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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Creative Writing: The Craft of Style by Wesleyan University

1,142 ratings

About the Course

Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language. We will study the use of metaphor and imagery, and demonstrate how clarity, grace, and inventiveness in word choice are imperative to a story’s success. Writers will emerge with the revision skills essential to all writers of good stories and good prose....

Top reviews


Apr 18, 2016

Great class for the content I needed. I audited this class and benefited from the theory discussion and practical exercises. The class guided me to improve my writing style which was my ultimate goal.


Dec 17, 2018

Lessons were well done, good mix of teaching and illuminating discussion between accomplished writers. Exercises are creative and well thought out. Feedback from classmates is generally helpful.

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1 - 25 of 329 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Style

By John L

Mar 25, 2019

I recently completed the 5-course specialization in creative writing. For the most part the course material presented was good, especially the courses on plot, on setting, and on style. The course on characterization was a little vague. From the syllabus, it looked like it would be a good course, but the instructor did not follow the syllabus and was often very unfocussed in her presentation.

The weakness with this specialization is that all the feedback to the writer is provided by peers in the course. This I found very disappointing. Many of the other students were honestly very poor writers, and as a result, the feedback I received on my assignments was very superficial. In addition, rather than being able to learn from reading the writing of others, I found for the most part that the pieces submitted by others were very lacking.

If you take this course, know that it will provide you some good information about writing fiction, but the feedback you receive on your assignments will not help you learn. You will need to find another peer group of writers to help you with that.

By Abhinav T

Jan 19, 2017

Excellent course by Salvatore Scibona. The range of subjects covered was so wide and the practical tips given in the course are really helpful. Thanks a lot Salvatore, a well-designed course :)

By Sayali V

Jun 25, 2020

The course is wonderful, but I have a complaint with peer graded assignments. A few students do not bother to write their own assignment and copy others' assignment. And it is very very disappointing when you get a review that you have copied someone's assignment, when actually someone else has copied yours. It was very disappointing to get such a peer review when I wrote my own assignment and someone else had copied it.

By Thomas B

May 8, 2019

The mandatory reviewing the work of your peers becomes a problem when there is no work submitted for review. I have completed all the assignments of week 1,2,3, and 4 and am waiting on other students to submit their work. It's been five days where I have received the "no work to review" notice. This is really taking the enjoyment out of this program. I'd like to complete the course sooner than later to begin my capstone short story.

By Leo R

Dec 18, 2018

Lessons were well done, good mix of teaching and illuminating discussion between accomplished writers. Exercises are creative and well thought out. Feedback from classmates is generally helpful.

By alejandro m G m

Jul 17, 2018

Beautiful course, I've been writing for years, and this experience has been of great help and polishing. You are creating great writers. Thank you for the opportunity and all the knowledge.

By Cornelia B

Jan 22, 2019

Don't start writing without doing all four certificates. It sets you on a right path and this last one wraps it al up! As you go along the four certificates you understand how to set your writing on a whole new level, isn't that where we all want to be. Scibona's team has a 'show don't tell' approach that even reflects in their teaching.

By Michele S

Apr 19, 2016

Great class for the content I needed. I audited this class and benefited from the theory discussion and practical exercises. The class guided me to improve my writing style which was my ultimate goal.

By Julie S

Aug 31, 2020

This was the best and most useful to me of the four Wesleyan courses I've taken so far, all of which have been excellent and useful. This one really showed me a tool that I'd never understood.

By Hiobi H

Oct 11, 2017

Merci à toute l'équipe de Coursera pour ce cours! Je le recommande vivement à tous ceux et celles qui aimeraient avoir des connaissances sur la rédaction d'une oeuvre littéraire ou fiction.

By David J M

Apr 18, 2019

Excellent teacher, excellent course. Exercises and reviews are very helpful.

By Maria J d C M

Jul 25, 2021

(+) Great course for the self-paced, self-managing student. The instructor is incredibly erudite and poetic, which made this module more challenging for me (beginner). I felt that this module requires a mastering of basic knowledge that I didn't have, as a beginner, and despite having gone through all the previous courses. Perhaps this is why it's the fourth course in the specialization (though one can take them in whichever order one likes) - the degree of difficulty of the subjject goes up as one moves on. The assignments were also the most challenging, but that, to me, made them more interesting; one needs to push oneself more, go back and review what was taught in the other courses in the specialization.

(-) The peer reviews remain the major minus of this and other creative writing MOOC courses. The tips on how to improve one's writing, provided by mentors, are excellent but rare, in my experience. The reviews by by beginners like myself - doing the best one can, offering constructive detail advice within our limited know-how and experience - are helpful but a small a minority. Many are too brief, or consisting of monosyllabic answers ("good", "great", "ok", etc.) I suppose it's part of the creative arts MOOC experience, all the people that with moderate to little interest in the subject that just want to fast forward their way to a relatively inexpensive certificate - no expense tuition and living costs, no stringent admission requirements - by a good university...

ALL IN ALL a good experience like the rest of the courses in the specialization. Recommend it to all ambitious beginner / beginner plus writers, with a word of caution about peer reviews - don't expect a fraction of a live class or work group.

Last but not least: THANK YOU to the teacher, course mentor M.L. Barnes, and the peer reviewers who took the time to write constructive critique!

By Alice L

Feb 25, 2022

The video presentations are excellent. The interviews with the various authors who share their experience and who provided key advice to improve a narrative were invaluable. I found this course especially valuable for tools to help with revision. My only complaint is with the peer review process. With my last assignment for week four in spite of conducting eight reviews of my peers' work, I only received two reviews and one of those reviews did not provide any helpful comments. I also noticed that of the eight narratives that I reviewed, two appeared to be "fake". The submitters did not follow the guidlines for the assignment. Were they spammers or hackers?

By Paula S

Jan 14, 2022

As a writer who hasn't had formal training, this course gave me insight to the craft of style that I haven't had. Very good mix of presentation, reading, assignments. Peer grading is not my favorite (mostly because of having to wait for someone to review my work and the varying effort/quality of those reviews); however, I find good value in having to review other people's work. It solidifies the lesson for me.

By Syam M

Mar 25, 2021

Salvatore Scibona is probably the best instructor as far as targeting his course to the beginner students. I really enjoyed the course. One thing I like to see in all these courses is direct review of the instructors instead of peer reviews. While peer reviews help understand, the one that truly matters is the instructor's and that is missing in all these courses.

By Keith G

Oct 21, 2019

I found this to be a very useful course. My only reservation is that some of the assignments were open to interpretation, so the peer reviews I received (and gave) were in some cases given from a different point of view from that of the author. That reduced the value of the feedback and therefore of the course itself.

By Le T L H

Jun 23, 2022

I did enjoyed the lessons but I wish the course on Coursera have strict rules for learners who are cheating. They really spoil the course. They didn't give feedback, leaving only one letter like "a", or "b" and they submitted inappropriate works, very annoying.

By Anne M

Jan 13, 2021

I enjoyed the course. There are some drawbacks... the peer reviews and discussion are not useful but the videos have a lot of good info and the writing exercises are fun and good practice.

By Natali G

May 12, 2022

The lessons were really interesting, but the activities were more description-based rather than style-based.

By Joseph S

Jun 29, 2022

As is true with the other courses offered in the Creative Writing specialization, the course itself is fine. The writing assignments are fun and sometimes challenging. The interviews with the visiting writers are interesting and the instructors for each course are well qualified. BUT - there are some major defects with the learning platform used by Coursera.

The most frustrating aspect of the learning platform is the peer feedback system. To be a good writer, one needs to hear critical feedback from readers that will help the writer hone their skills. In each of the four courses, the "feedback" was beyond weak, nearly non-existent. Most of the "peers" who reviewed my assignments would leave one word as their entire feedback. Or one dash sign, or one period or one comma. How is this helpful? It isn't and Coursera needs to address this major flaw in their platform.

In addition, some of the writing submissions that I received to read and provide feedback on were sometimes 5 years old. I understand that there may not be enough submitted assignments at any given time, but I would prefer to wait and receive fresh assignments so that my feedback might actually help the writer improve their skills. I'm sure that my feedback on a 5 year old assignment will never be viewed by the writer.

Unless and until Coursera addresses this annoying and frustrating weaknesses in their learning platform, these courses are practically useless and I cannot in good faith recommend them to anyone. It is for this reason that I am considering not completing the capstone writing assignment.

By Editha S

Feb 12, 2022

The exercises are really good. The lectures and discussions some what helpful. The so calld feed back from other students is terrible. Clearly a large number of students are getting credit and neither writing nor reviewing. It is extremely discouraging for the few of us really attempting to improve our writing skills.

By Duygu O Ç

May 2, 2020

This lecture helped me in some ways: I have now a clear idea of cutting a piece in a proper way or what do I need as the main subjects of a story. However, the guests speak so much that was really boring. Sometimes there was no meaning in it. Otherwise, the lecturer was fine and I like his style. Thank to him.

By Robert H

Apr 8, 2020

the least effective of the 4. mainly because the assignment was too limited and the reviews were useless.

By Nada D

Aug 7, 2016

Very limited teaching and contradictory assignments. For those with English as a second language be aware this course uses grammatical terminology but in a stylistic way and can cause a lot of confusion. Assignments are weak but as a whole for the four courses making up the Capstone just grit your teeth and get through it, the least enjoyable and instructive of all four.

By No n

Dec 7, 2020

i was initially grateful to have something challenging to during covid. The peer reviews were somewhat helpful but for the most part, I expected some instructor review also. That would augment the learners ability to give appropriate feedback. As we hopefully improve and move along towards capstone, the necessity of having strong honest feedback is essential. When I realized it was not to be I was sorely disappointed.

The quality of the assignments was sad. Students are trying to succeed and need honesty. Most of them sucked, including myself, however, it is not my intent to rain on anyone’s parade. I do not feel the instructions were always clear or in depth enough ( on giving feedback; assignment submission). The videos were boring and a lot of unnecessary chit chat. When reviewing the notes, the written sentences had spelling mistakes and other flaws. It seemed as though written robotically.

Is there any actual human with any valid credentials actually looking at submission?

You are sponging off hopefuls who continue despite the fact that they should be told to keep their day job.