Tag Archives: Academic Writing

Online Courses That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

Being a good writer is, unfortunately, not the skill most of us are born with. It takes tones of hard work and, more importantly, practice. However, writing is an essential part of every learning process in any university or college, and that is the way you can show your understanding of the subject, express your thoughts and opinions. It goes without saying, in order to succeed, you have to write good.

Luckily, the art of writing is not a secret or mystery, and there are plenty of courses that can improve your writing skills. For free! Online, you don’t even have to leave your laptop or your couch.

So, just pick the one you like best of all and make progress with the best teachers:

English 104: College Composition writing course by Study.com. Designed for college students, this course will teach about essay and thesis writing from development of ideas to essay structure and use of different types of sentences or punctuation.

How to Write an Essay by Berkeley University of California. It is an introductory course to academic writing in English with the focus on grammar, editing skills and essay development in general.

English Grammar and Essay Writing by Berkeley University of California. This course is part 2 for the previous one, and it is focused on proof-reading and self-editing as well as the tone and vocabulary of your writing piece. It helps to develop the persuasive writing techniques and will be a good fit for future students who are applying to college.

Next session: 11 Jan 2016

Writing what you know by Open University. This free course is aimed to develop descriptive writing skills and encourages students to see more detail in the everyday world.

A Beginner’s Guide to Writing in English for University Study by University of Reading. This course targets mainly international students who began their studies at English speaking countries. It will provide you a brief intro to academic writing and grammar specifics, give the outlook on stages in essay writing. The result is a well-written basic academic essay.

Next session: 18 Jan 2016

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications by the University of Sheffield. The course will help to write exceptional applications whether you are applying studies at the university or college and give you valuable tips on creating outstanding CVs, cover letters and personal statements. The course will include a lot of practice, which enables you to collect a good portfolio by the end of studies.

Academic and Business Writing by Berkeley University of California. This course is focused on writing specifics for different disciplines, particularly for science, engineering, social sciences and humanities. By the end of the course you should an expert in writing statements of purpose.

Next session: 18 Apr 2016

Writing in the Sciences online course by Stanford University. Designed for science students and researches, the course helps to become a more efficient writer starting from the principles of good writing and grammar, and ending with reviews, publishing, and even such problems like plagiarism and authorship.

Tips to Develop Better Academic Writing Skills

Whatever you are writing – a thesis, paper, essay or research, your aim is not only to give some information on the topic and, hopefully, some unique point of view. What you should always keep in mind is that your piece of work has to be as clear and concise for the readers, as it is possible. It is a writing quality not easy to achieve, but getting such skills will make your writing truly impactful.

Here are the tips that can help you to improve your writing skills.

  1. Research your topic. To make your written piece impactful and with unique voice, you have to understand the topic and feel really confident about it. The more you read, listen, think about the topic, look for the answers – the more you actually have to say.
  2. Write a draft and re-write it. Writing a research paper of a thesis can be really overwhelming, as we all know, it’s a big thing. Start from small steps. Write a draft knowing this is not a finished thesis, it can be a section or a chapter. Write even when you think that you are not ready, not in the mood or your style sucks. That is why we need re-writing part. The next day or weeks after you will feel much confident and competent, and you’ll improve your piece significantly.
  3. Always edit and proofread.
  4. Get some feedback on your writing. It can be your supervisor or your peer, the aim here is to receive a structured feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your work, both the writing style and the content, too.
  5. Avoid plagiarism, as well as over-quoting. While quoting is legitimate and necessary, unlike passing off someone else’s content as your own, try to minimize it. The paper stuffed with quotes seems like a borrowed content, and this is not what you’re striving for. You may simplify and paraphrise, just not forget to attribute those parts of your work to the original source.
  6. Keep language formal. Try to avoid the casual everyday style of speaking or writing. Academic writing should generally be quite formal and impersonal.
  7. Provide supporting evidence. You may be writing about theory and not having some experiments or studies to support your argument (use them, though, if you have). Having trustful sources and bibliography is a must for any kind of academic writing piece.
  8. Have a clear conclusion to prove your thesis.

Strongly written academic piece is a positive image of you and a great boost for your (future) scientific career.