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PFWR 4650: Advanced Editing and Style
Spring 2019 (CRN 21602)
Independent Study
Macon campus

Dr. Chip Rogers

Office: Arts and Sciences (COAS) 203
: (478) 471-5366
Office hours: M 11:00-1:00, Tu 11:00-3:00,
     W 4:30-5:30, Th 11:00-3:00, and by appointment


Course description

As indicated in the MGA Catalog, PFWR 4650 "develops mastery of effective writing at the paragraph and sentence levels, providing students with essential skills in editing their own writing and the writing of others for optimal clarity, efficiency, and rhetorical appeal in a variety of workplace contexts. Three credit hours."

Prerequisite: at least a "C" in ENGL 1102.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • comprehend essentials of and complete advanced exercises in grammar, mechanics, and diction;
  • edit a variety of texts of their own composition and by others;
  • compose and edit texts intended for a variety of different audiences and professional contexts.

Required Texts

bulletStyle: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, by Joseph M. Williams and Joseph Bizup, 12th edition. ISBN 978-0-13-408041-3
bulletThe Elements of Style, Strunk and White, 3rd or 4th edition, any version.
bulletAdditional readings will be distributed in photocopy or digital form as needed.

Semester grade breakdown and instruments of evaluation
 Writing exercises
 Editing exercises
 Paragraph assignments
 Editing projects

Writing exercises: primarily exercises in grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and diction, some addressing matters of style

Editing exercises: practice in editing, ranging from sentence-level exercises to global stylistic concerns with large documents (book-length, extensive website, etc.)

Paragraph assignments: composing and editing of paragraphs demonstrating nuanced appreciation of a variety of audiences

Editing projects: large-scale editing assignments with documents composed by the students and by other authors.


This course is an independent study, but we will still meet in person most weeks of the term. It is the student's responsibility to notify the professor before missing any scheduled meetings. A pattern of attendance problems may result in letter-grade penalties applied to the overall grade.

Late work: Late work is penalized one letter grade for each calendar day an assignment is late. Work turned in more than three days late will receive no higher grade than F, and I accept no work more than two weeks late.

Plagiarism: Except for assignments expressly calling for collaborative effort, all written work must be your own. Any unacknowledged borrowing from the writings of others will be considered plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. I will submit cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Student Conduct Officer. The penalty for plagiarism in this class is an "F" for the entire course, not just the assignment in question. 

Note that the Department of English's more specific definition of plagiarism is operative in this class:

1. It is plagiarism to copy another’s words directly and present them as your own without quotation marks and direct indication of whose words you are copying.  All significant phrases, clauses, and passages copied from another source require quotation marks and proper acknowledgment, down to the page number(s) of printed texts.

2. It is plagiarism to paraphrase another writer’s work by altering some words but communicating the same essential point(s) made by the original author without proper acknowledgment.  Though quotation marks are not needed with paraphrasing, you must still acknowledge the original source directly.

3. Plagiarism includes presenting someone else’s ideas or factual discoveries as your own.  If you follow another person’s general outline or approach to a topic, presenting another’s original thinking or specific conclusions as your own, you must cite the source even if your work is in your own words entirely.  When you present another’s statistics, definitions, or statements of fact in your own work, you must also cite the source.

4. Plagiarism includes allowing someone else to prepare work that you present as your own.

5. Plagiarism applies in other media besides traditional written texts, including, but not limited to, oral presentations, graphs, charts, diagrams, artwork, video and audio compositions, and other electronic media such as web pages, PowerPoint presentations, and postings to online discussions.

For more on plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link on my website.  

Withdrawal Policies: Students are encouraged to read the withdrawal policy found at http://www.mga.edu/registrar/dropadd.aspx before dropping/withdrawing from the class. Students may withdraw from the course and earn a grade of “W” up to and including the midterm date (March 6th). After midterm, students who withdraw will receive a grade of “WF.” A WF is calculated in the GPA as an “F.” Instructors may assign “W” grades for students with excessive absences (beyond the number of absences permitted by the instructor’s stated attendance policy). Students may withdraw from a maximum of five courses throughout their enrollment at Middle Georgia State. Beyond the five-course limit, withdrawals result in “F” grades. 

Addendum to the syllabus:
bulletPFWR 4650 schedule of readings and assignments