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In-Depth Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing in English for University Study

Detailed review by Class Central user Pilar Reyes Bolaños on a course that will help you improve our understanding about academic writing and the process of writing an essay.

This review is by Pilar Reyes Bolaños. Pilar is a Colombian K-12 teacher interested in technology and lifelong learning.

Took the course? Write your own review hereRead all reviews.

I had already taken other courses in Futurelearn and I had liked the experience. 

I decided to take this class because I wanted to practice my writing skills in English and also because I had already taken other courses in Futurelearn and I had liked the experience. Actually, writing in English is not part of my job, but I think it is a worthy challenge for me. Additionally, as a teacher, I’m interested in getting familiar with any methodology that I can apply in my classes.

This course is run by a very experienced and expert team of educators: Steve Thomas (Lead educator) is the Director of the Academic English Programme at University of Reading; Anne Vicary, a teacher of English for Academic Purposes and Seb Watkins, a tutor in English for Academic Purposes. Besides, there is a team of eight mentors who help support the discussions, answer questions, and review some of the assignments. Thank you, all of you, again.


What I enjoyed most about the course was the methodology 

What I enjoyed most about the course was the methodology: since writing is a process we, learners, could review it step by step. The course started by explaining what academic writing is. Then, how to develop ideas for an essay was explained to us through an example of a real student. During this process, we were asked to read the sample carefully, to analyze it, and to give our opinions. By the way, I really enjoyed this part (discussions) because it was very easy for anyone to participate: after the explanations and assignments, we found the discussion section at the end, as easy as that.

Because real writing samples were studied, learners were able to check by themselves how those students’ writing were improving with the help of peer reviewing and their teacher guidance. In this way, we could understand the importance of reviewing and rewriting until a final draft was ready to submit.


One thing that I like most in the course is that it let us examine other’s work and review the writer’s strength’s and weaknesses in writing.
Review By Zaira Mae Labay 

Of course, participants in the course were asked to write our own essays, but the process started by writing paragraphs which were reviewed by peers immediately (and sometimes by mentors). Therefore, nobody had to wait for feedback much time. After that, we were asked to plan (after being explained how to do it) and write the draft of our essay. Then, we submitted it for peer reviewing and then we wrote the final draft.

Another exciting aspect of the course was the opportunity for me to share ideas with learners from around the world. Since we were asked to reflect and write not only about our process of writing and its challenges, but also about our cities and lives, (among several topics), everyone could learn about other cultures, that is great.


Regarding videos, quizzes, and written material used to teach the topic, they were clear, pertinent, short, and very well structured. They helped us to go improve our understanding about academic writing and the process of writing an essay.

What changes could improve this course? Just one thing: it would be a good idea for learners to use rubrics to guide their learning more accurately.

I recommend this course not only to beginners (as the name clearly states), but also to writing teachers who want to learn or review how to instruct writing as a process.


What is next? Well, there is the course Getting Started with Essay Writing offered by the University of California on Coursera (This is the second course in the Academic English: Writing specialization), for intermediate and advanced learners. Excellent. I took it.

And, one of the best I’ve ever taken so far, (and I’ve taken many moocs so far), ENG101- English Composition offered by Arizona State University on edX. If you really like writing, this is exactly what you need. I am really impressed by the structure, the content quality, and methodology. Believe me. The course has just started, so if you are interested, no problem, you can enroll right now. We will be classmates.

As the name of the course indicates, it is intended for anybody (high intermediate to advanced learners) interested in writing, but also, or especially, for students interested in pursuing this course for ASU credit.


Class Central is looking for reviewers and regular contributors. If you’ve ever finished a MOOC and want to write a critique to help future students considering taking that course, we want to hear from you. Drop us a mail.

Comments 1

  1. iujpo

    Studying in abroad as well as the important university in the world learning the English language is the ideal situation to all level. In order to find out the functional plus professional approaches in every possible manner before mentioned guidelines are the key ingredients in every guidelines.


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