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Duke University

English Composition I

Duke University via Coursera


You will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. Students will learn how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others' ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose.

Course Learning Objectives
• Summarize, analyze, question, and evaluate written and visual texts
• Argue and support a position
• Recognize audience and disciplinary expectations
• Identify and use the stages of the writing process
• Identify characteristics of effective prose
• Apply proper citation practices
• Discuss applying your writing knowledge to other writing occasions


  • The Writing Process
    • To start our course, we will examine your own writing process and what it means to respond to the writing of others. We will also think about what academic writing means.
  • Critical Reading
    • This week will concentrate on the skill of reading critically. Additionally, we will learn about the conventions of academic writing, including integrating evidence and schools of citation. Finally, you are encouraged to write your own critical review of "The Sweet Spot." This is an optional writing assignment, but it is a requirement to receive a honor's certificate.
  • Project 1: Visual Analysis
    • This week, the central topic is visual images in academic writing. The goal is to practice interpreting and writing about images convincingly. Plus, Dr. Comer will help you think about what area of inquiry you would like to focus on in this course and what it means to write a draft. Finally, you will write your visual analysis and learn how to give meaningful feedback.
  • Revision Strategies and Visual Analysis Revision
    • Based on the feedback of your colleagues improve your visual analysis. After you receive feedback on your final submission, submit a self-reflection quiz about your experience writing this project.
  • Project 2: Case Study
    • This week, various aspects of effective research will be discussed, such as creating an annotated bibliography, research strategies, and avoiding plagiarism. You will conduct research for your next project, a case study, contribute to an annotated bibliography, and submit your case study draft.
  • Writing Cohesively and Case Study Revision
    • In preparation for improving your case study, Professor Comer will present strategies of writing more cohesively. After receiving your final feedback, please submit a self-reflection about this project.
  • Project 3: Op-Ed
    • This week, Professor Comer introduces the idea of public scholarship, how academic writing can be transformed for a broader public. Her guest, David Jarmul, will give an overview of how to write an op-ed. You will then have the opportunity to write your own.
  • Crafting Powerful Prose and Op-Ed Revision
    • This week Professor Comer will address the topic of concise writing; how to convey meaning with fewer words. Your task is to rewrite your op-ed.
  • Transferring Writing Practices, Skills, and Knowledge to New Contexts
    • This final week is dedicated to how to move forward with your writing and apply the skills learned in this course to new contexts. Your final assignment is a self-reflection about your development as a writer over the last several weeks.
  • Writing in the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Sciences
    • Additional videos that highlight differences in academic writing across disciplines.

Taught by

Denise Comer



3.3 rating, based on 19 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 986 ratings

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  • Gearoid Morley

    Gearoid Morley completed this course.

    As someone who has had no experience with academic writing or exposure to a writing process, I found this course well worth my time. I gained valuable practice in drafting and writing papers over the four projects. The peer review of your writing was...
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    Sami Laine

    Sami Laine is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    A fairly concise review of basics of academic writing. In my opinion this course suits an intermediate (ie. entering a college) or someone who is in a need for a quick refresher of basic writing skills.

    Peer graded assignments were the best part of this course. Three out of four writing assignments have two phases of peer grading, first you will write a draft which is nearly finished text, get some feedback on it, then produce a final edit. How much you get out of the course depends heavily on your peers. One exception aside, I got good feedback. Occasionally some peer simply gave no feedback, yet tossed a perfect score at me, so you might end up having no feedback at all should you be unlucky to get such peers all the way.
  • Profile image for Jos Gysenbergs
    Jos Gysenbergs

    Jos Gysenbergs completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Not easy especially for non-native speakers. However, this was a most rewarding course because prof. Comer's expertise lifted the level high enough to keep attention to a maximum. If you manage to reach distinction (around 90% if I remember well) you will gain a strong confidence in writing academic texts.
  • Rohit Kanojiya is taking this course right now, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    my name is Rohit kanojiya
    I am 16 year
    and I finish my 10th grade
    my birthday is 2004/02/23
    I live in juhu galli wireless road ekta nagar Andheri West Mumbai 400058
  • Jesumay Keppel

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  • Bob

    Bob completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Just a horrible way to waste your time. Did not like the instructor & her way of teaching. Different strokes for different folks, some peers found it thrilling. Not my cup of tea, F-
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