Take your writing skills to the next level with these free online courses
Content creation is shaping up to be a useful skill for professionals across industries, and many are looking to level-up their writing capabilities. The thought of drafting compelling copy can be intimidating for those who do not write for a living or on a regular basis.
There are no shortcuts or “hacks” professionals can use to sound like they know what they’re doing, but thankfully, there are plenty of resources to bolster anyone’s writing chops.
Thanks to e-learning platforms, anyone can improve their writing skills, advance their careers, or change professions altogether.
Platforms like Coursera, edX, and Allison house extensive lists of courses designed to help learners upskill flexibly. And the best part? A lot of these courses are free — a small fee is needed for certification.
If you’re ready to master the much-prized skill of writing, here are some free courses – each with its own unique focus – that can help:
Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking by HarvardX
This eight-week online programme serves as an introduction to the art of persuasive writing and speech. Using selected speeches from prominent 20th-century Americans — such as Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, and Ronald Reagan — learners will explore and analyse rhetorical structure and style.
The course also covers how writers can differentiate argument and rhetorical technique, how to write a persuasive opinion editorial, and how to evaluate and identify strengths of logical fallacies in arguments.
Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot by Wesleyan University
This short course – which can be completed in just one day – is one of five modules in Wesleyan University’s Creative Writing offerings. With this programme, aspiring wordsmiths will be introduced to the concept of plot.
They will learn what keeps a story moving and how it can manipulate readers’ feelings, expectations, and desires. The course examines the choices storytellers make to stir imaginations, drag readers into a fictional world, and keep them there. Upon completion, participants will be able to outline and structure a plot, discuss narrative arcs, pacing and reversals, and master the art connecting the beginning, middle, and end.
Business Writing Techniques by DoaneX
Looking for something more intensive? This course could take up to eight hours a week for four weeks to complete.
Those enrolled will explore different communication styles and discuss the best practices of business writing through providing real-world scenarios and applications.
The six Cs are taught to round out the process: consideration, clarity, conciseness, coherence, correctness, and confidence. This course also looks at the proper etiquette of business writing, and examines the use of emoji in business communications.
How to Write an Essay by University of California, Berkeley
This course is described as an introduction to academic writing, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing. The five-week programme includes a review of basic grammar terminology and understanding, writing effective sentences and paragraphs, how to tackle writing introductions and conclusions, strategies for writing longer texts, and thesis statements.
Course materials are offered via readings and videos that enable learners to participate in online discussions. To complete, an essay is required.
Become a journalist: Report the news! by Michigan State University
This course is a specialisation part of a journalism study programme from Michigan State University.
It was designed to develop and enhance an individual’s understanding of the global field of journalism. Those enrolled will learn the best practices and ethical standards for news gathering processes and compiling a news report through hands-on projects, peer-to-peer feedback, and issue exploration.
They will also study journalism’s impact on societal issues and trends, plus explore career opportunities in newspapers, magazines, social media, internet multimedia, television, radio, corporate, and community journalism.