Class Central's MOOC Report

25 Free Online Courses to Improve Your Writing Skills

In our information age, somebody needs to produce that information, and it can’t all be pictures or videos (try as YouTube might). Luckily, there are a variety of free online courses(MOOCs) available for all types of writers and aspiring writers.

Note: Not all of these courses are available. Add a course to MOOC Tracker and we will notify you when the course becomes available. To signup for a course, click on the green ‘Go to Class’ button on the course page.

Basic Writing & Composition

An Online Skillshare Class by Emily Gould

Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling Challenge (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
Internationally acclaimed author Emily Gould walks you through a 10-day creative writing challenge! Filled with inspiring examples, observation prompts, and clever revision tricks, it’s perfect for writers and enthusiasts eager to rekindle creativity in a personal and artful way.
Self Paced

Perfect Tenses and Modals
via University of California, Irvine
In this course, you will learn about important intermediate verb tenses, including present perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect, and past perfect progressive
Next Session: 4th Dec, 2017

Adjectives and Adjective Clauses
via University of California, Irvine
Being able to adeptly use adjective clauses in speaking and writing is useful for upper level English learners. Adjectives and adjective clauses are very common in English, so students need to be able to understand them when they see them or hear them.
Next Session: 27th Nov, 2017

Tricky English Grammar
via University of California, Irvine
Learning English can be tricky, and in this class you’ll focus on some of those tricky issues. You’ll get clear explanations about the difficult grammar points and practice in using them correctly.
Next Session: 27th Nov, 2017

Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot
via Wesleyan University
In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires.
Next Session: 20th Nov, 2017

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise
via Duke University
You will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. Students will learn how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others’ ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose.
Next Session: 4th Dec, 2017

A beginners’ guide to writing in English for university study
via University of Reading
Learn how to use English for study at university or college and develop your writing skills, vocabulary and grammar.
Next Session: 1st May, 2017

Write101x: English Grammar and Style
via University of Queensland
Write101x will enable you to learn how words work so that you can write the concise, lucid, nuanced, and compelling prose that is so valued by readers.
Next Session: 9th Oct, 2017

Adventures in Writing
Stanford University via Stanford OpenEdx
Welcome to Adventures in Writing, a series of graphic-novel style learning modules designed to help you learn more about and practice a range of effective written communication skills. You’ll immerse yourself in the adventures of Maya and Chris, using each module’s interactive exercises to apply what you’ve learned
★★★★★ (1 rating) | Next Session : Self Paced

Scribble: Writing for New Writers
via OpenLearning
This course will take students through the process of writing from simple paragraphs to more complex writing structures and eventually research writing.
★★★★☆ (4 ratings) | Next Session : Self Paced

Thinking Like a Writer
via Michigan State University
This course revolves around the work of revising writing, learning, and engaging with language and community. You will explore who you are as a learner as you write about yourself and your language use, as well as consider who you are as a communicator as you critique texts, persuade audiences, and collaborate with others.
Next Session: 23rd Jun, 2014

Essay Writing

An Online Skillshare Class by Emily Gould

Creative Writing: Using Your Mistakes to Power Your Personal Essays (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
Ever had a story you couldn’t wait to share? Join author Emily Gould to learn how to write a personal essay that gets read.
Self Paced

Getting Started with Essay Writing
via University of California, Irvine

In this course, you’ll learn all about academic essay writing and, specifically, how to write three types of essays: compare/contrast, cause/effect, and argument.
Next Session: 27th Nov, 2017

How to Write an Essay 
via
 University of California, Berkeley
College Writing 2.1x is an introduction to academic writing for English Language Learners, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing.
Next Session: 7th Dec, 2017

English Grammar and Essay Writing
via University of California, Berkeley
College Writing 2.2x is the second part of the academic writing course. In this part, you will focus on proofreading and self-editing; revision vs. editing; common errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling; understanding tone and diction; vocabulary development.
Next Session: 7th Dec, 2017

Journalistic Writing

An Online Skillshare Class by Eric Siu

Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
Explore how entrepreneur Eric Siu creates content not just for the sake of writing, but for hitting your own goals. In this 80-minute deep dive class, you’ll learn Eric’s step-by-step structure for creating compelling blog content — the same process that has helped him build a seven-figure business, Single Grain and the five-star-rated podcast, Growth Everywhere.
Self Paced

English for Journalism
via University of Pennsylvania
This course is designed for non-native English speakers who are interested in developing the skills needed for a career in modern journalism.
Next Session:20th Nov, 2017

Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens
University of Melbourne via Coursera
This is a course in basic journalism skills, designed for the many people who are now taking advantage of new media to publish news, views and information
Next Session : 13th Sep, 2016

Introduction to Journalism
via University of Strathclyde
Learn about the key principles and debates in journalism and enact the role of a journalist in the context of an escalating story.
Next Session:28th Mar, 2016

Community Journalism: Digital and Social Media
Cardiff University via FutureLearn
This is a course in basic journalism skills designed for citizens who are using new media to publish news, views and information. We cover writing skills, interviews, ethics, law and accessing public forums and documents. We also introduce basic investigative skills.
★★★★☆ (3 ratings) | Next Session : 8th Feb, 2016

J4SC101x: Journalism for Social Change
University of California, Berkeley via edX
J4SC101 has been designed for students who are interested in the intersection of public policy, journalism and social sciences and who are looking to use their expertise and careers to drive positive social change.
★★★☆☆ (1 rating) | Next Session : Self paced

Writing Fiction

An Online Skillshare Class by Daniel José Older

Storytelling Fundamentals: Character, Conflict, Context, Craft (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
How do you write a story that feels alive? What makes a story different from an anecdote? Join renowned urban fantasy writer Daniel José Older for a 40-minute dive into the fundamentals of narrative storytelling!
Self Paced

Creative Writing: The Craft of Style
via Wesleyan University
Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language.
Next Session: 20th Nov, 2017

Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description
via Wesleyan University
In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world.
Next Session: 20th Nov, 2017

Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest
Commonwealth Education Trust via Coursera
This course is for curious students and aspiring authors with a passion for writing for young readers
★★★★★ (12 ratings) | Next Session :  27th Nov, 2017

How Writers Write Fiction
via University of Iowa
An interactive study of the practice of creative writing, How Writers Write presents a curated collection of short, intimate talks created by fifty authors of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation.
Next Session: 24th Sep, 2015

Start writing fiction
via The Open University
This hands-on course helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.
Next Session: 5th Mar, 2018

The Future Of Storytelling
via University of Applied Sciences Potsdam
Learn how to analyze, contextualize and create stories and narratives in current media: from understanding storytelling basics to discussing new online tools and formats, this course brings together a network of media researchers, creators, and students.
Next Session: 25th Oct, 2013

How Writers Write Poetry
via University of Iowa
The course presents a curated collection of short, intimate talks on craft by two dozen acclaimed poets writing in English. Craft topics include sketching techniques, appropriation, meter, constraints, sound, mindfulness, and pleasure. The talks are designed for beginning poets just starting to put words on a page as well as for advanced poets looking for new entry points, thoughts about process, or teaching tips.
Next Session: Mar, 2015

Applied Writing Skills

An Online Skillshare Class by Greg Jeffries

Content Curation: How To Create A Viral Site From Scratch (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
About This Class Ever wonder how those sites like ViralNova or GodVine get so much TRAFFIC and literally blew up overnight? Oh, and did I also mention sites like that generally tend to generate over six figures per month and usually sell for tens of millions?
Self Paced

Advanced Writing
via University of California, Irvine
It will help you raise the level of your writing and make you more aware of the type of writing you can expect in college. You’ll learn what plagiarism is and how to avoid it using correct MLA citations.
Next Session: 27th Nov, 2017

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications
via University of Sheffield
This free three week course will help you produce a perfect CV, application and online profile when applying for a job or course.
Next Session: 9th Oct, 2017

Writing for the Web
Understanding the difference between writing for print versus writing for the web starts with learning about how readers behave differently online. This course brings to light how to accommodate the needs of online readers through web design, writing style, structure and search engine optimisation.
Next Session: 19th Nov, 2017

ColWri2.3x: Academic and Business Writing
via University of California, Berkeley
An introduction to academic writing for English Language Learners, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing.
Next Session: 18th Apr, 2016

Stunt Writing for Personal Growth
The Stunt Writing For Personal Growth class includes prompts, lectures, readings and discussions for writers of any age, at any level. Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you,” Stunt Writing For Personal Growth is a process that uses writing as a tool for you to learn about yourself, and gain skills in communicating your own unique story.
Next Session: 20th Jul, 2015

Writing in the Sciences
via Stanford
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)
Next Session: Self paced