Curriculum Guideline

Professional Readiness III: Business Skills and Legal and Ethical Issues

Effective Date:
Course Code
PRFU 2390
Professional Readiness III: Business Skills and Legal and Ethical Issues
Print Futures
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
3 intensive 6-hour sessions
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
18 hours per semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will be delivered by lecture, seminar, and guest speakers. In the seminar, students will be expected to share their findings, experiences, and writing.

Course Description
This course is the third of four professional readiness courses intended to help students develop a career as a professional writer. The course focuses on the primary business skills required to work in a salaried writing job and as a self-employed professional writer. It provides an overview of legal and ethical issues for writers. Students also begin preparing for their graduating semester’s Portfolio Show.
Course Content
  1. Business Skills for Writers
    Students will:
  • identify methods of work delivery
  • review and prepare proposals for writing jobs
  • review and draft writing-project contracts
  • calculate the cost of a job and prepare an invoice
  • review how to set up a writing office
  • understand basic tax requirements for self-employed professionals
  • identify the key features of a small business plan
  • Legal and Ethical Issues for Writers
    Students will:
    • learn about the kinds of liability associated with different kinds of writing
    • review the legal options available to protect writers
    • review the major elements of current copyright law
    • review censorship laws and the concept of freedom of information
    • discuss plagiarism, conflict of interest, confidentiality, and accountability
    • describe the importance of professional responsibility, including how to handle conflict
    • compare and contrast the legal and ethical issues involved in writing for different forms of media
    • write and present a case study of a current legal or ethical issue for writing professionals
  • Inventory of Writing Projects
    Students will compile an inventory of writing projects suitable for their graduating-semester writing portfolio.
  • Learning Outcomes

    Students will:

    1. identify the primary business skills required to work as a professional writer (in-house of freelance)
    2. explore current legal and ethical issues for writers (copyright, censorship, plagiarism, libel, permissions, accountability, and so on)
    3. prepare an inventory of writing projects for development into a writing portfolio in PRFU 2490: Professional Readiness IV
    Means of Assessment

    Students will demonstrate their mastery of course material through assignments and participation in discussion, group work, and a final examination.  

    Students are expected to be self-motivated and to demonstrate professionalism, which includes active participation, good attendance, punctuality, and effective collaboration, ability to meet deadlines, presentation skills, and accurate self-evaluation.

    Evaluation will be based on this general format:

    Proposal for writing job 30%
    Case study (written) 30%
    Case study (oral) 10%
    Writing-project inventory 5%
    Final exam 15%
    Professionalism (as defined) 10%
    Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

    Texts may include:

    • Harris, Lesley Ellen. Canadian Copyright Law: The Guide for Writers, Musicians, Visual Artists, Filmmakers, Publishers, Editors, Teachers, Librarians, Students, Lawyers & Business People. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Ltd., 2000.
    • James, Jack D. Starting a Successful Business in Canada. 15th edition. Vancouver: Self-Counsel Press, 1999.
    • Tammemagi, Hans. Winning Proposals: How to Write Them and Get Results. Vancouver: Self-Counsel Press, 2000.

    PRFU 1290 or permission of coordinator                               

    Which Prerequisite