role; points at which editing can occur; value added by editors
  • Interpersonal strategies for working with subject-matter experts and with other members of a document creation/production team
  • The concept of “levels of edit” and of differences among proofreading, copymarking, copyediting, and comprehensive editing
  • Conventions of copymarking and copyediting (e.g., standard proofreading symbols) for types of texts commonly encountered in technical, scientific, and business writing, including texts with equations, technical abbreviations, figures, tables, and citations
  • Standard tools (e.g., Track Changes in Word and Advanced Editing in Adobe Acrobat) used for electronic and online collaboration, editing, and manuscript preparation
  • Common issues and problems in usage, syntax, and organization such as wordiness, faulty parallelism, lack of cohesion, inconsistent use of headings, and so on
  • Conventions and nuances of punctuation in standard edited written English
  • Standard reference works (e.g., Chicago Manual of Style) that editors rely on, and how those works vary
  • The concept of “house style” and the process of creating a style sheet
  • Legal and ethical issues that arise during the editing process

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Required Texts and Materials for English 5000

  • Access to MS Word (2003 or 2007) and Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Rude, Carolyn D. Technical Editing, 4/e. New York: Pearson, 2006.
  • Chicago Manual of Style, 15/e. Chicago, IL: U of Chicago Press, 2003.
  • Access to the companion website.
  • Access to a laser printer.
  • Access to an email program for sending and receiving Word and PDF attachments.
  • A red pen and pencil
  • A purple pen

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Weekly preparation for class discussion and practice usually involves completing Discussion & Application (D&A) questions at the ends of the chapters. The D&A ask you to edit short texts or respond to a scenario. Weekly preparation for class also includes handouts that provide practice in English grammar, usage, style, and punctuation.

The primary assignments (4.1, 9.1, 13.1, 18.1 from Rude’s Technical Editing website) ask you to edit various documents using different levels of edit. You find these assignments on the textbook’s website and follow the directions at the beginning of each assignment.
The style guide assignment asks you to find answers to questions that you might encounter while editing.

English 5000 includes a midterm exam and a final exam that will test you on editing concepts and terminology, copymarking and proofing marks, usage, and style (e.g., enhancing readability by editing out nominalizations and passive voice).

Assignment Points

1. Weekly preparation for class discussion and practice. Preparation usually means completing the assigned Discussion & Application (D&A) questions at the ends of the chapters and, on occasion, handouts for editing practice.

You need to show the preparation assignments to me at the beginning of class, i.e., you must be in class with the rest of us to get credit for doing the assignment. If you miss class, you will not receive credit for the assignment.

NOTE: I expect everyone to come to every class. I particularly expect graduate students not to miss any classes.


(0.5 x 14) = 7

2. Assignment drafts, revisions, related material: 4.1, 9.1, 13.1, 18.1 63
3. Style Guide Scavenger Hunt 10
4. Midterm Exam 10
5. Final Exam 10
Total 100

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Assignment Percentages and Final Grade

Letter Grade


C 70-79
F below 60

In instances where a grade is on a borderline, I may take the frequency and quality of class participation into consideration. Successful participation involves doing the reading, preparing the D&A and other assignments for the beginning of class, and engaging productively in small group and class discussions.

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Class Behavior

We should treat each other with courtesy. Toward this end, I ask that you refrain from the following behaviors during class:

  • allowing your cell phone to ring
  • answering or making calls
  • checking emailsurfing the web
  • pursuing off-topic conversations during class or small group discussions
  • doing homework during class time

We are all responsible for conducting ourselves in a courteous and respectful manner. In the case of behavior that persistently disturbs, interrupts, or impedes teaching and learning (including but not limited to repeatedly refusing al to comply with reasonable instructor directions, employing language or gestures that are insulting, verbal, psychological, or physical threats, harassment, and physical violence), I will begin steps outlined in the Auburn University Policy on Classroom Behavior, as outlined in the Tiger Cub.

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Turning in Assignments

Hard copies of all assignments are due at the beginning of class unless I say otherwise. I will deduct points amounting to one-third of a letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F) from your assignment grade for each day (including Saturday and Sunday) the assignment is late. That is, I will grade your assignment, assess its letter grade from its numerical score, then deduct one-third of a letter grade’s worth of points for each day it is late.

Class Attendance

I expect everyone to come to every class. I particularly expect graduate students not to miss any classes.

If you accumulate three unexcused absences, you will receive a grade of FA (failure due to absences). For an absence to be excused you must provide legitimate, written documentation either ahead of time or on the first day that you return to class. Examples of legitimate documentation include the following: a doctor’s note in the event of illness, a death notice in the event of the death of an immediate family member, or AU documentation for school or athletic trips. If you will be absent for an extended period of tie (more than one week), please notify me as soon as possible so that we may discuss your options.

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If you are more than five minutes late for class and have no legitimate excuse, you are tardy; three “tardies” equals one unexcused absence. If you are fifteen minutes late and have no legitimate excuse, you will be counted absent from class. NOTE: “The Tiger Transit was late” is not a legitimate excuse for tardiness or absence.

Make-Up Work

If you miss class, you must obtain information and materials from that class. If your absence is excused, any work from the missed class will be due the first day that you return to class. If you do not turn your make-up work the first day that you return to class (and I have not given you an extension on the assignment’s due date), I will not accept your work. If your absence is unexcused, you must turn in your work the day the work is due. You can place the hard copy of your assignment in my mailbox in Haley Center 9030 (before the office closes).

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Academic Honesty

All work should be your own. Also, of you summarize or quote from an article, book, or website, you must cite that source according to the Chicago Manual of Style. If I suspect and subsequently prove either plagiarism or cheating, I will initiate proceedings described in the Tiger Cub.

Special Needs

Auburn University makes reasonable accommodations for people with documented disabilities. I will adapt methods, materials, or testing for equitable participation. During the first week of class, set up a meeting with me. Bring the Accommodation Memo and Instructor Verification Form to the meeting and discuss what you need for equitable participation in this class. If you do not have an Accommodation Memo but need special accommodations, make an appointment with the Program for Students with Disabilities (Haley Center 1244; 334-844-2096; psd@auburn.edu or haynemd@auburn.edu). All communication between a student, the Program for Students with Disabilities, and his or her professor is confidential.

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