In January, I set myself a number of goals for the year, one of which was to go on a couple of proofreading and editing courses to hone my skills and put me in a position to offer these services in a professional capacity.
I am pleased to report that the first of these courses is now complete, bringing me one step closer to that particular goal.
The course itself was through the College of Media and Publishing, which is an online college based in the UK offering remote learning courses to anyone with an internet connection. They offer courses in proofreading, copywriting, journalism, marketing, and writing. My course was Proofreading and Editing. Here’s how I got on.
Why I chose the College of Media and Publishing
When I was looking around at the various proofreading and editing courses on offer, I wanted to make sure that whatever I chose to do would provide a qualification that was widely recognised and respected. This is exactly what you get with the College of Media and Publishing. The Accreditation section of their website gives a full list of the certification bodies that oversee their courses.
Add to that the attractive content of their courses, and it looked like I was on to a winner with them.
The course itself was broken down into 10 lessons covering the basics of proofreading and copy editing (with the emphasis being on general/non-fiction editing), and very helpfully explained the difference between the two.
If you are familiar with the publishing industry (either through fiction publishing or another outlet), you will know that the lines between proofreading and copy editing can become very blurred. Indeed, there is a lot of crossover between the two, and to make matters worse, many publishing houses and other companies have their own way of defining the two.
The course therefore emphasised the importance of setting expectations with clients over what they need you to do for them as the proofreader/copy editor. This is something that I had not fully appreciated the importance of before signing up for the course.
It also introduced me to the Guardian Style Guide. For those of you not familiar with UK newspapers, The Guardian is a well-respected broadsheet newspaper that has been in circulation nationwide for a very long time. It has set a standard for how it presents various pieces of information (such as how to format dates and times within their articles). This style guide has been made available online for anyone to use, and it is often referred to as an industry standard in the UK to help with consistency in articles and other pieces of writing set for publication.
I can’t say I was 100% comfortable with the Style Guide itself. Coming from a fiction-writing background, which is much more fluid in its approach to these kinds of rules, it took a little getting used to, but again it was part of the process of learning to be consistent in how certain things are formatted.
Each lesson ended with some form of assessment that had to be passed before you could access the content for the next lesson. The assessments were either a short piece of writing that needed to be proofread or edited, taking into consideration what had been covered in that particular lesson, or an online assessment that took the form of a multiple-choice quiz.
The quizzes were marked instantly and gave you the opportunity to retake them if you failed the first time around.
The proofreading/editing exercises were marked by a tutor, who then gave feedback with the marks. I found the feedback from my tutor to be extremely helpful and encouraging. He made sure to tell me where I had gone wrong and how to improve for the next assignment.
How long it took
I started the course on 21st January and completed my last assignment on 23rd February – just over one month later. This was entirely my own choice, as the College gives access to its course material for one year following registration.
The course is designed to run at a pace which suits you, which means that you won’t be chased by your tutor for your next piece of work. If you don’t have time to look at the next lesson for a few days (or longer), that’s fine. Having access to the material for the full year means that you can come back to it whenever suits you.
The Follow Up
This is where I think the College of Media and Publishing will prove to be extremely useful. As soon as I completed the last assignment, I was provided with information and tips on how to go about putting what I had learned into practice, including how and where to look for clients. I can also still access all of the course material for the rest of the year, have full access to my login area on their website, and can contact my tutor or the college if I have any relevant queries that they could assist with.
As mentioned above, the courses provided by CMP are widely recognised for their high quality and are certified and endorsed by ABC and Certa Awards. As I have now completed the course, I will be entitled to use CMP’s charter mark on my CV and on this website, confirming that standard of my training.
The full price of the course was £494.50; however, I managed to sign up during the January Sale discount and had 40% off the overall cost.
This may seem a lot, but given the assured quality of the course and qualification offered, plus the access given to a personal tutor, and the ongoing access to resources after completion of the course, I would say it is well worth the price tag.
For more information about the College of Media and Publishing and the courses they offer, visit their website at https://collegeofmediaandpublishing.co.uk/