Crafting an Effective Writer {MOOC review}

Class: Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade

If you can get through the boring first weeks, that is.
If you need to brush up on your basic English skills, this class can help.

Platform: Coursera

Length: 4 – 5 hours a week for 6 weeks.

Subject: English language.

Certificate: Yes, free upon successful completion of the course.

My rating: 4/5

Class outline

It’s hard to get excited about English grammar for most people. However, I’m not most people. I enjoy the written word, and I’m fascinated by the power that is in language. I am no guru at writing, though. I will admit that occasionally I go a little happy with the comma, forget whole phrases, forget words here and there, and I’m practically guilty of writing in the passive voice more than I care to admit. So, I took this class hoping to touch up on the basics that I’ve long forgotten.

The class starts off with a “how-to” for online class newbies. Most people that are mature or experienced enough will find this part slightly aggravating. However, if you haven’t taken an online course before or you don’t think you want to ever take one seriously, the tips presented in the first week will be beneficial to getting you started off on the right foot. From there, it takes off slowly with refreshers of the basic parts of the sentence. It’s not until week 4 that you get to some really interesting sentence structures like adverbial phrases and the like.

The instructors are really very good at explaining the ins and outs of the structures. They explain how they are used, what they are used for, and how they differentiate from other things that may sound similar, especially when it comes to phrase types. The text that is used in conjunction with this class is free, and the instructors follow along with it quite well. Together, they make a pretty good learning package.

For a taste of the class, take a look at their introductory video.

[row class=”row-fluid”]
[col class=”span6″]Pros

  • You get a refresher of all parts of the English language, which can be quite useful.
  • It doesn’t really take more than 3 hours if you are an experienced English speaker.
  • It helps you remember how to construct sentences well.
  • Lectures are short.
  • The book is free.[/col]
[col class=”span6″]Cons

  • It’s uploaded on Californian timezone, so if you live in a different time zone and want it early, you’re not going to get it.
  • Like most grammar classes, it can be dry and boring.[/col]

This class is really good for non-native English speakers. It’s also good for people that want to brush up on basic English grammar if it’s been a long time since they’ve had to confront it. This class is not good for people that are quite used to using English in a written form every day or have had a lot of experience with it.

If you want, you can also read my thoughts, notes, and exercises that I wrote down in the required writing journal.

Have you taken this course? Would you like to get paid for your opinion? Send an email of inquiry to to find out more information.

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