Week Five Guidance Editing our writing in a College Level Writing Class

Overview of week

Most of week five will focus on the final editing and proofreading of your personal essay. You will also respond to two discussion questions. The first discussion question has two options to choose from, reflecting on the peer review process or identifying the differences in personal and academic writing. The second discussion question involves a study of the editing check list, an analysis of the feedback you have received over the five weeks, and a discussion of proofreading strategies. All of these activities are integrally related to your final revision process as you prepare your personal essay for submission (see “Proofread” video, 9.4, Essentials of College Writing). It’s an exciting week as you apply what you have learned about editing and proofreading to your final essay. Finish up the course by viewing the quick video below, “Researching, Reading, and Writing” to review some of the concepts we have focused on this session and to prepare yourself for English 122, your next English course.


“As you edit your draft, make sure your sentences are structured according to the conventions of academic writing. . . . Following the conventions of Standard Edited English will mark you as an educated, careful writer.”

Hult & Huckin, The New Century Handbook

In the previous four weeks, we have been reading, generating ideas, drafting, reviewing and revising. Now, it is time for editing and proofreading. Essentials of College Writing, Section 9.3, further explains editing while Section 9.4 addresses proofreading, so be sure to revisit these sections as you polish your essay like a smooth semi-precious gem. When writers come to the stage of editing, they often want say, “it is done,” and let it go. And, understandably so as the writer’s patience may have run run out and stamina may be low. It seems there could be little else to do, but that attitude can sabotage the writer and devalue all that has come before the editing stage. The key to a finely polished essay is editing and proofreading.

In Week Four, we made a distinction between global and sentence level revising. Now, sentence level revising—editing—begins. Hone sentences for correctness, clarity, and effectiveness. Now would be a good time to review the videos on grammar and punctuation that are provided throughout the five weeks of Instructor Guidances. These videos will give you a visual and audio complement to your recommended resources on grammar and usage found throughout the course. In Week One, you will find a video on parts of speech. In Week Two, you will find one on punctuation and more on the basic parts of speech. Week Four and Five videos can further improve your skills on writing essentials. Review the grammar, punctuation, and writing skills, and apply what you have learned. In this stage of your writing, your final editing and proofreading, you may also want to review your feedback on quizzes, appropriate feedback from peers, and instructor feedback.

And as you struggle with your final editing and proofreading, remember the words of Samuel Johnson: “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

Overview of Assignments:

Discussion 1: Your choice

For this discussion post, please choose from the following two options. Responses to classmates are not required this week.

Option 1: Reflection on the Peer Review Process. Upon reviewing the feedback that you received in Week 3 during the peer review process, as well as the feedback from your instructor and your classmates throughout the course, address the following questions in your post:

  •  Describe the main areas of your paper that you need to work on, as well as areas that your reviewers felt you did well on.
  •  How will/did you remedy any areas of weakness in your paper?
  • Did your reviewer feel you did a solid job addressing your purpose in the personal essay?
  •  Did you effectively reach your audience? Why or why not?

Option 2: Primary and Secondary Sources. Based upon your experience writing the APA journals and working on your personal essay, address the following questions in your post:

  •  What are the key differences between academic writing and personal essay writing?
  • How is writing from sources different from writing about one’s own personal experience?
  •  What advice would you give to future students so that they may be successful in writing their APA journals?
  • What advice would you give to future students so that they may be successful in writing their personal essays?

Discussion 2: Editing Checklist

  •  Attach a copy of your editing checklist.
  •  Describe the two proofreading strategies that you used.
  •  Explain which strategy you prefer and why.
  • Explain what the benefits and drawbacks are for each strategy.

Assignment: Personal Essay

On the last day of class, your polished Personal Essay is due. The complete instructions for the final Personal Essay can be found in Week Five of your online course.


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