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PFWR 4650: Advanced Editing and Style
Summer 2020 (CRN 50896)
Fully online

Dr. Chip Rogers

Office: Arts and Sciences (COAS) 219
: (478) 471-5739
Virtual office hours: 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."

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 distributed in 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.


Participation: This course operates much as an independent study, though we will have brief online video meetings most weeks, either as a class or in one-on-one sessions with the instructor. It is the student's responsibility to notify the professor before missing any scheduled meetings. A pattern of participation or attendance problems may result in letter-grade penalties applied to the overall semester 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 https://www.mga.edu/registrar/registration/drop-add.php 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 (June 30th). 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. 

Class Behavior Expectations and Consequences for Violations: Middle Georgia State University students are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by the MGA Student Code of Conduct. The students’ Code of Conduct, Responsibilities, Procedures, and Rights are found at https://www.mga.edu/student-affairs/docs/MGA_Student_Handbook.pdf#page=47.
University Policy: Students are responsible for reading, understanding, and adhering to all Middle Georgia State University student policies, including those linked on the Syllabus Policy page.

MGA Policy on Disability Accommodations: Students seeking ADA accommodations must contact Middle Georgia State University Office of Disability Services in Macon at (478) 471-2985 or in Cochran at (478) 934-3023. See https://www.mga.edu/accessibility-services/

Plagiarism Prevention Tool Notification:
A plagiarism prevention service is used in evaluation of written work submitted for this course. As directed by the instructor, students are expected to submit or have their assignments submitted through the service in order to meet requirements for this course. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

End of Course Evaluations:
Student evaluations of faculty are administered online at the end of each term/session for all courses with five or more students. Students will receive an email containing a link to a survey for each course in which they are enrolled. All responses are anonymous.

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