The creative writing struggle is real, but you can help your student (and yourself) to improve. In fact, did you know that there are online courses, some even free, that build creative writing skills? If you are looking for online writing courses for students or yourself, we’ve got you covered with the best.

Creative writing has always represented a difficult task. High school students find writing particularly difficult. And, it’s easy to understand why. Creative writing requires not only an excellent command of grammar, but also self-editing and essay development skills. Online writing courses are the best option when you hope to improve your academic writing skills, and most of them are offered by top universities.

The advent of OpenCourseWare (OCW) has made high-quality education accessible to most of us and such lectures and courses have the added benefit of not requiring formal admission or attendance. More importantly, they are free (well, most of them are). Granted, such courses also rarely offer college credit, but even so, the ease of access and outstanding information offered greatly outweighs the cons of such an online course.

university-offered online writing courses

So regardless of whether you are high school students, freelance writers or journalists attempting to better your writing skills, take a look at this list of university-offered online writing courses:

10 Exceptional Online Writing Courses

the writing process

1.      Stanford University Writing Courses

Stanford offers a wide array of options, from in categories such as creative writing and certificate program in novel writing. The world-renowned college’s selection includes courses such as “Travel Writing: Getting Paid to See the World”, where students have the possibility of learning about writing winning pitches, crafting compelling pieces, identifying fresh story ideas as well as finding the practical tools required for such work.

Other writing courses offered by Stanford address the daily writing practice, memoirs, creative nonfiction, short stories, fiction writing, novel writing and even poetry. Most courses last 10 weeks and have a tuition fee of $805.

2.      University of California, Berkeley

The University of California offers a multitude of courses catering to basic writing skills (such as “Principles of Written English” part 1, 2 and 3). Using such courses, both students and adults may learn about academic writing, revision, editing, error-correction, as well as discipline-specific writing.

The first part of this three-part series takes approximately five weeks to complete and offers important information as to grammar and terminology, sentence and paragraph writing, introduction and conclusion writing, writing strategies as well course materials, including a workbook.

3.      Duke University

Duke University also offers numerous writing courses, and “English Composition I: Achieving Expertise” is one of the best courses to cover the foundation of academic reading and writing. The course features a combination of foundational writing exercises, critical reading exercises, understanding the stages of the writing process, citing and quote integration. Towards the end of the study, students will be focusing on case studies, research and Op-Ed stories.

“Reasoning, Data Analysis, and Writing” is another course offered by Duke University, where students will also work towards better reasoning, argument composition, data and statistical analysis. Upon completion, students earn a Specialization Certificate.

4.      University of California, Irvine

Offered as part of a 10-course series, the university’s course on High-impact Business Writing will help students master effective writing that caters specifically to the business environment. Concise writing, clear argument formulation — as well as other business writing skills — are paramount in a field where objective and clear communication is key. The course covers everything from inter-office memos to business proposals.

5.      Mt. San Jacinto College

One of this college’s best online writing courses is “Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade (Fundamental English Writing).” The course is free and addresses the issue of sentence structure and construction, paragraph organization as well as composition and editing. It features a variety of teaching materials, including video, writing exercises, tutor support and takes approximately five weeks to complete.

6.      Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT, despite its technical proclivities, also offers online writing courses. Students have access to both undergraduate and graduate-level courses. You may learn essay writing, short story composition, or technical writing. As well as expository writing. Most courses include video materials, course notes, and video presentations.

7.      New Jersey Institute of Technology

If it is technical writing skills that you wish to pursue, the NJ Institute of Technology offers OCW courses in Technical Writing. It is specifically designed for advanced writers and includes a total of 40 lectures (offered in video format). Students learn how to deal with complex communication writing problems. Such as, gender equity, document design, ethics, rhetorical theory and audience awareness.

8.      Ohio State University

Ohio State University also features an online writing course that deals with rhetorical composing. It will guide students through an interactive series of reading, composing and research activities seasoned with regular assignments.

Students will be taught how to think, respond, argue, see, research and revise rhetorically. The course will also focus on the manner in which writing and reading have been reshaped by digital media. Upon completing the course, students will earn either a Certificate of Completion or a Certificate of Achievement.

9.      Falmouth University

This UK-based university offers several non-credit classes online, including “Writing for Children” and “Introduction to Novel Writing”. Students are encourages to work at their own pace while going through the graduate-level courses. Courses teach essential skills in organizing and developing extended writing pieces.

10.  University of Iowa

Though the University offers multiple writing courses, there is one in particular worth mentioning: “How Writers Write Fiction”. The course is co-taught by Christopher Merrill, Professor of English, and features live question-and-answer sessions, online fiction workshops and a variety of materials.

The great benefit of writing is the fact that writers don’t necessarily require degrees in order to find success. Though this is great news, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on continually improving your writing skills. So take the time to enroll in such online courses and see where they lead!

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