American Psychological Association

Better Writing

This course is part of Student Success Specialization

Taught in English

Kyle Smith

Instructor: Kyle Smith

Included with Coursera Plus

Course

Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Beginner level

Recommended experience

33 hours (approximately)
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Apply essential elements of the writing process to create an impactful and error-free written document that effectively communicates to the audience.

  • Employ writing tools, organizing strategies, and source discovery and integration techniques to simplify and improve the drafting process.

  • Utilize revising, editing, and polishing techniques to enhance a first draft, and adopt practices to stay motivated and avoid writer's block.

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Recently updated!

January 2024

Assessments

61 assignments

Course

Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Beginner level

Recommended experience

33 hours (approximately)
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

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This course is part of the Student Success Specialization
When you enroll in this course, you'll also be enrolled in this Specialization.
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There are 10 modules in this course

This module introduces you to your PsycLearn Essentials course. Find out what’s included in this course and how to navigate the modules and lessons. You’ll also learn valuable study tips for successful learning.

What's included

3 videos5 readings

Writing is a skill that can be improved with practice. We will start this course by exploring some of the basic building blocks of writing, including audience, purpose, and tone. We will consider some principles of inclusive language. We will then turn our attention to some of the tools that you can employ to make writing easier, such as built-in grammar checkers. We will also explore some of the uses for AI-generated content. And we will conclude this module with some techniques for getting started with what we call prewriting. At the end of this module, you will have some ideas for how to effectively approach the writing process, and you will be prepared for the next steps of writing.

What's included

11 videos21 readings4 assignments

Many writing projects require background information to create a context for the material in the document, and some writing projects require supporting information to provide credibility for the material in the document. This module will explain how to find, evaluate, incorporate, and acknowledge sources in your writing project.

What's included

11 videos23 readings7 assignments

Writing the first draft is probably the most intimidating aspect of any writing project. This module provides you with the building blocks for getting started and ensuring the first draft will form a strong base that you can build on for the final version of your writing project. First, we examine how to craft strong sentences, then we move to constructing effective paragraphs. Some tips for developing your introduction are presented. Next, methods for structuring and organizing your paper are explained. Essential elements of writing are explored, including the roles of arguing and persuading, and the importance of engagement and flow. The final section suggests some options for creating an impactful conclusion.

What's included

4 videos27 readings6 assignments

People often say they are not good at grammar, but, in fact, we are all very good at grammar. We have learned almost all the so-called rules of grammar while learning to speak, mostly without being taught them explicitly. Here is a simple example: In English, the adjective (descriptive word) comes before the noun: the cute puppy. In Spanish, many of the common adjectives come after the noun: el perro (dog) precioso (cute). This noun-then-adjective structure is seen in Vietnamese as well. Do you remember learning this rule about the order of the adjective and the noun? Probably not. And you probably do not think about it when you write or speak, because you already know the rule and you apply it automatically. This is true for virtually all the rules of grammar. Writing is a little different from speaking, because there are rules for writing that do not apply to speaking. A good example is where to put commas. We often think of commas as belonging in writing where we pause when speaking. However, everyone pauses in their own way, so pausing is not generally a good way to determine where a comma goes. This module covers some “rules” for the mechanics (or grammar) of writing, based on Standard American English, that you may not know. Remember, the goal of writing is to communicate effectively. Incorporating these “rules” will help to make your writing clearer and easier to understand. It is important to point out that many of these mechanics, such as colons or modifiers, are a matter of style. You can make your own choices about how to use them. It is key, though, to recognize the needs of your audience. Apply rules that help your reader navigate what you have written. Use a style that helps you connect with your audience and helps readers relate to and understand the information you are presenting. Also, remember to be consistent in your choices, in order to produce a polished document.The lessons in this module are about various types of punctuation and about various aspects of using language correctly.

What's included

3 videos19 readings23 assignments

There are several steps in the process of finalizing your document: revising, editing, and proofreading, which is also called polishing. Revising literally means to “see again.” Revising is the process of improving the ideas, organization, and evidence of your paper. The term editing is generally used to refer to checking the mechanics of your document, such as the sentence structure and phrasing, to ensure the meaning is conveyed clearly. Polishing is the term used for the final, detailed appraisal (people are sometimes more familiar with the term proofreading). This process involves a careful examination of the document for errors and typos. The final lesson in this module will present some tips on productivity and overcoming writer’s block.

What's included

4 videos8 readings5 assignments

This final content module unifies all of the previous course material and provides concrete, actionable advice on how to improve your writing. The module is broken down by learning objective, with each lesson containing key takeaways, key vocabulary, and key visuals relevant to that learning objective. Each lesson also contains a check-up assessment to help you determine if you have mastered the material or if further review is required before the cumulative quiz.

What's included

1 video27 readings15 assignments

This module contains a quiz covering all of the material in this course. It will count for 30% of your total course grade, so make sure you have reviewed the material before you begin. Good luck!

What's included

1 video1 assignment

This module contains a glossary, course references, and a list of contributors to the course.

What's included

3 readings

This module provides a variety of information and tools from the American Psychological Association (APA) that will help inspire you as you complete your coursework and plan your career goals. Get discounted access to Academic Writer, APA’s online tool for writing effectively, as well as valuable advice that will help you develop and strengthen your skillset for learning success and future employment. Additionally, explore resources on various psychological issues. This module also includes APA resources on scholarly research and writing; a list of sites providing valuable resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion in psychology education and in the professional community; resources on a career in psychology; and links to career opportunities at the APA. You can also view videos that offer tips on dealing with stress.

What's included

8 readings

Instructor

Kyle Smith
American Psychological Association
3 Courses705 learners

Offered by

Recommended if you're interested in Psychology

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