Coursera is an online learning platform that is available around the world and offers a large number of high-quality courses for people to study.
As a purely online platform, people can study from anywhere and at any time they wish, making this a very flexible way to learn.
There are many different types of courses that can be studied on Coursera. One of the most popular categories of free online courses on Coursera is free writing courses.
So many of us want to be authors or to develop our good writing skills for other reasons and Coursera is a great place to find the perfect course for you.
As Coursera has so many courses, however, that can make it difficult to pick the right courses for you. That’s why we’ve created this article to explain the best writing courses on Coursera.
We have divided them into several different categories so you can quickly find the best course for your needs.
Whether you want to learn about academic writing, learn creative writing, business writing, or journalism, there is a course for you.
Let’s get started and learn about this free best Coursera writing courses list!
What Are Coursera Courses?
Before we get started, however, let’s take a closer look at what the Coursera courses are.
Coursera offers a wide variety of courses of different levels. It has over 5,400 courses in total and these range from free courses that you can complete a day to master’s degrees from some of the best universities in the world.
Even institutions such as Stanford University, Penn State, and Yale offer courses through Coursera!
Most of these accredited courses do require a subscription and a great commitment to complete. However, you can also find some writing courses that can be done quickly to just hone your skills.
Whether you’re looking to further your career or just help with a hobby, there is something on Coursera for you!
The first category of writing that we’re going to look at is academic writing. This is a formal style of writing that is used in scholarly publications and is expected by many universities.
When you submit essays, dissertations, or research papers you will be expected to write them in a formal and academic style.
Academic writing needs to be descriptive and objective and it is very different from creative or journalistic writing.
It doesn’t mean using complicated vocabulary as it is a style of writing, not A style of vocabulary.
- Offered By: University of California
- Approximate Duration: Six months at four hours a week
- Level: Beginner
The first course that we will introduce is this academic English course by the University of California.
As a Coursera Specialization course, it aims to help you master a skill, which in this case is academic English.
Once completed, you will receive a certification and have the option to move to other free creative writing courses under the same Specialization.
The Specialization is split into five courses. These cover all of the main bases you will need for quality academic writing.
- Grammar and Punctuation: This is intended as a refresher course to ensure that your grammar and punctuation are up to scratch.
- Getting Started with Essay Writing: The course moves on to writing essays and introduces the three types of academic essays. You will learn how to plan and write an effective essay.
- Advanced Writing: This builds upon the previous courses to bring in more advanced skills, such as analysis, using sources, and how to make connections between articles.
- Introduction to Research for Essay Writing: Research is an important component of academic writing and you will learn how to do this, including how to cite works.
- Project: Writing a Research Paper: This fifth and final course requires you to put into practice everything you have learned to write your own academic research paper.
- Offered By: Stanford University
- Approximate Duration: 30 hours
- Level: Beginner
Academic writing is a broad subject that can be used for several different disciplines.
This course offered by Stanford University focuses purely on writing popular data science topics and is a must for anyone that is interested in entering this field.
Around 20 percent of students report that this course has had a direct positive impact on their careers! After successfully completing the course, you will receive a certificate.
The course is divided into eight sections that it suggests you complete at the rate of one per week. Some of the English writing skills you will learn and practice include;
- Decluttering your writing
- How to write in the active voice
- General grammar skills
- Writing efficiently and being organized
- Understanding scientific manuscripts and how they are formatted
- Peer review writing process
- Other types of scientific writing
- Interacting with broader audiences
Another popular form of writing is creative writing. Many of us believe that we have a story or five hiding within us but getting those stories onto paper can seem an impossible task.
This is where a creative writing course can be handy.
These courses cover a wide range of creative writing from novels to screenplays. They will teach you how to craft an original story and bring it to life.
- Offered By: Wesleyan University
- Approximate Duration: Six months at one hour per week
- Level: Beginner
This course focuses on three different types of writing: short stories, narrative essays, and memoirs. It is aimed at beginners but will also be of use to those that have already dipped their toes into creative writing.
Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate and there are also some discounts available from companies offering writing-associated products.
There are five courses in this Specialization and you can complete these in any order.
- Creative Writing: The Craft of the Plot: Learn how to create a plot for a story by mastering structure, creating a narrative arc, and pacing.
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Character: Creating intriguing characters is key to hooking your readers and this course concentrates on bringing a character to life.
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description: Learn how to create a world for your story, whether it is one based upon the real world or a fantasy setting you’re creating from scratch.
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Style: Although the style is individual, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to develop your own.
- Capstone: Your Story: This fifth and final course sees you write and submit your own short story, narrative essay, or memoir.
- Offered By: Michigan State University
- Approximate Duration: 127 hours
- Level: Beginner
Who doesn’t secretly have dreams of writing their own novel and becoming a famous writer? However, finding the time, energy, and skills to write the novel is often beyond our reach.
That’s where this course from Michigan State University can help. This course aims to help you to write your own novel from scratch, even if you’re a beginner at fiction writing.
You will receive a certificate upon completion of the course. The course is split into 26 sections with the suggested own pace of completing one section a week.
At the end of the course, you should have a finished novel! Most of the weeks are structured so that all you do is write, but the first few weeks are concerned with getting your story planned. This includes:
- Creating a concept
- Writing a pitch
- Peer reviewing pitches
- Improving your pitch
- Writing character outlines
The course is structured so that you will get feedback from other students on the course and will offer yours to others as well. For many students, the support network offered was invaluable.
- Offered By: California Institute of the Arts
- Approximate Duration: 8 hours
- Level: Beginner
For many, poetry is a difficult area of creative writing classes to break into. Unlike novel writing, it doesn’t always follow the grammatical rules of English and can seem more surreal and difficult to grasp.
This course from the California Institute of the Arts aims to teach people how to write the best poems they can by introducing them to poetic composition and how this can be broken to write poems.
At the end of the course, you will receive a certificate. The course has six sections that should be completed at the rate of one per week. The popular Computer Science IT topics covered include:
- How and when to use line breaks
- How to use abstraction and imagery in your poems
- How to write and use metaphors
- How to utilize rhyme
- How to utilize rhythm
- How to revise your poetry
Throughout the course, you will be asked to write your own poetry.
This is a very collaborative course so you will be expected to peer review the poems of other students and have yours reviewed at the same time.
Other Writing Courses
As well as academic writing skills and creative writing, there are several other types of writing that can come in useful. Many of these will help you in your chosen career or may help you start writing fiction.
- Offered By: University of Pennsylvania
- Approximate Duration: 43 hours
- Level: Mixed
If you want to be a journalist, learning how to write in a clear, concise, and effective manner is of vital importance.
Words are your tools and you will need to learn how to express yourself if you are to make a career out of journalism.
This career choice also means learning several other important skills and this course can be of great help if you’re interested in journalism.
At the end of this course, you will receive a certificate. It is split over five sections that should be completed at the rate of one section per week. During the course, you will learn:
- The principles of journalism
- How to research and pitch a story
- How to interview sources
- How to write in engaging ways
- How to proofread and edit
- How to verbally deliver the news
- Journalism in the digital age
Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to put your new skills to the test. You will be asked to write both a news article and a script for a newscaster to read.
- Offered By: Georgia Institute of Technology
- Approximate Duration: 14 hours
- Level: Beginner
Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is very important in busines