Best Online Writing Courses

Whether you’ve always wanted to be the next big thing after J.K. Rowling or just get that research paper written efficiently or simply craft a decent email to your employer/employees, writing is an important part of everyday life! Ironic, then, that most people struggle with putting forth their views in the written word.

If you fall in the latter category, fret not. Online learning platforms have got your back and how! If you thought sprucing up your writing skills required going to some sort of writing academy, you’ve got another thing coming when you look at our list of the best online courses for writing. Read on for some serious opportunities to enhance your writing skills, be it for business, academic work, or just for the love of writing!

These are the best online courses for writing, all thoroughly reviewed to ensure that you find the perfect one. Let’s take a look!

It’s no secret that Coursera, with over 1,100 free courses and 33 million registered users, is one of America’s sweethearts (at least when it comes to the best online learning platforms). Their offering to English speakers is no less.

Though all these courses come free of cost (they all start with a 7-day trial), some exercises and lectures may be accessible only on purchasing. Purchasing the course also enables students to receive a course completion certificate that is recognized and accepted in resumes by organizations such as LinkedIn. Additionally, Coursera offers financial aid to students in need, though the application for the same takes a minimum of 15 days to review.

Academic English: Writing Specialization – University of Irvine

The “Academic English: Writing Specialization” is aimed at students with a focus on efficiently conducting academic research or expressing thoughts and proposals within an academic structure. As a specialization course (skill-specific courses), students can either choose to do the entire specialization or pick any one of the courses in the specialization. Even in the latter case, students are automatically subscribed to the full specialization. Additionally, every specialization requires students to complete a project in order to earn their course completion certificate.

Offered by the University of California, Irvine and taught by Brad Gilpin, Tamy Chapman and Helen Nam, the 5 courses in this specialization will take 3 months to complete and is perfect for beginners.

Writing in the Sciences – Stanford University

Whether it’s that research paper you’ve been putting off for God knows how long or a bit of scientific writing you’ve wanted to indulge in, Coursera’s “Writing in the Sciences” is the solution you’ve been looking for. Curated by Stanford University’s Dr. Kristin Sainini (associate professor in the university’s Health Research and Policy department), the course teaches students various topics such as the principles of good writing, how to write quicker and be less anxious while doing so, the format of a good scientific manuscript, peer-reviewing, grant writing, ethical issues the publication of scientific material as well as how to put forth scientific material to the general audience.

With an estimated completion time of 24 hours, the course is recommended for beginners and like the previous one, allows flexibility in deadlines. The 4-week course follows a specific schedule:

  • Week 1: This week introduces students to the course and reviews the main principles of effective writing. This involves writing precisely and to the point.
  • Week 2: This module is a detailed study of verbs, focusing on writing in the active voice, how to avoid turning verbs into nouns, how to choose strong verbs, and identifying the main verbs in a sentence.
  • Week 3: The third week is a study of sentence structure and paragraph writing; it teaches students the use of punctuation marks such as the colon, semi-colon, parentheses and the dash. It also guides students on how to write concise, organized paragraphs.
  • Week 4: Week 4 is a review week, wherein the writing process is reviewed. The instructor provides students with tips to make the writing process much easier without compromising on the quality.
  • Week 5: This week reviews the various sections of a scientific manuscript and teaches students to write an introduction, discussion, methods and results.
  • Week 6: Week 6 explores the peer review process and the ethical issues that plague scientific publishing, as well as avoiding these issues.
  • Week 7: The seventh week introduces students to other types of scientific writing such as grants, reviews, essays and recommendation letters.
  •  Week 8: The last week teaches students the technique to communicate with a general audience, including working with the media and conducting and giving interviews.

Business Writing – University of Colorado Boulder

The power of good writing is highly underrated in the business world. Not only does good writing enable you to put forth ideas well, but it also manages to impress both competitors and recruiters alike. “Business Writing”, instructed by Dr. Quentin McAndrew, teaches students to apply “the top ten principles of good business” writing in their work, as well as how to organize, structure and revise their writing so as to put forth their points in as clear and concise a manner as possible. Students who complete this course also gain a foundation in the “Graphic Design” and “Successful Presentation” courses that the University of Colorado Boulder  also offers on Coursera.

This beginner’s course, which takes approximately 13 hours to complete, is spread over 4 weeks with specific topics covered in each week:

  • Week 1: The introductory week introduces students to the “Effective Communication” specialization and the course itself.
  • Week 2: The second module teaches students how to effectively organize their writing by following the “universal organizational formula” and create a scaffold for their future writing.
  • Week 3: The third week has a practical approach, with students learning how to apply the knowledge gained over the previous two weeks in creating a memo, as well as learning about commonly-occurring grammatical errors.
  • Week 4: The final week of the course provides students with tips and techniques that will enable students to enhance their language and provide clarity to their written communication.

Final Thoughts

Like we said, somewhere in this list of the best online courses for writing, writing is such a crucial part of everyday life, but such an underrated one. Nothing has held on to its importance like the written word has, in whatever sphere of life. They weren’t kidding when they said the pen is mightier than the sword. If you’ve always wanted the chance to seriously learn writing professionally or just better your skills with minimum investment of money (but a more substantial investment of effort!), our humble list of online courses for writing is sure to help you. Good luck on your journey of words and do remember to thank our humble list in your Booker Prize acceptance speech!