• Course Introduction

        • Time: 62 hours
        • Free Certificate
        This course assumes you have a strong command of the English language. If you do not, you should consider taking our English as a Second Language (ESL) courses first.

        Effective writing skills are necessary for success in college and in your future career. This course is designed to improve your writing ability. Pre-College English coursework focuses on active reading and analytic writing, with an emphasis on organization, unity, coherence, and development. It also includes an introduction to the expository essay and a review of the rules and conventions of standard written English.

        In Unit 1, you will learn the basics of active reading and how active reading is paramount in your success as a student and beyond. You will also learn how to identify the main idea in a piece of writing and how to create a topic sentence that conveys the main idea in your own writing. You will discover the benefits of prewriting and will learn prewriting techniques that can be used at the onset of any writing project. In Unit 2, you will delve deeper into the main idea by learning the basics of thesis statements while developing strong thesis statements of your own. You will also learn the value of outlines in writing and some techniques to help you outline effectively. Units 3 and 4 continue to explore active reading by focusing on making inferences and paraphrasing material for use in your own writing. Unit 5 wraps up the writing process by providing strategies for writing introductions and conclusions. You will explore various types of essays, and you will apply skills and strategies from across the course to craft an essay of your own. All of the units include grammar basics to facilitate your continued growth as a writer. Each unit will also include active reading practice, allowing you to apply learned skills throughout the course.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: Active Reading

          You will begin this course by reviewing the benefits of active reading. Successful students – and successful readers – approach reading with strategies to help them get the most out of their reading. These students actively look for main ideas and major themes, words they do not understand, and the purpose (why the piece was written) of what they are reading. In this unit, we will cover strategies to improve your active reading skills. Active reading will help you increase reading comprehension and will ensure that you retain the content. This unit will also cover creating a basic sentence and prewriting techniques to help improve your writing.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 14 hours.

        • Unit 2: Combining Ideas

          In the previous unit you mastered different prewriting strategies. These strategies will help you discover information, but a paragraph isn't merely a list of facts. A paragraph presents your ideas about a topic and then uses specific examples from other sources to structure your information, develop your ideas, and support your conclusions. In order to do this, the sentences in a paragraph must work together. When sentences work together, the writing flows effortlessly and makes it easier for your audience to read your work and understand the development of your ideas. This unit will teach you how to compose effective paragraphs. It will also discuss the power of an effective thesis statement and will give you the information you need to create powerful thesis statements in your own writing.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

        • Unit 3: Making Inferences

          In this unit, you will discover the importance of making inferences. Making inferences is a reading comprehension strategy that will help you learn, remember, and apply what you've read. Another way of thinking about making inferences is learning to read between the lines. In other words, you will learn to draw conclusions from what the author has implied. What are the relationships between the main ideas and the subordinate ideas? Writers often convey meaning beyond the actual words. This unit will also continue to add to your grammar knowledge by introducing the semicolon and colon and showing how these types of punctuation can help you to convey your points. This unit will also discuss proofreading and enable you to read between the lines of your own writing.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 9 hours.

        • Unit 4: Transitions and Summarization

          Whether your goal in a particular piece of writing is to persuade, inform, or entertain your readers, you need to help readers understand how your arguments, evidence, and conclusions fit together. This unit will teach you about transitions. Transitions are words and expressions that signal logical relationships between ideas in a text. When a writer uses transitions effectively, they guide the reader through the text and the reader understands how each piece of information relates to other information they've read. This unit will focus on transitions and summarization to organize your writing and orient your readers. You will also learn about plagiarism and how to avoid plagiarism in your writing. Grammar practice in this unit will focus on the use of quotation marks and apostrophes.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

        • Unit 5: Introductions and Conclusions

          We've come full circle in our writing lessons. We will now discuss effective strategies to write introductions and conclusions, which can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. While the body is often easier to write, it needs a frame around it. An introduction and conclusion frame your thoughts and bridge your ideas for the reader. In this unit, you will learn the importance of effective introductions and conclusions, and techniques that will leave your audience with a great impression. You will also learn about different kinds of academic essays and strategies for revising drafts of your writing. We will conclude by combining all of the skills and strategies you've been practicing to plan, develop, write, and revise an essay of your own.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.

        • Study Guide

          This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.