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University of California, Irvine

Getting Started with Essay Writing

University of California, Irvine via Coursera


Course 2: Getting Started with Essay Writing

This is the second course in the Academic English: Writing specialization. By introducing you to three types of academic essays, this course will especially help prepare you for work in college classes, but anyone who wants to improve his or her writing skills can benefit from this course.

After completing this course, you will be able to:
- create effective thesis statements for your essays
- plan and write compare/contrast, cause/effect, and argument essays
- write well-developed body paragraphs

Note: The lectures and practice activities are available for free, but you must upgrade to the pay version in order to take the quizzes and get feedback on writing assignments.


  • Course Introduction
    • This is the second course in the Academic English: Writing specialization. In the last course, you reviewed sentence types and punctuation. You'll use that information in this course to make your writing great. In this course, you'll learn all about academic essay writing and, specifically, how to write three types of essays: compare/contrast, cause/effect, and argument. To pass this course, you need to pass all four quizzes and pass all three writing assignments. When you finish one activity, you can continue to the next one. Enjoy!
  • Essay Writing
    • In this module, you'll start learning about essay structure and some other important tools for good writing. There's a lot of information in this module, but it's all necessary for writing well. Make sure you take notes so you will remember these tools when you write your essays. Note to learners: this course is designed for learners of English with intermediate English writing skills. The sample essays in this course are aimed at that level. However, the principles discussed in the lessons are practical for writers of any level. If you're at a lower level, do the best you can. If you are a more advanced writer, feel free to write more developed and complex essays than the ones in the examples. Just make sure you follow the structures introduced.
  • Writing Compare/Contrast Essays
    • Now, you're ready to write your first type of academic essay--the compare/contrast essay. In this module, you'll learn what this type of essay is and how to structure it. Then, you'll look at some examples and practice writing your own compare/contrast essay. Remember the sample essays in the lesson are typical for an intermediate-level student. Write a compare/contrast essay that fits your own writing ability. Good luck!
  • Writing Cause/Effect Essays
    • Now, you'll learn about writing the cause/effect essay. This is another type of academic essay that you might be asked to write in your college classes. For this type of essay you'll think about reasons why something happens or the effects of something. The sample essays in this module are also representative of an intermediate-level writer. Write a cause/effect essay appropriate for your own English level. Just remember to follow the advice given in the lessons.
  • Writing Argument Essays
    • In this last module, you'll learn how to write the most common type of college essay. The argument essay is probably the most fun essay to write too. In this one, you will try to convince your reader to believe your argument or position on some controversial topic. You have to think of good reasons to support your position. Remember to write an argument essay that is to the best of your own abilities.

Taught by

Tamy Chapman

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    Twinkle twinkle little star how I wonder whats you are .............
  • Kyaw Lwin
    I'm from Cambodia. I have worked in construction for 15 years. I would like to write the report for my daily work properly but I can write simple sentences. So I want to improve my sentence to be classic.

    Also, I want to use the technical term and the report clear. I have not much experience in reporting. Although knowing that the work of feature, I have difficulty explaining working progress by the report.

    So which course should be trained for me
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Due to time constraints, I only audited this course. I found the content engaging and easy to absorb. New students will find this course very useful in learning and developing basic and essential essay skills. I enjoyed the course, thanks.
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