You can never go wrong by becoming a better writer. Whether you’re preparing for university studies, drafting resumes and cover letters, writing sales emails, or trying to preserve your own memories, you need to be able to communicate through writing. Fortunately, free courses abound to guide you in your writing journey.
Want to start writing fiction? There’s a course for that, several actually. There are also courses that will teach you to write better business emails, create compelling blog posts and social media updates, and prepare technical reports. English language learners, teachers, and grammar nerds, you’ll also find a few courses on this list. In short, whatever it is that you’re writing, chances are you can improve your craft with one or more of the courses below.
Quick note: While many of these courses do come with fees, all of them are available to audit in full or in part. If you’re new to MOOCs and want to learn more (including how fees work in these courses), check out our Beginner’s Guide to Massive Open Online Courses.
Perfect Tenses and Modals University of California, Irvine via Coursera
In this course, you will learn about important intermediate verb tenses, including present perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect, and past perfect progressive. You will also learn about common modal verbs used in English.
★★★★★ (5 ratings)
Effective Writing Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee via Swayam The present course on writing aims at familiarizing learners with the nuances of effective writing which can help them know the subtle art of writing, enabling them to write with clarity, precision and at the same time with the subtlety to express their ideas on different occasions with the notions of appropriateness and accuracy.
★★★★★ (2 ratings)
Grammar and Punctuation University of California, Irvine via Coursera After completing this course, you will be able to: – identify the correct verb tenses to use – use commas effectively – utilize several different sentence types – write more effectively in English
★★★★☆ (33 ratings)
Verb Tenses and Passives University of California, Irvine via Coursera In this course, you will review the verb tenses that you learned in beginning English classes and learn about a few tenses you may not know very well.
★★★★★ (1 rating)
University of California, Irvine via Coursera While it’s easy for non-native speakers to get overwhelmed by confusing grammar rules, in this course, we’ll provide you with tips that will help you understand the rules more easily and give you lots of practice with the tricky grammar of everyday English.
★★☆☆☆ (2 ratings)
Adjectives and Adjective Clauses University of California, Irvine via Coursera
Adjectives and adjective clauses are very common in English, so students need to be able to understand them when they see them or hear them.
★★★☆☆ (4 ratings)
Just Reading and Writing English 2 Tsinghua University via Coursera
From this course, you will have a good knowledge of intermediate English reading and writing skills. We invite you to learn with our teachers and friends from different countries in the videos. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Just Reading and Writing English 1 Tsinghua University via Coursera
From this course, you will have a good knowledge of primary English reading and writing skills in your daily life. We invite you to learn with our teachers and friends from different countries in the videos, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and Columbia. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Noun Clauses and Conditionals University of California, Irvine via Coursera
In this class, you will learn about the advanced grammar concepts of noun clauses and conditionals.
Writing and Editing: Revising University of Michigan via Coursera
This fourth and final course in the “Good with Words: Writing and Editing” series will help you master perhaps the most important step in the writing process: revising. You’ll learn about the difference between editing and proofreading. You’ll practice “un-numbing the numbers” so that data and statistics you use are clear and compelling. And you’ll be introduced to a framework for giving and receiving feedback that helpfully systematizes what should be cut and what should be kept from each draft.
Writing and Editing: Drafting University of Michigan via Coursera
This third course in the “Good with Words: Writing and Editing” series will give you a number of strategies to help with what is often the most intimidating, even paralyzing part of the writing process: getting started. You’ll learn about the “planning fallacy” and “temptation bundling.” You’ll get a chance to experiment with “freewriting” and “writing before you are ready.” And you’ll continue to benefit, through our ongoing “Good Sentences” and “Takeaways” segments, from the models and advice of a diverse set of writers.
Advanced Grammar & Punctuation Project University of California, Irvine via Coursera
In this course, you will create a grammar portfolio of the difficult or interesting English grammatical structures that you studied in the previous courses.
Writing and Editing: Structure and Organization University of Michigan via Coursera
This second course in the Good with Words: Writing and Editing series will help you become an effective architect of information, both with your sentences and with your paragraphs. You’ll learn that the traditional advice to “Show, don’t tell” is incomplete and that skilled writers actually switch back and forth between showing and telling.
Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style(free trial available) Susan Orlean, Staff Writer, The New Yorker via Skillshare In this class, Susan Orlean, best-selling author and longtime New Yorker staff writer, walks us through her writing process for transforming ordinary subjects into exceptional stories. She reveals how she prepares to write, takes a close look at her classic Esquire piece “The American Male at Age Ten,” and delves into why curiosity, revision, and collaboration are at the heart of being a writer.
Writing & Blogging with Passion: Create a Flexible Editorial Plan & Calendar (free trial available) Skillshare
Have you ever made an editorial plan, only to fall behind and stop using it a few weeks later?
Are you looking for a plan of action with your blog that will allow for those bursts of inspiration but also support you when you don’t have time to sit down and write (or just don’t want to)?
English for Journalism University of Pennsylvania via Coursera
This course is designed for non-native English speakers who are interested in developing the skills needed for a career in modern journalism.
★★★★☆ (11 ratings)
English for Journalists, Part 1 University of California, Berkeley via edX Improve your English grammar, vocabulary and writing skills through exciting topics in journalism and world news.
★★☆☆☆ (1 rating)
Digital Culture and Writing University of Burgundy via EMMA
Born from the desire to support a wide public facing the emergence of digital technology, the team of teachers from the university of Burgundy (uB), accompanied by colleagues from other universities, offers its MOOC DCW (Digital culture and Writing) publish and share on the web.” It provides an overview of the potentialities of digital writing and culture, for publish, share and communicate.
English for Journalists, Part 2 University of California, Berkeley via edX Improve your English grammar, vocabulary and writing skills through topics in journalism including free speech, sports, humor and broadcast writing.
Newsletter Strategies for Journalists: How to Create, Grow & Monetize Newsletters Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas via Independent This course provides the fundamental skills required to launch and maintain a newsletter through a standard product life cycle. Students will learn how a newsletter can fit into their work product and serve their audience. They will pick up the practical knowledge required to launch a newsletter, as well as the specifics around revenue models and subscriber growth. Finally, students will learn how to maintain a newsletter over time, and when appropriate, bring the newsletter to an end.
Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop California Institute of the Arts via Coursera
Why just write poems when you can write better ones? This course is built on the notion that the most exciting writing begins after the first draft. It is specifically for folks who believe that writing poems just to express oneself is like using the Internet just for email. Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to workshop your poem drafts and get feedback on your work, working towards a more polished poem.
★★★★☆ (18 ratings)
Start Writing Fiction The Open University via FutureLearn
Get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters, with this hands-on course.
★★★★☆ (21 ratings)
Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest Commonwealth Education Trust via Coursera
This course is for curious students and aspiring authors with a passion for writing for young readers. Participate in a dynamic online community of writers as you experiment with your own writing and develop your voice. This course will guide you with a combination of video lectures, online readings, peer reviews, and guest appearances from world-renowned children’s authors.
★★★★☆ (12 ratings)
Creative Writing: The Craft of Character Wesleyan University via Coursera
At the center of a good story are the characters in it. In this course aspiring writers will discover how to build and bring to life complex, vivid and unforgettable characters. We will study the choices a writer makes to bring all characters to life on the page, and we will perform written exercises in order to develop a variety of writing and pre-writing techniques, in order to create a variety of characters.
★★★★☆ (8 ratings)
Creative Writing: The Craft of Style Wesleyan University via Coursera
Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language. We will study the use of metaphor and imagery, and demonstrate how clarity, grace, and inventiveness in word choice are imperative to a story’s success. Writers will emerge with the revision skills essential to all writers of good stories and good prose.
★★★★☆ (8 ratings)
Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description Wesleyan University via Coursera
In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world. From the most realist settings to the most fantastical, writers will learn how to describe the physical world in sharp, sensory detail. We will also learn how to build credibility through research, and to use creative meditation exercises to deepen our own understanding of our story worlds, so that our readers can see all that we imagine.
★★★★☆ (12 ratings)
Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot Wesleyan University via Coursera
In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires. We will examine the choices storytellers make to snag our imaginations, drag them into a fictional world, and keep them there. We will learn how to outline and structure a plot, discuss narrative arc, pacing and reversals and reveal the inevitable surprise: connecting the beginning, middle and end.
★★★★☆ (17 ratings)
Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course) Michigan State University via Coursera
What you’ll achieve: In this project-centered course*, you will design a series bible and write a complete pilot episode for your own unique television or web series, be it drama or comedy or something in between. You’ll learn to break down the creative process into components, and you’ll discover a structured process that allows you to produce a polished and pitch-ready script in just a few weeks.
★★★☆☆ (4 ratings)
Writing Stories About Ourselves Wesleyan University via Coursera
In this course, creative nonfiction writers will explore traditional storytelling methods, especially those which overlap between fiction and memoir. By looking at examples from a wide range of genres, including film, song, painting—even the theme music for Jaws!—we’ll practice exercising the creative muscle that sees ourselves as characters and the experiences we’ve had as tales.
Memoir and Personal Essay: Managing Your Relationship with the Reader Wesleyan University via Coursera
The blank page can be the most daunting obstacle in writing. In this course, aspiring writers will assemble a “starter kit” for approaching the blank page by developing constructive ways to think about the writing process as a whole. While subsequent courses in this series will focus on the mechanics of good writing, this course offers ways to think about the writer’s relationship to her material, and ultimately develop a writing style that is uniquely her own.
Writing in First Person Point of View Wesleyan University via Coursera
If you have always wanted to tell your own story—in a memoir, first-person essay, or any other form of autobiographical non-fiction—but felt you lacked the tools or the framework, this is the class for you. We will learn how successful first-person writing is structured to offer the reader a sense of propulsive motion, and is guided by a narrator who is deliberately crafted.
Writing a Personal Essay Wesleyan University via Coursera
This class is the chance to create your personal essay or extend into a full memoir — from planning and structure to bold narrative brushstrokes to the layering of significant detail. You will develop the opportunity to find your voice and see it come alive, amplified and improved, on the page. This is the chance to tell your story in a way that invites readers in; your story, written to be read.
Finding your voice as a playwright University of Cambridge via edX Learn to deepen your creative practice as a playwright, as well as develop professionally transferable writing skills and communication expertise. This course will broaden your understanding of how to start a career successfully as a professional dramatist, as well as offer you insights in how to maximise and enjoy the processes of your personal creativity.
Writing successfully for the Stage University of Cambridge via edX Learn to structure your dramatic writing to a professional standard, as well as develop professionally transferable communication skills. This course will broaden your understanding of how to write engaging and interesting stories in order to attract producers and directors to your work. You will understand how to write effective dialogue, and how to edit your work.
Stand Up!; Comedy Writing and Performance Poetry University of Cambridge via edX Prepare to perform your comic writing and/or poetry to a live audience, as well as develop transferable writing skills and communication expertise that will be relevant in any profession. This course will broaden your understanding how to structure a stand-up comedy set, as well as allow you to understand how to use narrative form in your performance poetry texts. You will also reflect on the ways in which you might enhance the quality of your writing practice by being a performer yourself.
Transmedia Writing Michigan State University via Coursera
Do you have a desire to write a novel, write a screenplay, design a video game? In this project-centered course you will develop your own, original, intellectual property (IP) into a transmedia project containing written versions of your IP on various platforms. You will begin your novel, adapt the first chapters of your novel into the opening scenes of a film or TV show and create a game design concept of your IP.
Academic and Business Writing University of California, Berkeley via edX An introduction to academic and business writing for English Language Learners, focusing on grammar, vocabulary, structure, editing, and publication.
★★★★☆ (14 ratings)
Writing Professional Email and Memos (Project-Centered Course) University System of Georgia via Coursera
Want your workplace writing to make a positive impression? At the end of this course, you will be a more confident writer, able to create higher quality professional documents more quickly. This course is at the introductory or beginner level and focuses on mastering the basics of email etiquette and communication.
★★★★☆ (7 ratings)
English for Effective Business Writing The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via Coursera
This course aims to improve your Business English writing skills by developing your use of vocabulary, grammar, understanding of different business writing genres, and your ability to write professional business documents.
★★★★☆ (1 rating)
Business Writing University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera
This course will teach you how to apply the top ten principles of good business writing to your work, how to deploy simple tools to dramatically improve your writing, and how to execute organization, structure, and revision to communicate more masterfully than ever.
★★★★☆ (5 ratings)
High-Impact Business Writing University of California, Irvine via Coursera
Effective writing is a powerful tool in the business environment. Learn how to articulate your thoughts in a clear and concise manner that will allow your ideas to be better understood by your readers. Improve your business writing skill by learning to select and use appropriate formats for your audience, use the correct medium and adjust your writing style accordingly, as well as identify your objective and communicate it clearly.
★★★☆☆ (8 ratings)
English for Doing Business in Asia – Writing The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via edX Introducing strategies for developing your written English communication skills in the context of doing business in Asia.
Business Writing Techniques Doane University via edX Business Writing Techniques, will expand on the different communication styles and discuss the best practices of business writing by providing real-world scenarios and applications. Learners will examine how to use the 6 C’s to enhance their business messages. Learners will also discuss the proper etiquette of business writing and examine the use of emoji in business communications.
Better Business Writing in English Georgia Institute of Technology via Coursera
Do you need to write more easily and effectively in English? This course will provide the tools to help you do just that.
How to Write a Resume (Project-Centered Course) State University of New York via Coursera
In this project-centered course, you will craft an essential cornerstone of the modern-day job or internship search: the resume. When you complete the course, you’ll have an eye-catching resume that lets your professional strengths shine.
★★★★☆ (11 ratings)
Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters University of Maryland, College Park via Coursera
How can you bring your resume to the top of the pile? You will learn how to convert a boring resume into a dynamic asset statement that conveys your talents in the language that an employer understands.
★★★★☆ (6 ratings)
How to Write a Successful Research Paper (free trial available) via Skillshare
Whether you are writing a manuscript for scientific publication, a doctoral thesis, or Bachelor/ Master thesis, this course can help you to achieve a better paper in less time.
Academic Writing UGC via Swayam
This course aims to fill this gap by providing the fundamental knowledge required for effective and result oriented academic writing. It is a foundation course and the application of this knowledge completely depends on an individual learner and his or her area of research.
★★★★★ (1327 ratings)
Academic Writing Made Easy Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich) via edX Struggling with writing an academic text? This MOOC will ease the pain – and make your writing shine.
★★★★★ (32 ratings)
Getting Started with Essay Writing University of California, Irvine via Coursera
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.
★★★★☆ (13 ratings)
Introduction to Research for Essay Writing University of California, Irvine via Coursera
Course 4: Introduction to Research for Essay Writing This is the last course in the Academic Writing specialization before the capstone project. By the end of this course, you will be able to complete all the steps in planning a research paper.
★★★★★ (2 ratings)
How to Write an Essay University of California, Berkeley via edX An introduction to academic writing for English Language Learners, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing.
★★★★☆ (26 ratings)
Advanced Writing University of California, Irvine via Coursera
After completing this course, you will be able to plan and write a more sophisticated argument essay.
★★★★☆ (6 ratings)
Academic Literacy Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology via Coursera
You will learn practical tools and effective strategies for increasing your academic vocabulary and grammar so that you will write well-structured coherent academic texts.
★★★☆☆ (2 ratings)
Scholarly Communication Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology via Coursera
Scholarly Communication is a concise but comprehensive course on how to write research papers in English.
College Composition Modern States via Independent
This course will prepare you to pass the College Board’s CLEP College Composition exam
Writing in the Disciplines Professional Development Course (HE) Excelsior College via Canvas Network
This course on Writing in the Disciplines offers a modular curriculum that explores the meaning of genre, why and how to develop genre-based writing assignments, and effective techniques for using writing to enhance learning.
Project: Writing a Research Paper University of California, Irvine via Coursera
Welcome to the capstone project for the Academic English: Writing Specialization! This project lets you apply everything you’ve learned and gives you the practice you need for college classes by having you write a research paper.
Writing in English at University Lund University via Coursera
This course aims to give you an understanding of the conventions of academic writing in English and to teach you the components and benefits of what is called process writing.
Academic Research & Report Writing – January 2021 NITTTR via Swayam This course intends to introduce the learner to the principles, techniques and tools of academic and research report writing. After successful completion of this course the learner will be able to write reports on various academic activities including research effectively and efficiently.
Applied and Technical Writing
Write Your Screenplay: The Craft of Story, Structure and Script (free trial available) via Skillshare
Write Your Screenplay is delivered in short, snappy and fun classes by Joshua Dickinson, a screenwriter, actor and director who teaches screenwriting and filmmaking when he is not working on film sets where he has been involved in feature films and TV projects as diverse as westerns, crime dramas and zombie apocalypses.
Writing in the Sciences Stanford University via Coursera
This course teaches scientists to become more effective writers, using practical examples and exercises. Topics include: principles of good writing, tricks for writing faster and with less anxiety, the format of a scientific manuscript, peer review, grant writing, ethical issues in scientific publication, and writing for general audiences.
★★★★★ (9 ratings)
Songwriting: Writing the Lyrics Berklee College of Music via Coursera
There’s a songwriter lurking somewhere inside you, peeking around corners, wondering if it’s safe to come out. Now it is. This course is an invitation to let your inner songwriter step into the sunlight. All it takes is a simple “yes” and you’ll be climbing that windy hill, marveling at the view.
★★★★★ (21 ratings)
How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (Project-Centered Course) École Polytechnique via Coursera
What you will achieve: In this project-based course, you will outline a complete scientific paper, choose an appropriate journal to which you’ll submit the finished paper for publication, and prepare a checklist that will allow you to independently judge whether your paper is ready to submit.
★★★★★ (6 ratings)
An Introduction to Screenwriting University of East Anglia via FutureLearn
This online course explores the key concepts and fundamental principles involved in the process of screenwriting.
★★★★★ (3 ratings)
Technical Writing Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology via Coursera
The course develops technical writing skills necessary to communicate information gained through a process of technical or experimental work. The course highlights the factors that determine the degree of technicality of the language and concepts involved.
★★★★★ (1 rating)
Writing Skills for Health Care Providers Concordia University Wisconsin via Open Education by Blackboard
This MOOC offers a short study of writing skills designed especially for those in health care professions. If you’re looking for valuable tips on written communication and using APA formatting in the health care field, this is the course for you.
★★★★★ (1 rating)
Copywriting: Improve User Experience One Word at a Time via openSAP
In this course, you’ll learn why copy is so important for your users’ experience and how copywriting fits into the design-led development process. Domain experts provide insights and best practices, and by participating in the exercises, you’ll get practical experience in writing copy.
★★★★★ (1 rating)
Learn how to properly write a scientific paper, based on international standards, and effectively make a presentation to submit proposals for funding.
★★★★★ (1 rating)
Writing READMEs via Udacity
Documentation is an important part of the development process. Learn to write READMEs using Markdown so your code can be used by other humans!
★★★☆☆ (2 ratings)
Writing Skills for Engineering Leaders Rice University via Coursera
In this course, you’ll learn essential writing skills that you can apply in your daily activities on the job as an engineering leader.
Requirements Writing University of New South Wales via Coursera
Welcome to “Requirements Writing”. As the title indicates, over the next four weeks, we will be looking at the important task of writing of text-based requirement statements. The course takes you step by step through the rules for writing requirements statements in accordance with the “Guide for Writing Requirements” published by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE).
Qualitative Research Methods And Research Writing Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur via Swayam
Qualitative research methods serve to explore the grey areas that remain outside the confines of quantitative predictive research in human behavior.
English language for competitive exams Indian Institute of Technology Madras via Swayam
The course aims to help participants develop their English language skills, particularly those planning to appear for competitive exams that test their English language abilities.
Building your Screenplay University of Cambridge via edX This course will broaden your understanding of how to start a career successfully as a professional screenwriter, as well as offer you insights in how to maximise and enjoy the processes of your personal creativity.
Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.