Technical Editing


Online; Spring '13-14

Lawrence Souder, Ph.D.

Voice: 215-895-2730

Classroom: online

Office Hours: via Skype by appointment

Office: #47, Room 323

E-mail: LS39 @

Description: Editors have a challenging job because their work can invoke in their writers a wide range of feelings: from indifference to resentment. For this reason editors must understand not just the process of correcting and revising the written word, but also the politics and psychology of working with writers and clients. Through studying the current state of the art of editing, examining case studies of professional editorial settings, and conversing directly with practicing editors, students in this course will explore within the field of editing such topics as:

This course articulates with the content and goals of other courses in the Department of Culture and Communication, specificially COM 510 (Technical Communication), 520 (Science Communication), and COM 875 (Ethics for Science and Technical Communication).

Objectives: If you successfully complete this course, you will be able to:

Text: Carolyn D. Rude, Technical Editing, 5th Edition, Longman, 2011, ISBN-13: 978-0-20578671-8.

Grading:  This course will proceed as a seminar. As such, it will require you to take an active role in presenting and discussing ideas in class. No midterm or final exams will be given. Your final grade will be computed on the basis of the following components:

Assignments: Each week in this course will require you to prepare a reading and a writing assignment. Most readings are chapters from the textbook. Click on the chapter designators in the Reading Due column of the Assignment Schedule for study guide questions to help you focus on their key terms and concepts.

Most writing assignments are opportunities to apply the perspectives and principles explicated in the textbook to your own projects. Click on the items in the Writing Due column of the Assignment Schedule for specific details. Because the emphasis in this course is on professional editing, you will be expected to be sensitive to the importance of deadlines. For this reason, late assignments will be penalized one letter grade increment for each class day late.

Academic Honesty: It is assumed that the work you submit for this course, whether written or spoken, is your own. Any attempt to represent someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Plagiarism includes copying another student's work on papers or tests, copying without attribution the ideas or words from published sources, submitting papers written in previous semesters, and referring to notes during exams. For more clarification on plagiarism, see Drexel's Student Handbook. Such academic misconduct will result in a failing grade for the assignment, a probable failing grade for the course, and a report to the Dean for possible disciplinary action. Be advised that internet services such as EVE 2.3 and make the detection of plagiarism easy.

Assignment Schedule

Week Topic Reading* Writing
1 The context of editing 1 [in-class sample]
2 Readers and Users; Client projects 2; 24 Client Project - Phase 1
3 Writers and Editors; Legal and ethical issues 3; 21  
4 Comprehensive editing 1 17; 14 Client Project - Phase 2
5 Comprehensive editing 2 15; 16  
6 Editing tools and methods 4; 5; 6 Client Project - Phase 3
7 Copyediting 1 7; 8; 9  
8 Copyediting 2 10; 11 Client Project - Phase 4
9 Proofreading 13  
10     Client Project - Phase 5

*Numbers refer to chapters in Rude's Technical Editing, 5th edition.