All writers need a flawless editing and proofreading system – and that’s where online editing courses come in.
As health and medical writers, we research and translate scientific information into succinct, impactful, easy-to-read communication for our readers.
Editing can be a time-consuming part of the writing process. Your medical edit must capture everything from effective subheadings to perfect bullet points. And while readability tools help you correct your text, you still need the skills.
Luckily, there’s a wealth of information available to help us improve our editing skills. Here are a few top online editing courses and resources for you to add to your writing toolkits. And remember that, as well as courses, practicing daily writing exercises is an excellent way to develop your skills.
Online editing courses in Australasia
Health Writer Hub’s Principles of Health & Medical Editing course will teach you how to conduct a high-quality health & medical edit. Through this course, you’ll learn effective strategies for ensuring you’ve captured the best practices of effective health communication.
Australian Writers’ Centre offers a range of useful resources and courses on all things writing, including the courses Grammar and Punctuation and Editing Essentials, which are one-day courses based in Sydney.
If you prefer online courses or are located outside of Sydney, AWC also offers Plain English Business Writing which gives you 12 months of access so you can upskill when it suits your schedule. Modules in this course also include editing to increase readability as well as steps and processes for more efficient editing.
Australian Online Courses offer a range of flexible e-learning courses for professional development. Courses specific to writing and editing include the Certificate of Editing and Proofreading as well as the Certificate of Professional Writing and Editing. Australian Online Courses also have a dedicated resources section with blogs covering a range of industry topics.
NZ Writers College offers more than 35 specialist writing courses specifically aimed at students based in Australia and New Zealand. Writing courses that have a specific editing focus include:
- Grammar for writers – a six-month online course, with the ability to learn at your own pace and covers off the following useful editing topics across four modules: clarification and streamlining of your writing, grammar rules and correction of incorrect grammar as well as gaining confidence with your writing.
- Copy-editing and proofreading – a five-month practical course that focuses on a range of writing genres including non-fiction, academic writing and proofreading dissertations and theses using the APA style of guidelines.
- Mastering punctuation – a two-month online course covering three modules, including understanding the basic rules of punctuation, exercises focusing on using punctuation in non-fiction and fiction contexts, and punctuation of lists and letters.
The American Medical Writers Association offers a range of essential skills courses which provide you with an AMWA Essential Skills certificate after completion of eight of the topics (within 2 years). These courses are offered as both in-person participation in workshops, as well as remote, self-study options.
Topics relevant to improving medical editing skills include:
- Sentence structure and patterns
- Punctuation for clarity and style
- Basic grammar and usage for biomedical communicators.
Editing topics that are offered as an in-person workshop only include:
- Effective paragraphing
- Establishing style
- Outlining for writers and editors.
AMWA also offer additional online courses aimed at professional upskilling in the industry. Courses specific to improving editing skills include:
- Check, correct and improve, be your own best editor
- Ten characteristics of effective tables and graphs
- Macro and micro: taking editing all the way from measurement to meaning
UC San Diego Extension offers continuing education programmes and online editing courses in a number of subject areas. All courses are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Those topics relevant to editing include:
- Introduction to Medical Writing and Editing – an online course that offers the basics of scientific writing and editing processes, scientific publications and the IMRAD format, a review of essential grammar, reference styles and more.
- Medical Writing and Editing II – this course builds on Introduction to Medical Writing and Editing, introducing more complex materials including: best formats to use, manuscript preparation and submission, editing of numbers, numerals, and units of measurement.
- Grammar Lab – a 10-week online editing course that tests your grammar knowledge with weekly questionnaires and feedback. This course requires a strong level of English proficiency and helps you to develop skills including speech, phrases, verb tenses.
Online editing courses in the UK and Europe
The European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) provides continuing education, support and networking opportunities for medical writers and communicators throughout Europe.
EMWA has an informative resources page with a focus on resources for regulatory medical writing, medical communications, publications, and software. Some resources include articles on editing such as The Secrets of Microsoft Word and Taming Microsoft Word.
EMWA also has a list of webinars, with an upcoming webinar related to editing in March 2019 – Checking consistency: An introduction to PerfectIT
UK Writers College (a branch of the NZ Writers College, mentioned above) have similar writing and editing courses as the NZ Writers College, but with a focus on those who are based in the UK and Europe. Editing courses include:
- Better Writing Skills – a practical online editing course consisting of six modules over a six month time period. Some of the course topics include: how to reduce unnecessary wordiness, creating effective paragraphs, keeping verb tense consistent, the creation of strong, logical flow, and much more.
- Grammar for Writers – an online course which covers four modules, including active vs passive voice, managing modifiers, sentence structure, parallel structure, and more. The course can be completed at your own pace, but usually takes between four and six months to complete.
- Mastering Punctuation – a two-month online course that focuses on the key elements of punctuation, including the correct use of commas, semi-colon and colons, quotation marks, and more.
UK Writers College also has a dedicated blog section, with some useful blogs specific to improving your editing skills such as 20 Essential Editing Tips and First Impressions Count.
The Society for Editors and Proof-readers (SFEP) offers courses and resources are specifically tailored to those who are professional editors and proof-readers in the industry. The society offers a range of editing-based courses for professional development, including:
- Brush Up Your Grammar – a four-month editing course aimed at those wanting to refresh their basic grammar and encourages critical thinking of sentence structure.
- Editing Digital Content – a course aimed at editors, but it would also be useful for those writers wishing to develop their online editing skills. The course covers the following modules over five months: what is digital content, how is digital content different to print content, and proofreading digital content.
- Editing with Word – a five-month online editing course aimed at understanding how to use Word to edit. Topics covered in this course include macros, styles, and templates as well as useful editing tips within Word and guest topics on PerfectIT and The Editorium.
- Medical Editing – a five-month online course aimed to introduce the concept of medical editing. Topics covered include resources and style guides, common issues in medical editing, editing medical figures and tables, and more.
Have you found any other useful online editing courses or resources?