13 Free Online Courses to Improve Your Writing Skills
Article written and submitted by Kimberly Martinez
Writing is a great way to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings with other people. There are many ways to use writing in your everyday life: while some people write for fun and entertainment, others do this for income, for education or to publish a book.
Irrespective of the purpose, you can find a variety of ways to improve your skills in this craft and become a better writer. Sure, you can make up your own plan and stick to it. However, to get a comprehensive overview of the writing art, it will help you a great deal to select one of the systematic training courses providing great ideas, strategies and exercises. You can select between ‘physical’ classes or register for an online course. Luckily for everyone, there is a plethora of absolutely free online courses for anyone wishing to improve his or her writing skills.
Free Online Writing Courses
The Internet is brimming over with various free online courses to improve your writing skills. When selecting a course, pay attention to the institution that offers the training in order to be able to estimate the quality and reliability of the offered program. For instance, there are many courses provided by universities, which feature a specially developed curriculum and are run by professionals:
• HyperGrammar. This is an electronic grammar course at the University of Ottawa’s Writing Centre. HyperGrammar is the result of dedicated work of four University’s instructors. The course features user-friendly navigation and gives users a great deal of freedom and creativity during their study.
• Writing and Reading Short Stories, Writing and Reading the Essay and Writing and Reading Poems at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). These courses are offered online through MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative. The curriculum encompasses lecture notes, video lessons, suggested reading lists and other materials to help you to become a good writer.
• Fiction Writing Course, Descriptive Writing Course and Essay Writing Course at Open University, UK. Being the UK’s largest academic institution, Open University offers a number of writing improving courses through its OpenLearn website. The courses are available for free regardless of the aspirant’s country of origin. No registration is required.
In addition to ‘brick-and-mortar’ universities offering their curriculums online, you will find completely web-based education establishments and centers offering courses and training on improved writing. Here are some of the most popular:
• Introduction to Web Writing, Technical Writing Courses and Narrative Dialog Editing at Wikiversity. Wikiversity is an active online learning project that encourages people to write their own pieces and benefit from new skills. The courses offered on this free resource vary in their length and content.
• Writing Clearly and Effectively, Conquering Confusing Words and Quick Ways to Clean Up Your Writing courses at E-Zine University. You will find quite a few training programs on this online resource written by the web publisher Kate Schultz and visiting professors. Although these courses have been specially developed for web writers, they could be helpful to almost any penmen. Courses are rather short and do not require any registration.
On a par with university-based training programs there is a plethora of less global, yet very effective resources worth investigating. Some of these include:
• Better Writing Skills. The site offers writing training courses, as well as online manuals and numerous writing tips. It is also possible to get the website scribe’s consultation there.
• Writer’s Block. A compact website offering comprehensive articles covering abbreviations, capitalization, numbers, punctuation, writing styles and other areas.
How to Choose and What to Expect from Free Online Training Programs
Once you have a preliminary list of courses, check whether their topics meet your needs (Technical Writing will hardly ever help you to write a good fiction novel, for instance). Read the course description and investigate its syllabus. Get to know how advanced the course is. If you are a beginner it is always better to start with basics. In most cases, you will not get a credit or any certificate after your online writing course completion, since these are mainly created for people’s self-improvement, not for gaining a degree. If you take your writing courses seriously and want to get your expertise justified, you may browse for education institutions which offer certified distance learning services.
Although some courses may provide interactive quizzes and live chat discussions, with majority of online programs you are on your own. In order to take the most from your training program I recommend you:
• establish a certain schedule (hours per week/time);
• give all your effort and be patient, no one can become an author overnight;
• make notes and save your work pieces.
It goes without saying that selecting good online course is half the battle. Another half is your effort, dedication and will to work hard to learn the art of writing.
Author bio: Kimberly Martinez is working for the company which provides tips on resume writing. She is a freelance writer and enjoys sharing tips with online community.