Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to R9K107


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module runs only in English. This module is highly recommended to non-native speakers of English and also native speakers of English are recommended to consider the module if they intend to carry out editing, revision, copyediting, or related editorial task. The module provides the students with a grounding and training in using systematic approaches to assessing the quality of a long piece of writing (minimum 5000) and to act with appropriate approaches. The module will introduce principles of post-editing, revision, editing, copy-editing, proof-reading methods intended to enhance the quality of written documents.
  • The module intends to equip students who will be working in various context as copyeditors, editors, post-editors, proof-readers, revisers for professional publishing of texts in English for dissemination to a general or specialised readership and who will exercise a function of quality control over texts that might have been manipulated by controlled language systems, automatically generated, or combined from texts of different writers.


  • The module provides intensive practice in advanced editorial skills (used both in the context of translational activities and creative writing) that focus on macrotextual features such as style, cohesion, and coherence of the text, and micro-textual features such punctuation, spelling, layout, and formatting.
  • Through abundant examples, the module will provide experience in proof-reading techniques and postediting practices.The course introduces proof-reading and post-editing techniques and where appropriate the proof-reading symbols and how to use them.
  • The skills of revising and proof-reading consist of spotting, marking, and prioritizing which errors to address in the given time and rest on the development of effective techniques of revision.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the processes involved in harmonizing a document produced in English by highly competenent non-native speakers.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the processes involved in respecting strict formatting and layout guidelines.
  • Students will acquire an understanding of the methods and processes in editing and proof-reading large documents
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire the ability:
  • to identify a weak argument;
  • to identify issues in communication and coherence;
  • to spot errors;
  • to mark errors;
  • to address stylistic slips;
  • to enhance stylistic sloppiness;
  • to improve readibility;
  • to ensure that the meaning of a text is fully conveyed;
  • to deal with interferences in texts combined from multiple authors of different linguistic backgrounds;
  • to master the post-editing of computer-controlled, or generated texts in English.
Key Skills:
  • the use of advanced features of word processing software;
  • the ability to assess quality in written English;
  • the ability to evaluate achievements;
  • the ability to work independently;
  • the ability to present written work of publishable standards.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is taught in the form of seminars in Michaelmas and Epiphany terms. The students are introduced to copy-editing, content-editing and proof-reading techniques and issues in Michaelmas term. In Epiphany term the students will focus on developing an awareness of issues which affect the communicative efficiency of a text, taking into account its socio-cultural and specialist context.
  • The course is taught for one hour per week over the two terms so as to allow the students to develop their skills and awareness of key issues gradually prior to being assessed.
  • The module is assessed by a 500-word initial commentary on a text (which is 500-2,000 words long) of the student's choice; this is followed by a 2,500-word essay on editorial issues.
  • Both assessments are to be submitted in Easter Term.
  • The students need to obtain pre-approval from the course tutor of the text they have found for commentary.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 18 weekly 1 hour 18
Student Preparation and Background Reading 72
General background Reading 50
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Commentary 500 100% yes
Component: Essay on Editorial Issues Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay on Editorial Issues 3,000 100% yes

Formative Assessment:

Seminars allow tutors to provide oral feedback at every session. oral feedback develops the students strategies for revision and proof-reading.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University