Copy Editing

Copy editing makes a good publication better. A copy editor can improve any document by eliminating errors, addressing grammar problems, and ensuring consistent style. This course is for people who want to develop the skills that professional copy editors need.

Topics include assessing your copy editing aptitude, using editing marks, watching for mistakes in spelling and punctuation, striving for accuracy, preparing style sheets, and electronic copy editing. You’ll have the opportunity to complete assignments based on non-fiction book excerpts, journal articles, newsletters, and other print material.

The final examination for this course is due two weeks after the course ends (20 days after the last date listed in the schedule).

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Kara Toews $555.00 18 Register
Online - Judy Phillips $555.00 25 Register
Online - Jessie Johnston $555.00 24 Register
Online - - TBD $555.00 25 Register
Online - - TBD $555.00 25 Register
Online - - TBD $555.00 25 Register

Instructional hours: 15

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the stages in the editorial process, including the place and responsibilities of the copy editor
  • Estimate how long it will take to copy edit a document
  • Copy edit a simple document
  • Identify and correct common errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, usage, mechanics, style and content
  • Use editing symbols to mark copy and explain why they are important
  • Develop and follow editorial style and query sheets, and explain why they are important
  • Use the Microsoft Word track changes function to edit onscreen

How will I learn?

Prepare to spend six to 10 hours per week on coursework, including:

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Readings
  • Online discussions
  • Practical exercises

Course materials will be available 24/7, and assignment deadlines will be posted well in advance, allowing you to set your own pace for learning.

How will I be evaluated?

Your grade will be based on the following:

  • Participation in discussions
  • Quizzes
  • Assignment
  • Final examination

Final examination is due two weeks after the course ends.

Textbooks and learning materials

Recommended text:

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed, (or later): 2010. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226104201

Once you begin the course you'll be sent SFU library access information for this text. Alternatively, you may wish to download a 30-day free trial of the online version of Chicago Manual of Style

We will provide all other course materials online.

Hardware and software requirements

  • A printer to print the practice exercises and exam
  • A scanner to scan the completed exam for uploading to the online course site
  • Microsoft Word (2010 or newer) and being comfortable with Track Changes function

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See About Online Learning for helpful videos and additional information.

English language requirements

To succeed in this course, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score minimum 6.5
  • No band below 6.0
  • Writing band score minimum 8.0

Please note we can’t refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.

If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.

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