A+ Essays: A Structured Approach to Successful Essay Writing

Learn the tips and tools of successful writers from a college professor with twenty years of experience grading essays.
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  • Lectures 69
  • Contents Video: 6 hours
    Other: 8 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 6/2015 English

Course Description

Many students become anxious at the prospect of having to write an essay or term paper. They don't understand the conventions for organizing essays, and they don't know how to manage their time and the writing process.

The result is that many students enter college without the skills necessary to succeed simply because they were never properly taught how to write essays.

This course aims to overcome this problem by offering a systematic framework for essay writing that removes the mystery and presents a clear path for moving from idea to outline to completed first draft.

A STRUCTURED APPROACH TO SUCCESSFUL ESSAY WRITING

The most efficient way to improve your essay writing is to focus on the key structural features that define successful writing at the essay level. An essay can be written beautifully, but if it's missing key structural elements (like a well defined thesis statement), it will fail as an essay.

This course provides a set of concepts and tools for thinking about, analyzing and fixing problems with the structural elements of your essay.

CONTENTS AND OVERVIEW

Students in this course will learn how essay writing skills are related to "deep reading" and "deep thinking" skills, and why this is increasingly important in today's world. You will also learn how standards of good essay writing are related to standards of good written communication more broadly. You'll learn why academic essays are structured the way they are, how essay style is related to essay structure, how to approach the writing process, and how to organize your time so that you can actually get the work done before the deadline.

But the centerpiece of the course is two detailed case studies. In one of them I take a short student essay that has some serious problems, analyze the structural issues and rewrite that essay from start to finish.

In another case study I take an actual essay assignment from an actual college class, that I don't teach, and take that essay from initial brainstorming and researching to a detailed outline to a completed first draft with a reference list and inline reference citations.

At the end of this course you will feel more confident about your ability to successfully complete essay assignments in school, and you will have a greater understanding of the skills and habits of successful writers.

NOTE: ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS LOVE THIS CONTENT

I have a lot of positive feedback about this content over the years. College and universities from around the world have paid me thousands of dollars to license the use of these videos on their institutional servers (libraries, academic integrity programs, etc.).

Here are some of the institutions that have purchased copies of these videos for use on their own institutional servers:

  1. Michigan State University
  2. University of South Florida
  3. Forest Train Academy
  4. Harvard Kennedy School
  5. Lawrence High School
  6. Wayland Public Schools
  7. Wentville School District

… among others.

But I would like to share this content with as wide an audience as possible, and Udemy is a fabulous platform for hosting it.

What are the requirements?

  • No prior experience is needed, only an interest and willingness to learn!

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of this course students will be able to ...
  • Analyze an essay assignment to determine exactly what is being asked and how to proceed.
  • Organize and manage your time to complete your essay assignment well in advance of the deadline.
  • Break down and analyze an essay in terms of its structural parts.
  • Write essays that follow standard academic rules and conventions.
  • Write good introductions and conclusions.
  • Construct an argumentative essay that follows good structural form.
  • Choose a writing style that is suitable for your essay.
  • Use a variety of software tools to help manage different stages of the writing process.
  • Deal with writer's anxiety and writer's block.
  • Conduct research and build a reference list for your essay.
  • Cite sources properly to avoid plagiarism.
  • Distinguish between different citation styles and how they're used.

What is the target audience?

  • This course is aimed at students who need to write essays for high school or college.
  • However, many of the tips and techniques demonstrated in the course will be of value to anyone looking to improve their writing.
  • Also, teachers and parents who are responsible for helping others learn to write will find much of value in this course.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Welcome and Introduction
A Brief Introduction to the Course
Preview
03:10
Where Do I Start?!
Preview
Article
Section 2: Why Are Writing Skills So Important?
Introduction
Preview
01:34
11:59

This lecture describes four benefits of improving your essay writing skills. The first is the obvious one -- better grades in school. The other three will surprise you.

Section 3: What is the Most Efficient Way to Improve My Essay Writing?
Introduction
Preview
01:13
The Craft of Writing from 20,000 Feet
07:14
06:56

There are a lot of factors that go into good writing -- spelling, vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, usage, paragraph structure, and so on -- but good ESSAY writing hinges on a few key factors. This lecture explains what these are.

Introduction, Main Body, Conclusion: Why Are Essays Written This Way?
08:41
How Essay Style is Related to Essay Structure
07:54
Section 4: How Should I Approach the Writing Process?
Introduction
Preview
01:51
Writing for Discovery versus Writing for Presentation
Preview
06:48
Why Rewriting is Important (And Why Students Don't Think So)
06:27
How to Deal With Writer's Anxiety and Writer's Block
10:54
Section 5: What is My Ideal Writing Workflow?
Introduction
Preview
01:46
The Right Way to Think About Outlining
Preview
07:12
My Ideal Writing Workflow
05:31
Tools for Mind-Mapping, Outlining and Drafting
14:44
The Writing Tools I Use: A Quick Introduction to Scrivener and Evernote
11:10
Section 6: What Does a Structured Approach to Essay Writing Look Like?
Introduction
Preview
00:59
Two Kinds of Structure to Keep in Mind
09:18
A Structured Approach to Essay Writing Using Scrivener
10:58
Download the Essay Writing Template
Article
A Short Essay Demo Using a Structured Essay Writing Template
12:48
Section 7: Follow Along As I Write a Real College Essay From Start to Finish
Introduction
Preview
01:18
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 1 - The Assignment
08:36
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 2 - Initial Research
09:25
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 3 - Outlining
Preview
13:02
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 4 - Drafts
07:59
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 5 - References and Citations
12:07
Section 8: How Can I Improve My Writing Style?
Introduction
Preview
01:46
The #1 Misconception About Writing Style
Preview
04:26
Oratorical Style, Prophetic Style and Romantic Style
06:00
Practical Style, Reflexive Style and Academic Style
07:03
Classic Style: Prose as a Window Into the World
06:26
Classic Style as an Antidote to Bad Writing
10:51
Section 9: How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay
Preliminary Comments
Preview
01:06
A Note About URLs in the Videos in This Section
Article
Introduction
04:12
The Minimal Five-Part Structure of a Good Argumentative Essay
Preview
09:50
Writing the Introduction
07:12
Writing the Conclusion
02:38
The Essay: "Should Teachers Be Allowed to Ban Laptops in Classrooms?"
01:06
Analysis: The Introduction
03:02
Analysis: First Argument
04:03
Analysis: Second Argument
01:46
Analysis: Third Argument
04:01
Analysis of the Main Body: Evaluation and Recommendations
11:10
Analysis: The Conclusion
06:57
The Essay: An Improved Version
01:39
The Essay: An Improved Version with Commentary
08:33
Section 10: What is Plagiarism and How Can I Avoid It?
Preliminary Comments
Preview
02:34
Introduction
01:10
What is Plagiarism?
01:17
Downloading and Buying Whole Papers
02:47
Cutting and Pasting From Several Sources
02:08
Changing Some Words But Copying Whole Phrases
Preview
01:04
Paraphrasing Without Attribution
01:04
The Debate Over Patchwriting
02:00
Section 11: How Should I Cite Sources in My Essay?
Introduction
Preview
00:44
When Should I Cite a Source?
01:46
What Needs To Be Cited?
01:00
How to Cite: Mark the Boundaries
Preview
02:00
Citing Exact Words
01:48
Citing a Longer Quotation
01:26
Citing a Source But Not Quoting
03:24
Do I Have to Cite Information That is "Common Knowledge"?
03:52
Citation Styles: MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, oh my!
08:54
Section 12: Wrapping Up
Thank You
00:42
Bonus Lecture: Other Courses I Teach, Podcasts I Produce, etc.
Article

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Instructor Biography

Kevin deLaplante, PhD, Lead Instructor, Critical Thinker Academy

I'm a philosopher of science by training, and I've taught philosophy and critical thinking at the university level for twenty years.

From 2009-2013 I was Chair of the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Iowa State University.

In 2015 I left my tenured academic job to pursue a career as an independent online educator. I produce video tutorial courses on topics in science, philosophy, critical thinking and communication skills.

I currently live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with my wife and family.

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