DH Café Workshop Series

The DH Café series for Spring and Summer 2018 begins this month! The DH Café presents a series of short introductory workshops and informal discussions on topics relevant to the basic theories and methods behind digital research in the humanities. This semester, our theme is, “How Do You Put the Digital in a Humanities Project,” which will introduce you to the questions you need to consider and the challenges you might face when developing a DH project.

The first workshop will be held on January 24, with a workshop entitled Collecting, Organizing, and Describing Archival Research at 1:30–3:30 in the Wosk Seminar Room (W.A.C. Bennett Library 7100). If you are interested in attending, please register here.

You can also submit a project proposal to work with the Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). The deadline is February 1 and you can find more information on the Work with the DHIL page.

Exploring Active Learning in the MPub Program

In the Master of Publishing program, it has always been the goal to be both current and relevant—both within the publishing industry and in how students are taught. And education is changing.

As guest lecturer Keiron Simons said at the start of the second semester, “School is supposed to be about social connection and personal empowerment.”

And so, while students can still expect to write multiple research papers, lead lectures, and complete extensive group projects, they can also expect class to run a little differently than traditional lectures as instructors experiment with active learning methods.

Active learning is a way of teaching wherein students take responsibility for their learning. They work together to explore, explain, and exchange ideas. They research what interests them. They all participate, because equality is built into lessons to make classrooms safe, engaging spaces.

In PUB 802: Technology & Evolving Forms of Publishing, we were asked to come to class having read the syllabus. We were asked to give serious thought to what we wanted the course to be about, and about what we wanted to learn.

After some discussion in our first class, our professor left for 20 minutes and instructed us to continue the discussion without him about what we wanted to learn. We were also supposed to decide who was going to be responsible for leading each class. It was up to us to mobilize ourselves. Even though we are well-educated adults, it was still difficult at first to break free of deeply ingrained institutional norms and embrace the autonomy we had been given. And guess what? We managed just fine.

Now in my other life, I work for a school board. We are big advocates of active learning, and I write about our innovative successes on a regular basis. But to be on the other side of it so completely was an eye-opening experience. By being given autonomy over our education, our class felt empowered and listened to. We knew that we mattered, and that our instructor truly cared that we got as much out of our education as possible.

It was a win for him as well, because he knew that by using active learning methods we would be more engaged in his lessons and encouraged by the knowledge that dialogue would flow in both directions. If a kindergarten teacher comes away from a similar teaching experience telling me how she learned alongside and from her students, I have no doubt that a university instructor will have similar things to say. In active learning, we all come away from the lesson with greater knowledge and understanding.

Of course, active learning goes beyond letting students have a say in what they are learning. It can be about creating a safe space for all students to speak, such as by using the annotation plugin hypothes.is to allow students to take notes on online articles as they are reading, or having them write out feedback (One Minute Essays) on cue cards at the end of each class. Or is can be about working with them as the Magazine Project evolves into the more relevant Media Project, and giving them the flexibility to design an agile media entity that will evolve throughout the semester. All of these are real examples of things taking place right now.

It’s a different way of learning for sure, but that’s a good thing. We are more than competent, and after this semester, we will be more confident too.

Making your MPub application stand out

If you are considering applying to the Master of Publishing (MPub) program at SFU (and you should), then you have probably come across the Admissions to the MPub Program webpage which details everything you need to include in your application. Admission to the MPub program is highly competitive, and so in this post we’ll share some tips on how you can take your application from good to great.

Statement of Aims and Objectives.
This is perhaps the most intimidating step of the application process, especially if you are uncertain about what you want to do with your degree when you are finished. No matter where you are in your career, you should highlight why you want to apply to the program and what you will bring to it. Also, what brought you here? How does the MPub program fit into your career path? What have you already done, both professionally and academically? What areas of publishing are you interested in? This is the area where you can showcase your passions and personality.

Prerequisite Knowledge
What courses did you take in your undergraduate degree? Get syllabuses from past marketing, accounting, publishing, and Adobe CS courses and to highlight what you have previously learned. Note that the while you should have a basic background in these areas, if you don’t have the exact courses or their equivalents there are other ways to meet the prerequisites before the course begins. You can describe your professional experience in these areas, and just like in a job interview you should expand on your answers with examples of different times you have used different skills and what the result was.

Contact people well in advance of the application deadline, and make sure you provide them with background information on the program as well as your future goals so they are able to tailor their answers accordingly. While three references are required, contact a few extra people in case the first people you approach are unavailable. You can also include reference letters in your portfolio.

The portfolio should be a clear demonstration of the skills and abilities you will bring to the Master of Publishing program. Many applicants submit a cover sheet listing the contents of the portfolio and noting how they created or contributed to the creation of the contents. Portfolios can include, but are certainly not limited to: examples of design work, desktop publishing samples, newsletter and/or brochure samples, articles or books (for those who have experience in editing), samples of photography and examples of academic writing. Go for breadth, and show the range of things you’re capable of. If you don’t have many portfolio pieces, you could complete mock projects to submit. Portfolios are to be uploaded to the graduate online application unless previous arrangements have been made with the Program Advisor (ccsp-info@sfu.ca).

Make your application really stand out by branding yourself and using the same design treatment throughout each section. Of course, your application should also be well written and free of errors.

Best of luck, and if you have any further questions that aren’t answered in our FAQs, please contact:

Jo-Anne Ray, Program Advisor

Phone: (778) 782-5242
Fax: (778) 782-5239
Email: ccsp-info@sfu.ca

Address: Program Advisor
Master of Publishing Program
Simon Fraser University Vancouver
515 West Hastings Street, Room 3576
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6B 3K3

The MPub Book Project

While it may be pitched as the most intimidating and largest of projects, looking back on it from the other side, I can assure that the MPub Book Project is more than manageable. Future cohorts take note: you will make it through the next six weeks.

MPub Book Project 2017

The Book Project is a compilation of everything we learned throughout the semester, and so nearly everything you do in the project has already been taught in class. It’s a way of putting things into practice in a mock real world scenario. While the eighteen or so assignments spread out over six weeks sound impossible at first, remember that you are sharing the workload with five or six highly competent classmates, and most of the assignments build on the previous assignments. These assignments are not marked but rather are opportunities for feedback from industry professionals and course instructors who lecture twice a week throughout the project. Read more

Copyediting Position at BC Pension Corporation


Temporary Assignment – Up to Three Months


Branch:  Plan and Member Communication Job Type:  Temporary full-time
Classification:  Communications Officer R14 Union/Excluded:  BCGEU
Salary Range:  $45,431 to $51,491 per annum Security Screening:  Yes
Competition:  PC17: Additional:  Funding for relocation will not be provided.
Closing Date:  


Geographically Restricted:  Funding for relocation will not be provided.

BC Pension Corporation is one of the largest professional pension services organizations in Canada. Doing meaningful work and with a challenging mandate, we provide comprehensive pension services to five BC public sector pension plans. In addition, the corporation is executing on a forward-thinking, transformational strategy that will change the way we serve plan members and employers. Our strategic plan, From 12 to 21, is an ambitious program of business transformation that supports high service levels and cost-effective delivery through better use of technology, improved business process and continued attention to staff training and development. It’s the ideal setting for a consultative team player who thrives in a collegial, results-oriented client service delivery environment.

Reporting to the Manager, Communications, the Copy Editor edits and proofs communication products to ensure clarity and standardization. Communication products can be complex, controversial and sensitive in nature. The potential for content to be miscommunicated may have a negative impact on the Pension Corporation and exacerbate sensitive circumstances and cause embarrassment to the Corporation. The Copy Editor provides feedback to the writer on all aspects of the written product. The position must establish strong relationships with all levels of staff across the Corporation. 

Selection Criteria:

  • Diploma in a related field such as communications or journalism or an equivalent combination of related education, training and experience.
  • A minimum of two years’ editing and proof reading or related experience which encompasses multiple communication channels and products suitable for the level of the position.
  • Experience using computer applications including MS Office, Excel, Outlook, Adobe and in internet researching.
  • Experience with the Chicago Manual of Style.

Your resume must provide detailed information about your education and employment history in order to clearly demonstrate how you meet the required job qualifications as listed in the selection criteria above. Please ensure your resume includes the month and year(s) for each job in your employment history as well as the job related responsibilities.

Lesser qualified applicants may be appointed at a lower level.  An eligibility list may be established. Testing may be required.  

Only applicants selected to move forward in the recruitment process will be contacted to move to the next stage (at-home written assessment and/or an interview).  All candidates are notified of the outcome of the competition once it has been completed.

To apply:

Please apply through our career websitehttps://bcpensioncorp.prevueaps.ca/jobs/

 Contact: Human Resources

                Email: Jobs@pensionsbc.ca

PDF available: Copy Editor JD

How to arrange a professional placement

In addition to coursework and a final project report, the Master of Publishing Program also includes one four-month professional placement, which can be completed anywhere.

Students take the lead in arranging their own professional placement (with the support of the faculty and the industry), with the process beginning as the first semester of school comes to a close. In January and February students begin to finalize the details, and by April most students have their placements arranged. The placements typically run May to August (around 12 weeks). Students enter their placements at a higher level than traditional interns, and have more input in how the placement will work. For example, students are encouraged to brainstorm challenges in a particular area of publishing they are interested in and then present solution-based proposals.

Professional placements are arranged in consultation with the faculty in the Department of Publishing, who help students determine what their goals and aims are and then suggest professional placements that may be a good fit or industry professionals they should connect with.

So what steps do you take to find a placement?

  1. Determine your interests. What type of publishing are you drawn to? The list of areas to explore is very long—starting with book publishing in the first semester and ending with magazine publishing in the second semester. Be open to plans changing and to new ideas coming your way.
  2. Connect with guest lecturers. Introduce yourself to them after class, send them a thank you email or tweet, or invite them out for coffee. This is the time to grow your network and connect with many people who will support you throughout your career.
  3. Research different publishers. Check out their websites, go to their events, and and become familiar with the types of books they publish.
  4. Set up informational interviews with publishers that pique your interests. An informational interview is very similar to a regular job interview, except you are the one asking the questions. Call or email publishers you are interested in doing your professional placement with and ask if you could arrange an informational interview to help you get to know more about the company because you are interested in working for them.

You can ask things like:

  • What kind of work do you usually have students do?
  • Are there any interesting projects going on that I would be able to be a part of?
  • What kind of instruction would I receive here?
  • How many students do you usually have at once?
  • What is the culture of the workplace like?
  • Why do you like about working here? Is there anything you don’t like?
  • What are you able to offer in terms of compensation?
  • Are there opportunities for employment following my placement?
  • Is there anything else you think is important for me to know?

Make sure to follow up the interview with a personalized thank you email or card.

  1. Watch the Quill & Quire job board and follow SFU Publishing on Twitter and Facebook for professional placement postings. Some placements are competitive and you will need to apply for them as you would a regular job. Other placements are arranged more casually, but you will still need to send your placement your resume for them to have on file.
  2. Update your resume and cover letter. SFU has Career Education Specialists available at each campus to help one-on-one with resume and cover letter writing, mock interviews, networking strategies, and more.  

Remember that it is going to be okay. Everyone finds a placement and that faculty are here to support you throughout the process.

Pandoc version 2.0 released

Pandoc, the amazingly versatile document production and conversion toolkit, has now been released in version 2.0. Lead developer John MacFarlane describes the move to v2 as “a major architectural change;” and also that “with each release, pandoc becomes more a team effort.”

A quick browse through the release notes shows a lot of practical improvements and new features. In addition to its already robust handling of plaintext, markdown, html, Word .docx, LibreOffice .odt, InDesign .icml, and epub2/epub3 formats, the new release has a number of new features that publishers and developers should check out. I’ll quote just a tiny bit of the release notes document: Read more

housepress at 20: A talk by Calgary poet & publisher Derek Beaulieu

SFU Library is pleased to invite you to a noon-hour talk by Derek Beaulieu in Special Collections at the Burnaby campus.

The Calgary-based author of numerous books of poetry, conceptual fiction, and criticism has also been active for two decades as a literary publisher with his acclaimed micro-press housepress (1997-2004) and its successor, no press (2005-present).

His talk will focus on this aspect of his literary work — the poet as publisher.

12:30 – 1:30, Thursday October 26
Special Collections & Rare Books, Room 7100, W.A.C. Bennett Library (at SFU Burnaby)
For more information, email Tony Power (power@sfu.ca)