Learn Plain Language with Editors Toronto This Winter

This January, Editors Toronto is launching a new online course on plain language. This comprehensive course is great for anyone who writes or edits work-related materials, including reports, proposals, forms, manuals, emails, blogs, and anything in between. The sessions will be facilitated by Michelle Waitzman, an experienced corporate writer and editor, communications consultant, and published author. The first semester is starting soon. See below for dates and registration info. 

What is plain language?

The goal of plain language is to make important information easier for the general public to understand. More than a specific style, it is a set of guidelines and principles that will help you write more clearly and effectively for your audience. 

Canadian society is made up of people from many different cultural and linguistic backgrounds and a wide variety of reading levels. It is crucial that important information is accessible to everyone, irrespective of their language competency. 

In many fields, it is commonly believed that bigger words, complicated sentence structures, and archaic language make a piece of writing seem more professional. In reality, many of these rules for writing are outdated and were never helpful. Good writing does not have to be unnecessarily complex.

Who should learn plain language?

Our course in plain language principles will be useful to anyone who wants to learn to write more effectively, at any career stage. Anyone who writes communications professionally, from emails to contracts, especially those who work in government, law, finance, and non-profit organizations, can benefit from learning plain language. Anyone who needs to write copy, manuals, blogs, or forms for a business will also find it helpful.

What will you learn?

Throughout the course’s six modules, you will learn to apply plain language principles to sentences, vocabulary, paragraph structure, and design. You will also learn how to write for your target audience and how to write strategically for diverse audiences. The modules are listed below.

Our six-week online course will require two to three hours of commitment per week. Each week, when the instructor releases the next module, you will watch a short 20-25 minute video lecture on that week’s topic and then complete a brief set of exercises. Throughout the week, you may interact with your classmates via Slack. In the weekly live session, you will meet with the class and the instructor for 30-45 minutes to discuss the homework and ask questions. All live sessions will take place via Zoom. 

Meet your instructor

Photo of Michelle Waitzman

Michelle Waitzman is a professional writer and editor based in Toronto. She specializes in writing about complex subjects in approachable, easy-to-understand ways. Author of three books and many articles and blog posts, Michelle has written about immigration, law, banking, taxes, personal finance, computer science, and more. As a member of Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) and Editors Canada, she is dedicated to helping her clients improve the quality of their content and communications. 

Course outline:

Module 1: Writing for Your Audience

Module 2: Words

Module 3: Sentences

Module 4: Paragraphs

Module 5: Structure and Design

Module 6: The Plain Language Process


January 19 — Module 1 becomes available 

January 26 — Live session 1 at 7 pm EST / Module 2 becomes available

February 2 — Live session 2 at 7 pm  EST / Module 3 becomes available 

February 9 — Live session 3 at 7 pm EST / Module 4 becomes available

February 16 — Live session 4 at 7 pm EST / Module 5 becomes available

February 23 — Live session 5 at 7 pm EST / Module 6 becomes available

March 2 — Live session 6 at 7 pm EST

Enrol by January 12, 2022. 

Enrolment cost: $300 

To enrol or ask any questions, please email [email protected]

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