Online course: English Composition I

Dates: any time

Duration: 25 hours

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 out of 664 ratings (see top rating courses here)

Participating countries: any country

Apply here: Application form

Organizer: Duke University at Coursera


  • FREE
  • $49 with sharable certificate

English Composition I

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



WEEK 1: 1 hour to complete

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.

I am a Writer
Responding to Others’ Writing
What is Academic Writing?
Understanding Your Writing Process

WEEK 2: 4 hours to complete

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.

Active Reading
Integrating Evidence
Moving from Discussion to Draft
Schools of Citation
Critical Review Writing Workshop
Daniel Coyle, “The Sweet Spot”
Academic Writing Resources
Critical Review Writing Project
Critical Review Examples

WEEK 3: 4 hours to complete

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.

Selecting Your Area of Expertise
What is a Draft?
Reading Visual Images
Using Images in Scholarly Writing
Effective Claims
Responding Towards Revision
Feedback on Visual Analysis Draft
Workshopping Writing
Visual Analysis Writing Workshop
Geoffrey Colvin, “What It Takes To Be Great”
Visual Analysis Draft
Sample Essays for Project
More Resources for Visual Analysis
Sample Feedback Visual Analysis Draft

WEEK 4: 2 hours to complete

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.

Incorporating Others’ Feedback
Strategies for Revision
Crafting Effective Titles
Editing Strategies

WEEK 5: 4 hours to complete

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.

Annotated Bibliography
Spotlight Video_Scholarly and Popular Articles
Spotlight Video_Finding Articles
Avoiding Plagiarism
Intertextual Conversation

WEEK 6: 2 hours to complete

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.

Paragraph Unity
Geoffrey Colvin, “What It Takes To Be Great”

WEEK 7: 3 hours to complete

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.

Public Scholarship
Spotlight on Op-Eds with David Jarmul_
Active and Passive Voice
Enhancing Sentence Style
Op-Ed Writing Workshop
Op-Ed Draft Project

WEEK 8: 2 hours to complete

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.

Concise Writing_Reducing Redundancy and Making Words Matter
Concise Writing Part 2_Noticing Prepositional Phrases

WEEK 9: 1 hour to complete

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 Transfer
Special Topics_Creative Non-fiction1

WEEK 10: 3 hours to complete

Writing in the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Sciences
Additional videos that highlight differences in academic writing across disciplines.

Spotlight on the Humanities: Academic Writing
Spotlight on the Humanities: Writing Process
Spotlight on the Humanities: MLA Citations
Spotlight on the Humanities: Use of Visual Images
Special Topic in the Humanities: MLA Citation of Media and Internet Resources
Spotlight on the Humanities: Public Writing
Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Academic Writing
Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Writing Process
Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: CSE Citations
Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Use of Visual Images
Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Public Writing
Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Academic Writing
Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Writing Process
Spotlight on the Social Sciences: APA Citations
Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Use of Visual Images
Special Topics in the Social Sciences: Issues of Language Use
Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Public Writing