Like all writers, scholars depend upon words used as precisely as possible. In contemporary academic English, “thesis” and “dissertation” are almost interchangeable, and in this book I’ll use them that way merely to provide some variety. A thesis can, of course, be a master’s thesis or an undergraduate thesis, but a dissertation is always written for a doctoral degree. The dictionary’s succinct definition of a dissertation omits any mention of a proposition to be defended, and length seems to be the dissertation’s principal characteristic. A thesis might be very brief indeed. Martin Luther came up with ninety-five of them, and crammed them all onto a document correctly sized for a church door. For modern-day academics, a dissertation is expected to contain a thesis, that is, this lengthy exposition of evidence and analysis is supposed to contain a core argument. It might be said that the thesis inhabits and animates the dissertation. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems, at least to publishers, that the thesis—the heart of the dissertation—has stopped ticking. Argument gone, all that is left is length.
This hands-on module equips students with both the key theory and the core practical skills needed to effectively manage content from raw material to finished print and digital presentation. Working in teams students will carry out essential editorial and production tasks to produce a live published product. This group publication project enables students to collaborate to demonstrate the team work skills required for timely delivery, and to develop a thorough understanding of work flow and the associated processes. It also allows students to show how material gets turned into a market appropriate product ready for stakeholder approval and launch. The module as a whole enables students to illustrate how value gets added within the publishing supply chain, and appreciate the content management systems and metadata vital in today's publishing environment.
By working on in-class exercises and assignment projects students will acquire and apply the key skills necessary to operate within a professional publishing context. Students will engage with project management, budgeting and costing, briefing, the different types of editing, design and layout, proofreading, and delivery. This module enhances employability by allowing students to use industry standard tools and packages, such as HTML, InDesign and Photoshop, and to improve understanding of basic typographic and design principles, the application of typesetting/mark-up skills, and production of publication ready files. Practising these hands-on skills will enhance students' understanding of how attention to detail can improve a product, make it the best it can be, and ensure it is presented profitably to its intended market.