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Writing and Editing for Compliance. Carol Burton , Director of the SACS Review Western Carolina University [email protected] Brian Gastle , Associate Professor of English Western Carolina University [email protected] http://www.wcu.edu/sacs/. Overview: Form Follows Function.

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Writing and Editing for Compliance

Carol Burton, Director of the SACS Review

Western Carolina University

[email protected]

Brian Gastle, Associate Professor of English

Western Carolina University

[email protected]

http://www.wcu.edu/sacs/


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Overview:Form Follows Function

  • Focus on the Writing Issues involved in preparing SACS reports

  • Recognize that Form is not separate from Content

  • Overview of Writing Process

    • Preparing to Write Reports

    • Writing and Editing Reports

    • Final Report Preparation


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Before You Begin Composing

  • Envision a final format

    • Allows you to set a goal

    • May change as you develop product

  • Take a technology inventory

    • Will inform both print and online decisions

    • Will inform who will be working on the project (especially writers/editors)

  • What method of composition will allow you to reach that goal



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Before You Begin Composing

  • Determine who will be working on what part and when (schedule)

    • Buy-In and Input:

      • Authors

      • Editors

      • Reviewers

      • Tech/IT

    • Importance of budget, release time, and/or “count towards”


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Writing Issues

  • Style Sheet

    • Format

    • Rhetorical Strategies

  • Training Session

    • For writers and editors

    • Online vs. Print

  • Document Preparation


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Style Sheet

  • Defines Formatting and Writing (style) issues

    • Can start with a common style (MLA, APA, etc.) but should modify for these reports

  • Terms and Abbreviations

  • Make widely available

  • Organize a training session for writers and editors


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Style Sheet – Common Issues

  • Names, Titles, and Programs

  • List Item Syntax

  • Illustration Refs

  • Document Design/layout

  • Headings

  • Subordination/indentation


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Training Writers, Editors, and Reviewers

  • Conduct a brief writing workshop for writers, editors, and reviewers

    • Reviewers can provide good editorial feedback as well as content feedback

  • Discuss Style Sheet

    • This can be an “excuse” so it doesn’t look like you are trying to teach them how to write (which you are)

  • Use Style Sheet as excuse to talk about some basic rhetorical strategies


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Basic Training: Professional Rhetoric

Clear

Accurate

Concise

Accessible

(CACA!?!?)


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Active and Passive Voice

Active voice: subject does the verb; the subject performs the action expressed in the verb; the subject acts.

  • Passive voice: verb does the subject; the subject receives the action expressed in the verb; the subject is acted upon.

  • Prefer Active

    • Shorter (therefore clearer) sentences

    • Implies authority and forcefulness


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Active/Passive Examples

  • Periodic surveys of students have been conducted by the University to assess student learning.

  • The University conducts periodic surveys of students to assess student learning.

  • Al curriculum changes are approved by the faculty.

  • The faculty approve all curriculum changes.

  • Since the last review was performed by SACS, not all of the procedures required were implemented by the Provost.

  • The Provost did not implement all of the procedures SACS required during the last review


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Expletive construction

  • Expletive sentences use “filler” words that don’t add meaning

  • Makes sentences needlessly longer

  • Usually begins

    • “There is/are . . .”

    • “It is . . .”

  • Focus on the “real” subject of the sentence


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Expletive Examples

  • There are several programs designed to provide academic support to students.

  • Several programs provide academic support to students.

  • It is common for over twenty faculty to attend these training seminars.

  • Over twenty faculty commonly attend these training seminars.

  • There has been a decrease in the number of students enrolled in our training sessions

  • The number of students enrolled in our training sessions has decreased.

  • The use of in-class demonstrations has resulted in a dramatic increase in enrollment.

  • In-class demonstrations have increased enrollment dramatically.


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Nominalizations

  • Turning a verb or an adjective into a noun

  • Nominalizations increase sentence length (therefore decreasing readability)

  • Focus on the “real” verb in the sentence


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Nominalization Examples

  • Budget cuts constitute a threat to faculty development programs.

  • Budget cuts threaten faculty development programs.

  • The University conducts periodic surveys of students to assess student learning.

  • The University periodically surveys students to assess student learning.


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Other Rhetorical Issues

  • Report Length

  • Jargon

  • Brevity/conciseness

  • Online and print versions

    • Must be the same

    • Online rhetoric similar to technical documentation rhetoric

  • Importance of Formatting and Layout

    • This IS a rhetorical issue

    • Use SACS standard as a guide for sections within a report



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Document Preparation:Putting it all together

  • Making print = online

  • Preparing prefatory material

  • Final checking of print version

    • The impotence of proofreading

  • Making it look good

  • Printing issues

importance


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Thank You

Brian Gastle

Associate Professor, English

Western Carolina University

[email protected]

Carol Burton

Director of the SACS Review

Western Carolina University

[email protected]

http://www.wcu.edu/sacs/


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