Writing Essentials

Writing Essentials

Master the essentials of writing so you can excel at business communications, engage online audiences, and take your creative literary talents to a new level. This course provides you with the writing tools you need for success.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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Master the essentials of writing, and become the stellar wordsmith you always wanted to be! In this course, you'll develop the skills you need to excel at business communications, express yourself clearly online, and take your creative literary talents to a new level.

Whether you're hoping to get a better job, write for a blog, or publish your short story, this course will give you the writing tools you need for success. It's also a perfect choice if you speak English as a second language. With the knowledge and hands-on practice you gain from this course, you'll be able to express yourself clearly and persuasively in writing—both in your personal life and in the business world.


This lesson will teach you some important concepts to help improve your writing. You'll learn a strategy that will free up every bit of your existing writing skills and help you gain confidence when you write. Practice begins now with a new technique that will help you get your thoughts out onto the page so you can work with them. It's a great way to start on your goal of becoming a confident, accomplished writer. Whether you need to write on the job or you're eager to write for publication, this lesson will help!

Prepare yourself for some major upgrades on your ability to choose effective words! In this lesson you'll learn to recognize what kinds of word choices work and why. You'll come away with an understanding about word choices that cause your readers to feel confused or uninterested. You'll have the pleasure of discovering how to find the word you want and also how to goof around with words so you enjoy writing more. Finally, you'll practice, practice, practice. It's fun, so feel free to dive in and splash around!

It's time for spelling practice. Not only will you review problem words, but you'll get acquainted with 10 helpful rules and five helpful tips to make you a better speller so you can spell better from now on. You'll identify your own particular spelling demons and learn a strategy to cope with them once and for all. This lesson is filled with the kinds of resources and spelling practice you've been looking for.

Here's your chance to get acquainted with common word usage difficulties and master them. You're about to learn to pick the right word at the right time and put it in the right place in your sentence. You'll practice choosing between similar sounding words that have different meanings and get helpful explanations about the tricky usages that trip you up daily. By the end of this information-packed lesson, you'll be much better at picking the correct words.

In this lesson, you'll integrate all that you've learned so far—how to capture your thoughts, choose effective words, spell correctly, and master word usage—by mastering techniques that will help you write effective sentences. Here you'll practice constructing sentences that have energy and precision by learning four simple tips, deciding which words to take out, and communicating your ideas logically.

Whisk through a handy review of the three main punctuation marks used to end sentences: the period, the question mark, and the exclamation point. But that's not all. You'll benefit from practicing how to identify and fix run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and the overuse of dashes and ellipses. Round out your exploration with the challenge of combining quotation marks with the ending marks. You'll get a fine update on what works and what doesn't with this first of three full lessons on punctuation.

Commas! Yes, you can master their use. This lesson is designed to give you confidence in your comma placement. You'll learn how to use commas to create energy and precision in your writing. Instead of memorizing an intimidating list of rules, you'll learn by listening, clarifying, and practicing. You'll realize that you're in charge of your commas rather than being a passive victim. You'll get answers to all your lingering doubts about using commas here.

It's likely been a long time since your school days, and your knowledge of the correct use of all the punctuation marks may be a bit vague now. The emphasis here will be on how to use punctuation marks like semicolons, colons, dashes, parentheses, ellipses, apostrophes, quotation marks, italics, and hyphens. You'll acquire a new understanding of the way these marks help you. You'll gain this understanding by discovering, through practice, how to punctuate for clarity and how to help your readers hear the way you want your words to sound.

You're building your knowledge brick by brick, and now it's time to tackle the most powerful organizing tool of all writing—the paragraph. Here you'll find tips on how to organize a paragraph, where to break one paragraph and start another, and how to sequence paragraphs for optimum understanding. As always, you'll get to practice these skills as you go, solidifying your knowledge and gaining new confidence. Dive in!

Now it's time to find out how to put your writing into the right format so that you can communicate with power and precision. Formatting appeals to the eye of your readers and draws them into your content. It's a powerful tool and one that involves some creative choices on your part. Get ready to learn about your choices for overall form, as well as how to use basic and specific formatting tools to make your writing highly readable.

Learn how to write effectively in today's electronic world. Explore how the techniques of writing various types of electronic media such as email, instant messages, and text messages, for example, differ from the techniques used to prepare messages that will be read on paper. It's a new world, and new rules are necessary to help you communicate well. This lesson will help you discover what works and what doesn't in these exciting and evolving media. You'll gain a new understanding of how to write powerful email, since it's the most common of all electronic message systems.

Time to wrap up all you've learned! This lesson will help you practice using your new skills, working from freewriting to a finished document. You'll practice how to use both your creative and your critical skills while writing. You'll find out what kind of attitude will help you use your new skills and what good habits will help you continue to improve each time you write. You'll focus on revision, work with a revision checklist, and review good tips on proofreading. Finally, you'll put together all the new things you've learned so that your writing will continue to improve over time.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Ann Linquist

Ann Linquist is a continuing education instructor on college campuses, at corporations, and with non-profit organizations. She has helped thousands of adults learn to tackle their writing tasks with enthusiasm. Having written everything from novels to newsletters, articles to ad copy, Linquist is able to address the writing needs of each individual. The breadth of her background ensures a powerful, involving learning experience that builds on the strengths of each participant.

Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.


I have been taking writing courses for the past two years and I just want to say that I found your course to be nothing short of excellent. The lessons from this course will be placed in the top drawer of my writer's toolbox. Thank you.

Thank you! This course is fabulous. I feel competent and with some practice and my resource materials have confidence I will only improve. Again, thanks!

Excellent instructor--teaches on many levels. I appreciate that the material offered allows students to go deeper and further into their studies, if they wish.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and the enormous amount of material offered for skill exercises and development. I learned so much more than I remembered learning in school and I will refer back to the material as I continue to write meeting minutes for my admin position. The instructor provided sufficient information and was great!

This instructor has once again exceeded my expectations in designing a course in a manner that encouraged me to enjoy learning. I feel that, more than in other courses I've taken, the design of this course and the attitude of the instructor has resulted in my maximum retention and practical application of the material. Thanks so much.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class and have already seen an improvement in my writing skills. I am a copywriter at a advertising firm and before taking this class was experiencing a lot of frustration with my writing. Your approach to free writing along with proofing has helped me not only express myself better but also improved my organizational and proofing skills. Thank you!

This course was challenging, but I enjoyed every minute of it! Now I know my grammatical weaknesses and I can work on improving them.

Thank you, Ann! This course was very well put together and easy to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to brush up on punctuation and writing skills. Thanks again!

This course was amazing. There were numerous examples and the learning material was the equivalent of a college textbook (knowledge-wise). I just can't say enough about this class. It was great!

I'm in grad school for nursing. I've been a RN for six years and was told I need to sharpen up on my writing skills for the remainder of my schooling. I was not thrilled about taking any writing course, but I will say this class has helped me a lot. I'm glad I took this course! Thank you for making this course easy to understand!

Instructor-Moderated Course Code: wre