• Course Introduction

        • Time: 29 hours
        • Free Certificate
        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 basic writing skills, emphasizing four keys to good writing: unity, support, coherence, and sentence-level skills. You will also learn about the importance of writing and some considerations to keep in mind when approaching a writing task.

        In Unit 1, you will learn why writing is important and how it differs from speech. You will learn how to identify purpose and audience and some important features of effective writing, including the four keys to good writing. You will also learn about prewriting strategies that can help you plan out a writing task. Unit 2 will go into greater depth about the first two keys of good writing: unity and support. You will learn how to write an effective topic sentence and support it with evidence. You will also learn about anticipating reader questions and using specific detail and description to make your writing come to life. Unit 3 will focus on the third key to good writing: coherence. You will learn about how to organize and connect ideas in ways that are logical and easy for readers to follow. In Unit 4, you will learn about the fourth key to good writing: sentence-level skills. This will include learning about sentence structure and avoiding common errors, punctuation, consistency, and word choice. In Unit 5, you will learn how to write a multi-paragraph essay. This will include learning how to write effective introductions and conclusions, write a thesis statement, and apply the keys to good writing on a larger scale.

        You should keep a writing notebook (or have a designated place to save your work on your computer) and use it throughout the course to write your responses to prompts and practice activities. This course will help prepare you for ENGL001: English Composition I. 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.

        • 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: The Importance of Writing and Getting Started

          Writing is an essential part of our daily lives. Whether you are writing a cover letter to a potential employer, making a shopping list, writing a blog about your favorite hobby for people who share that interest, emailing a coworker, or writing an essay for a class, writing is an important skill. When it comes to being a college student, you will find that writing effectively will be a key skill for success. In your classes, you will be asked to write journals, responses to texts, essays, and research papers, in addition to the writing you will need to do when you take notes while reading or listening in class. However, let's face it: not everyone enjoys or feels comfortable expressing themselves through writing. This course aims to help improve your writing as well as your confidence in your writing. You may find that as you improve as a writer, you will enjoy it more (or at least dislike it less)! After all, it is understandably frustrating when you have all these great ideas in your head, and they just don't seem to come out the way you want on the page. It's hard to like something you don't feel any good at! As you begin this course, brainstorm about your feelings and experiences regarding writing. What do you like about writing? What do you dislike about it?

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Unit 2: Unity and Support

          Once you have done some planning, the first two keys to good writing are unity and support. Unity means "togetherness"; this meaning doesn't change in the context of writing, where it refers to the ideas coming together and staying on topic within a piece of writing. Likewise, "support" has a meaning in writing that is pretty much the same as in other contexts. When we talk about support in writing, we are talking about how you demonstrate ideas to be true.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

        • Unit 3: Coherence

          This unit covers the third key to good writing, coherence, which has two parts. Coherence breaks down into how ideas are organized – the order they are in and how they are connected. When those two parts are done well, your writing will be a logical, easy-to-follow journey for your reader.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Unit 4: Using Sentence-Level Skills to Proofread and Polish a Piece of Writing

          Sentences are the basic building blocks for just about everything we write. For our sentences to come together to effectively express a message, they must be properly constructed, error-free, and use the best possible language to make the job of the reader easy. This unit will walk you through common errors and practice activities so that you can avoid and correct these in your writing.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.

        • Unit 5: Writing a Multi-Paragraph Piece of Writing

          At this point, you have had a lot of practice organizing and supporting your ideas to write good paragraphs. These paragraphs will be the building blocks for almost all of the other writing you will do both in your time in college and the professional world. This means that our next big step is to expand what we know about writing paragraphs and expand that to writing longer pieces that entail multiple paragraphs.

          While there will be some new things to learn, much of what you do in writing a longer essay is identical to what you have been doing to write a paragraph. You will still want to use those same three prewriting steps: idea generation, idea focus, and idea organization. Also, you will still be considering the four keys to good writing we have discussed throughout this course.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 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.