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Offer: Free Online Course (at Coursera) - Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade (From May 13th 2013 on = 5 weeks long)

Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade - Learn to become an effective builder of sentences using the basic tools of grammar, punctuation, and writing

Lawrence (Larry) Barkley - Mt. San Jacinto College, CA, USA
Ted Blake - Mt. San Jacinto College, CA, USA

Workload: 4-5 hours/week

May 13th 2013 (5 weeks long)

About the Course
Learn to become an effective builder of sentences using the basic tools of grammar, punctuation, and writing. By dedicating yourself to the craft of writing, you will learn to develop the four basic sentence types into a well-organized, detailed paragraph.
This course is designed for anyone who wants to become a better writer. If you need to write more clearly for work, prepare for a placement test for a college, or improve your skills for current writing projects, this class will definitely be beneficial.

Students will be able to identify and correct some sentence level grammatical and punctuation errors.
Students will be able to develop four sentence types: simple, compound, complex and compound-complex.
Students will be able to combine sentences using all four sentence types.
Students will be able to develop a clear topic sentence.
Students will be able to write a well-organized, detailed paragraph.

Why would you want to take this course? There are a variety of reasons:
As a pre-Assessment activity
As a petition for English placement
As a brush-up for students while in writing classes
As a brush-up for students who don’t/can’t enroll in an English class
As a resource for flipped/blended classrooms
To become a better writer!

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Becoming a Successful Online Learner
Introduction to the course with a course navigation tutorial; strategies for being successful in this course and in any online learning environment; information about how you might make your success in the course useful in your future educational experience.

Week 2: Parts of Speech
Assess your writing and grammar skills; the 8 main parts of speech; the sentence; observing the world; why knowing the parts of speech will help your writing.

Week 3: Subjects and Verbs
Another way of looking at the parts of speech -- the building materials put to use in the structure of the sentence; thinking about mood, tense, voice; irregular verbs and infinitives; building your confidence with empowered sentences.

Week 4: Clauses and Phrases
Adding to your basic sentences with clauses and phrases; combining ideas and creating complexity; independent or dependent?; writing about your experience with complex sentences.
Week 5: Composing and Writing

The writing process; revision vs. editing; don't be afraid of punctuation -- it's about clarity and being yourself; writing a paragraph.

Recommended Background
The course is designed for three main types of learners:
College bound, underprepared students: Provide fundamental writing skills for college bound students prior to taking placement tests, saving them from spending unwarranted time and money for remediation should they be placed below transfer level. Successful completion of the course may be accepted as an alternative to a placement test.
Current high school and college students in regular classes: Provide writing support for any student taking any course at any time.
Global Community Members: Assist anyone in improving their writing skills to satisfy their need to be productive citizens in a global society.

Course Format
The format of the course includes video teaching sessions by your professors with real students, writing exercises and activities, discussions with faculty and tutor team members, and opportunities for meet up sessions using Blackboard Collaborate and/or Google Hangouts.

The course is five weeks long and will require about 4-5 hours per week of your time to complete.


Q: Are there any prerequisites?
A: No. All you need is a willingness to grow as a writer and communicator.

Q: I really want to learn to correct the mistakes I always make when writing. Is this the class for me?
A: Yes, but we would like for you to focus on becoming a stronger writer first. If you know how to craft a sentence correctly, you will not be making the same errors AND can free yourself to become a strong communicator.

Q: Will I learn everything there is to know about grammar in this course?

A: No, but you will learn as much as we feel that you need to write a well-written, focused, and detailed paragraph. Throughout the course, we have suggested websites and texts that you can reference for further information about any of the topics covered.

Q: Do I need to purchase any textbooks for the course?
A: No. However, if you would like a book, find a writing reference book that you like to keep on your desk as you continue to develop as a writer!

Q: Can I get college credit for this course?
A: Not usually. This course was designed to prepare students for basic writing courses and/or to refresh their skills. However, the completion of this course may give you credit towards advancing to higher level English courses. Check with the school you are planning to attend for their recommendation about this issue.

Q: Will I get a statement of accomplishment after taking this course?
A: Yes. Students who successfully complete this course will receive a statement of accomplishment including the students final writing sample form the course.

Q: Can online students ask questions and/or contact the professor?
A: Yes, but not directly. There is a Q&A forum in which students rank questions and answers, so that the most important questions and the best answers bubble to the top. Teaching staff will monitor these forums, so that important questions not answered by other students can be addressed.


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