Composition: Quality Paragraph and Essay Writing

An essay is a short discussion of any nonfiction topic or idea. The writer crafts it, shapes it, and gives it voice.
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Instructed by Amy Lynn Hess Academics / Humanities
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  • Lectures 11
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 6/2012 English

Course Description

This 10 lecture course can be used as either a review or preview of what it means to write with unity, coherence, and clarity. This is perfect for students already enrolled in a composition course who might need extra help, or for students and employees who might need a refresher after time away from writing practice. The course follows the writing process taught in most high school and undergraduate composition courses: prewriting and brainstorming, organizing and outlining, drafting, revising and editing, and formatting.

What are the requirements?

  • Microsoft Word or a compatible word processing program is recommended
  • Notebook paper
  • Pen or pencil

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Apply the qualities of unity, coherence, and clarity to your own writing.
  • Complete prewriting using a variety of prewriting techniques.
  • Compose thesis statements and topic sentences.
  • Organize your essays on an outline.
  • Effectively revise and edit your essays.
  • Add support and evidence to your essays to make your audience say, "WOW!"

What is the target audience?

  • College students who need help with academic writing
  • New writers who want to improve skills for blogging or online writing
  • Job seekers who want to impress potential employers
  • Employees wishing to improve writing skills
  • Students currently enrolled in a composition course who may need additional assistance!

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: The Writing Process Lectures
12:59

What's it mean for writing to "work" for you?  Aren't you the one doing the work?

This is the first lecture in a ten-lecture series about writing effectively.  When we write effectively, our words have power to enlighten, entertain, persuade, or give clear information to others.  When we see readers or hear from readers who agree with and appreciate our ideas, our writing has "worked."

In this first lecture we talk about reasons why it is important to be a better writer outside of the extrinsic value, and we look at reasons for you to stay motivated as you learn to write more effectively. If you encounter challenges, I offer a few suggestions for overcoming those, too.

When the video is complete, please finish the first writing prompt as a way to practice and retain information from the lecture.

09:21

This lecture introduces the three qualitites of effective writing: unity, coherence, and clarity.  I'll give you a few examples of paragraphs that have and do not have these qualities.  In future lessons I offer much more help and advice about how to repair these errors or ensure your writing has these qualities, but for now I offer a preview to get you started. 

05:25

Welcome to the third lecture in this ten-lecture series.  This lecture introduces you to the steps in the writing process.  Subsequent lectures will explore each step individually.

When complete, please complete the third writing prompt for practice and retention. 

09:59

This is the fourth lecture in this ten-lecture series.

There are three reasons to prewrite: to focus your topic in terms of what you're going to say, why you're going to say it, and to whom it will be said.

When you complete this lecture, feel free to complete the fourth writing prompt to help you process and retain the information contained in the lecture.

14:29

Yep.  This one is long, but thesis statements and topic sentences are inarguably the most important part of any essay or paragraph.

And speaking of paragraphs, I do mention an idea during this lecture that stems from an essay by Sherman Alexie entitled "Superman and Me."  Feel free to read the essay as an excellent example of a narrative essay and for more information about how paragraphs are like fences.

Writing prompt five will help you process and retain the information contained in this lecture.

08:40

This is the sixth lecture in the series. This lecture explains how to create an outline and why a writer creates an outline before drafting an essay, during the revision process, and as an active reader.

Although it may seem "silly" to outline short essays, they practice it gives you makes it much easier to apply your outlining skills to longer and more in-depth research papers. I have included an outline template for research papers in the downloadable files. Can you see how it's comprised of a series of essay outlines? I hope it's helpful! Enjoy!

Please complete the sixth writing prompt to help you practice and retain the skills covered in this lecture.

11:30

Remember those three qualities of writing: unity, coherence, and clarity? We have to apply them, now, to our prose paragraphs. It's time to start your rough draft!

To read more about coherence in an essay, you can link to my article “Using Transitional Words to Make your Essays Flow” on my blog, Gypsy Daughter Essays.

Please feel free to complete the seventh writing prompt to help you process and retain the information in this lecture.

10:04

To revise is to make changes that make your writing more effective.  This lecture discuss the "how-to" process involved in revising, editing, and proofreading your completed draft.

Please complete the eighth writing prompt for additional help practicing these skills and retaining this information.

05:01

This is the last step you need to take in order to complete your document.  In this lecture we talk about some of the rules and requirements you may be asked to meet by a client, a professor, a manager, or a publisher.  Your writing project is not complete until you make sure you have met all of the requirements.

You may complete the ninth writing prompt to help you process and retain the information given in this lecture.

06:10

Congrats!  You've made it all the way through the course.  Here is a summary of the concepts we have covered.  I hope you were able to use these ideas to complete a written product you are proud to submit.

Section 2: Writing Prompts One Through Ten
12 pages

These are the writing prompts that pertain to each individual lecture.  Completing these prompts will help you review and retain the information included in the lectures while helping you practice your writing.

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Instructor Biography

Amy Lynn Hess, Assistant Professor of English

Amy Lynn Hess is an Atlanta area poet, painter, potter, publisher, professor, and dramaturg. She holds a B.S. in Theatre and Interpretation from Central Michigan University, an M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism from Ohio University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. She has published three chapbooks of poetry and a textbook about sentence diagramming, and she is the editor-in-chief for her small poetry publishing company, Gypsy Daughter. She has been an English and General Education Professor since March of 2008, having previously held jobs as an administrative assistant, bookkeeper, sales clerk and product expert at an art supply store, librarian, high school teacher, tutor, properties manager, costumer, make-up artist, and managing director at a non-profit playhouse.

You can read more of Amy Lynn's work on her blog, Gypsy Daughter Essays, or see her work online on Etsy.

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