It sounds too good to be true, but you can improve your writing skills with resources from some of the top colleges and universities in the world—and without a fee! It is now possible thanks to Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs. MOOCs are free online classes that are available to the general public. Similar to standard college courses, MOOCs require participants to listen or watch lectures, read class materials, and engage in conversations via discussion boards and forums.
Since they were first introduced in 2006, MOOCs have become a popular way for the public to learn new skills or improve on skills they already possess. There are a variety of MOOCs available in a wide range of subjects and disciplines. From computer science, to arts and humanities, to language learning, there are numerous options for participants to choose from. In 2016, there were over 6,800 MOOC courses available with a total of 58 million people participating in them (Shah).
While MOOCs seem like the perfect way to gain or improve on a skill, they do require a serious commitment. Make sure you have the time and energy to complete the course in order to fully meet the objectives and grasp the concepts. Also, if you’re looking to receive a certificate or credit for the class, a small fee is applied.
Here are a couple of high quality, self paced writing courses that are offered by top universities. Students can join and start these courses at any time.
Adventures in Writing from Stanford University
This self-paced course teaches participants how to write for different purposes. Students learn when and how to use academic language, how to write for specific audiences, the differences between active and passive voices, how to support claims, and how to apply punctuation marks in effective places.
Poetry: What It Is and How to Understand It from George Washington University
Looking to dive deep into the world of poetry? Modern poetry is the focus in this class with an in-depth study into the characteristics of well-written poetry and understand the meaning of it.
English Grammar and Style from The University of Queensland, Australia
Participants will learn proper grammatical conventions, how to structure sentences and paragraphs, and how to write for different purposes in this interactive class. Students participate in online quizzes, writing challenges, and watch videos of various experts in this field.
Looking to improve on other writing, composition, and grammar skills? Curious to see what other types of MOOCs are out there? Many colleges and universities post upcoming courses on MOOC hosting sites.
One such hosting website is edX, a nonprofit, open source MOOC provider that hosts courses from many of the top schools in the world. The University of Oxford, The University of Queensland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Princeton are just a few of the schools that publish content on the edX platform.
In addition to offering individual courses, MicroMasters certificates, professional certificates, and XSeries certificates are available.
EdX courses are free, but if the student is looking to obtain a verified certificate, a fee is applied. Course fees run from $50-$300. Financial Aid is available to some applicants.
So, if you’re looking to learn a new skill or trying to stay up-to-date on innovative trends and topics, MOOCs are the perfect, cost effective way to learn from some of the top professors and universities in the world. Try one out and see what you can learn!
Shah, Dhawal. “By The Numbers: MOOCS in 2016.” Class Central, 25 Dec 2016, https://www.class-central.com/report/mooc-stats-2016/.