Best Practices for Course Editing TRU-OL Curriculum Materials
[for checklists: Let's set it up so that we can expand each item in the list to link to a subpage with the same title as that link] The following summarizes current best practices in curriculum editing focuses on a collaborative project management approach. As this is from my perspective, I invite you to add to these ideas as you see fit so that we can reach a concensus on our editorial best practices. This summary assumes that we are working on both new and revised courses. Editorial best practices include conducting a pre-edit, testing the course in the learning management system (currently Blackboard Learn), and making final fixes, as needed.
Conduct a Pre-Edit
Conducting a pre-edit entails understanding the purpose and scope of the project, verifying with the CA (Curriculum Assistant), setting up and referring to a style sheet, compiling all course materials and backing them up, and documenting all the pre-edit work in JIRA. Before starting to edit a course, confirm with Editing Coordinator (Brian):
- Issue (course) has been entered in JIRA[link] and assigned to you
- Confirm any info that might impact the editing process
- Check the Course Maintenance Proposal (CMP) to confirm the stakeholders, time lines, and the scope of work
- Look at the current materials
- Gather all resources needed to complete the edit
1. Understand the Purpose and Scope:
Confirm the purpose, scope, and process details with the instructional designer (ID), course lead, subject matter expert (SME), or course writer, and/or (for revisions) refer to the Course Maintenance Proposal. Consider the following:
- Purpose and scope of edit: Use the CMP; consider any tasks NOT listed and determine which might be needed and which might be considered scope creep. Normally, the course lead or instructional designer decides the scope of editing required; however, the editor must inform them if the course has substantive or design problems that require more work. The scope may change as editing proceeds and may differ from information captured in the Course Maintenance Proposal (CMP) or JIRA.
- Decide how to handle duplicate edits (for a standard web (SW) and print (PT) course, for example) (D-L, does this "duplicate edits" mean editing for different modalities?)
- Determine how to handle URLs: best practice is as weblinks with author/originator stated, title of resource in bold font, URL provided, instructions to Production
- How to handle works cited, bibliography, or lists of resources (provide short lists in module or unit and references list at end of course)
- Whether to and where to provide a resources page
- Layout in the web (for example, if the Course Schedule will have a separate page or be included in the Course Guide)
- Confirm with the SME or ID what citation style is to be used (generally, either APA or MLA)
2. Verify with the CA (Curriculum Assistant):
Check with the CA to verify the following:
- Details of the textbook(s) (name, author, edition); companion website; and other resources
- Editor's access to the resources (get the textbook)
3. Use a Style Sheet:
Sometimes, a previous editor or (rarely) a writer or instructional designer has set up an editorial style sheet, indicating, amongst other things, preferred spelling and punctuation. Best practices are for the style sheet to stay with the development-side of the course materials so that it can be referred to by other team members when working on the course materials.
- Either set up a new style sheet or get one from the previous editor
- To set up a style sheet, check the existing course files in Blackboard Learn[link], in print, or check the Word files. Note the editorial style choices already made for the course.
4. Compile Course Materials:
- Save all original files with their original names
- Save all original files renamed according to File Naming Conventions[link] in a folder
- Ensure all files mentioned in the CMP and in the course materials are included in the course folder
- In the renamed files, accept all changes (if any remain) but keep any comments by previous reviewer
5. Back Up All Materials:
- Use a folder under O: Open Learning Share> Curriculum Services> editing [check] and back these up each day
6. Document the Pre-Edit Work in JIRA:
- Enter any relevant comments regarding previous edit and scope of the current one
- Log preliminary work
Edit the Course
Editing involves a review or close scrutiny of the course or work. The editor checks for clarity, organization, consistency, structure, content, and appropriateness for the reader or end user in language and style.
Editors are primarily concerned with meeting the needs of the students or other end users. They prepare the course through corrections and organizational or other modifications to meet the TRU-OL academic and legal standards.
Editing may include the following:
- Preventing errors of fact
- Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics of style
- Checking for consistency of presentation
- Marking heading levels and formatting
- Identifying and reporting copyright and legal issues
- Highlighting any unusual design and production requirements
- Querying errors or inconsistencies
- Re-writing to make the text clearer or more appropriate for the readers and educational purpose
- Researching source materials and style guides
- Fact checking to confirm the accuracy of facts and quotes
- Formatting to meet production requirements
- Problem solving, reporting, formatting, coordinating, querying writers or SMEs
- Identifying and reporting problems to various stakeholders, and suggesting solutions
- Coordinating various parts into proper required relations to ensure harmony
Print or Web publishing normally involves at least 2 levels of editing:
Copy editing ensures correct spelling, grammar, formatting, and matters of house style (link to TRU-OL style sheet?). Copy editing enhances the consistency and accuracy of the course, which aids the readability and educational benefit for the students and educators.
Substantive editing concentrates on the content and structure of a course. The substantive editor is concerned with the suitability of the text for the readers. Substantive editors consider the appropriateness of course materials on many levels, which may include the clarity of the writing and organization, academic tone, gender neutrality (non-sexist language), cultural and ethnic diversity, and so on.
Create and Use a Style Sheet
A style sheet is a document (normally a Word file) that records the editorial choices, university guidelines (standards?), and academic style requirements for a specific course. The style sheet is a valuable tool that facilitates consistency within a course, expands our editorial memory, and documents the many editorial and style decisions concerning, for example, non-dictionary words, proper names, units of measure, etc.
The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.) clarifies:
- "To ensure consistency, for each manuscript the editor must keep an alphabetical list of words or terms to be capitalized, italicized, hyphenated, spelled, or otherwise treated in any way unique to the manuscript. ... Special punctuation, unusual diacritics, and other items should also be notes on the style sheet."
- Create, use and expand on the style sheet [link to example]
How to Document and Track Your Work
JIRA is software we use for tracking issues and for effective project management.
- Log your work in JIRA as you edit the course.
- If there are two methods of delivery (MODs), log the relevant work under each one in the Time Tracking field.
- Enter comments for top-level information (from which an editing memo can be made) on the main page. Enter comments for granular information under the log work page.
- If needed, use JIRA to document editorial comments about the course. Comments could include: progress made in the course, outstanding issues, suggestions for future revision, and/or queries to stakeholders.
- Note: The comments you write in JIRA can be read by all editing team members, but other stakeholders can not see them or respond to them.
- Estimate percentage of work done.
Email edited Course Guide to the appropriate CA:
- CA Business: CA1@tru.ca[link]
- CA Arts: CA2@tru.ca[link]
- CA Health: CA3@tru.ca[link]
Use Generic [use other word?] Email Addresses
Some OL teams do work on campus or work with several other teams so they might have generic sites. Rather than email a particular person in the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), for example, we use the IPO's generic email address. Generic email addresses:
* Copyright: Copyright@tru.ca[link] * CA Business: CA1@tru.ca[link] * CA Arts: CA2@tru.ca[link] * CA Health: CA3@tru.ca[link] * Media Services : firstname.lastname@example.org [verify][link] * Course Lead (Naomi) and Project Manager (Andrea C): CurriculumServices@tru.ca[link] * Exams (Jennifer C): CSexams@tru.ca