This course teaches scientists to become more effective writers, using practical examples and exercises. Topics include: principles of good writing, tricks for writing faster and with less anxiety, the format of a scientific manuscript, and issues in publication and peer review. Students from non-science disciplines can benefit from the training provided in the first four weeks (on general principles of effective writing).
In the first four weeks, we will review principles of effective writing, examples of good and bad writing, and tips for making the writing process easier. In the second four weeks, we will examine issues specific to scientific writing, including: authorship, peer review, the format of an original manuscript, and communicating science for lay audiences. Students will watch video lectures, complete quizzes and editing exercises, write two short papers, and edit each others’ work.
Week 1 - Introduction; principles of effective writing (cutting unnecessary clutter) Week 2 - Principles of effective writing (verbs) Week 3 - Crafting better sentences and paragraphs Week 4 - Organization; and streamlining the writing process Week 5 - The format of an original manuscript Week 6 - Reviews, commentaries, and opinion pieces; and the publication process Week 7 - Issues in scientific writing (plagiarism, authorship, ghostwriting, reproducible research) Week 8 - How to do a peer review; and how to communicate with the lay public
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.
Tom Kawaicompleted this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
The lecturer writes academic articles herself; the pitfalls, the hurdles, and how to get you published; all in one course. She un-trains your bad habits and walks you through your first tables, to eventually giving interviews to journalists. She calms your fears by interviewing top-journal editors who give their views on what it means to be rejected and how rewrite a draft for resubmission. The course is not so much about writing than about how to get on with your writing and academic career. If you're stuck, the course is your way out. It's all medical and if you can express a medical concept and finding clearly in writing, you probably can express anything clearly in writing. This is Stanford, you won't get any better advice on your academic writing
The videos and the instructor are fine, but really the peer review is less than useless.
The were glitches that reset the scores to zero during the editing, and a lot of people got unfair zeros out of this. Not enough people cared to submit feedback at all, and the forum is filled with people complaining about a low grade with no motivation. Finally, a lot of students didn't complete their assigned peer review, so there were cases with only 2 or 1 score given, and also this one with no feedback and unfair low marks.
If the peer review system is not changed, definitely better to avoid this course or just watch the videos. Losing time with the assigments is useless
Justin Beachcompleted this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This course is intended for scientists who publish or intend to publish academic papers. As a non-scientist I don't know how useful my review can be. I took the course because I write about science and wanted to gain a better understanding of the process behind science writing and publishing. If this is a subject that interests you it is a good comprehensive review that does not go over your head (regardless of your science background). The course also offers a good deal of worthwhile writing advice, regardless of what you are writing about. I found that it took roughly a half hour per day.
Fantastically practical. Good assignments. Excellent instruction. The peer review process was somewhat flawed because of the significant amount of extra work related to editing pieces by poor non-English speakers, and annoying to read their edits of decent English writing. In all, a super worthwhile course. Take it and you'll be thankful every sentence you write!
Amanda Salimoncompleted this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
The course is excellent for those who wish to learn how to write articles and papers. You have to dedicate yourself to watch the videos carefully and to do all the exercises. They take time and effort, but it is completely worth it. I think I might take the course again to review some points and improve my writing.