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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Memoir and Personal Essay: Managing Your Relationship with the Reader by Wesleyan University

190 ratings
90 reviews

About the Course

The blank page can be the most daunting obstacle in writing. In this course, aspiring writers will assemble a “starter kit” for approaching the blank page by developing constructive ways to think about the writing process as a whole. While subsequent courses in this series will focus on the mechanics of good writing, this course offers ways to think about the writer’s relationship to her material, and ultimately develop a writing style that is uniquely her own....

Top reviews

Aug 4, 2019

The information was given in such a way that I found myself re-thinking all of the stories I've written, wanting to explore other options and re-write from a clearer perspective. Truly valuable.

Sep 3, 2020

I really appreciate the professor and his classes I have enjoyed every single video and every assignment It is really useful course which will allow us to know how exactly to write a memoir.

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51 - 75 of 90 Reviews for Memoir and Personal Essay: Managing Your Relationship with the Reader

By Paulo B

Jan 27, 2020

The course widened my perspective of the memoir genre and helped me get the tools to accept the challenge of writing.

By Ann R

Jul 12, 2020

The assignments were challenging yet very helpful. I could try different viewpoints to see my story.

By Tom B

Dec 6, 2019

This was really a fun course. I feel much more confident that I can write an interesting memoir!

By Filia G

Dec 18, 2019

Greg Pardlo instills the learner with the insight needed to prompt the writer in you!


Nov 6, 2019

Greg Pardio has imparted valuable information. The pace and delivery style is great.

By Fanming L

Mar 24, 2021

I enjoyed the process of writing and found the practices were very useful.


Dec 30, 2020

I really learned a lot in this class and thoroughly enjoyed it.

By Emerson M A

Dec 12, 2019

I learned a lot, thank you!

Looking forward to keeping learning!

By Denise M

Jun 17, 2019

I enjoyed the prompt activities and the use of new terminology.

By Nguyễn Q A V

Oct 5, 2021

I am grateful to this course. It has helped me a lot!

By David J M

Dec 29, 2019

Great course. The writing exercises were excellent.

By Susan R

Sep 18, 2019

This was a great first dive into memoir writing!

By Ashley G

Oct 4, 2021

A​ frend and I spent entry a firt, Beau , age41

By Pamela J

Nov 1, 2020

I enjoyed this course. It was very interesting.

By Travis W C

Jul 4, 2019

Great course with engaging instruction.

By Evelyn R L

Oct 30, 2021

G​ood tips, well explained.

By Halcyee A

Jul 6, 2019

Excellent presenter

By Karen S

Jul 31, 2021

I​ enjoyed the content of this course, but it was a shocking entrance to the larger specialization. The concepts were quite abstract - I think starting with one of the other courses would be less intimidating. I did appreciate learning about the concepts and how we can change our story by how we frame it, etc. I could have used a bit more explanation and examples in some cases (like diageses). Finally, the writing assignments were far too specific and random! I found it really difficult to think of things to write about that met the requirements of the assignment. Usually, I just faked it a bit (eg., I didn't search out a headline from the 70s for the first assignment). The selfie vs. photo by someone else - why? It's just an added layer of hassle that is unnecessary. Finally, the last assignment, to interview 2 people about a shared experience, when we have at best a few days to complete the assignment, is quite unreasonable. I don't know anyone who would remember my first day of school in 1975, or any other significant day in my life. In short, the assignments should be less specific.

It would also be helpful, as a reviewer, to have a more detailed question. Most of the review questions said things like, Did the writer follow the prompt? And honestly I did not remember what the prompt was. Just reword the question. Some of the reviewer questions did not really match up well with the assignment, so very few people met the criteria of the question. I usually let it slide in my reviews. Finally, I agree with other reviews that say there should be a mentor or TA in the course to ask for clarification on things.

Overall, I do feel like I'm learning stuff and am happy to have a motivation to write. Thanks!

By Margot S

May 27, 2020

I appreciate the fact that the course was "free" (except for the monthly Coursera fee). The course is a gentle way to explore memoir and personal essay writing while still maintaining a real-life schedule. The lectures were in doable segments of a few minutes at a time. Greg Pardlo is a chill personality and it was nice to hear some of his personal work in connection to the course. Like most things, you get what you put in. If people don't do the exercises with care and time, there won't be much benefit.

Some lessons and exercises were better than others. I loved Context and Memory from the first week. The selfie assignment from the third week seemed to confuse a lot of people, and seemed like an awkward modern spin on a more traditional writing exercise. The final exercise of interviewing 2 people can be an effective way of exploring different perspectives of the same event, but I think many students (including myself) weren't prepared to interview 2 people. So seems like many didn't truly do the assignment to the point where it was supposed to help. The topics if the course kind of jump around. Not sure if it would be more beneficial to explore fewer techniques more in depth, or keep the variety.

By John E P

Nov 13, 2019

Greg, I have to admit I found Course 1 of the Specialization to be harder to understand than the other three courses. I am still somewhat confused about the Frame concept and Extradiagetic frames for example.Family interviews are not really practical for me because all the people I need are dead. Even the Selfie assignment was not really clear for me especially after reviewing some of the peer submissions.

Despite the above I think a careful review of the content of Course 1 will likely prove to be very useful and I need all the help I can get, that's for sure. I'm trying to write my first book so this entire Specialization has been a

By Suzanne M

Apr 13, 2021

I thought the first few weeks were interesting and the assignments thoughtfully constructed. The second two weeks had assignments that were either less clearly explained (especially week 3, but I thought that was the weakest week in general) or potentially challenging to complete for reasons other than academic difficulty. This course could use more polish and review but I did not feel as if my time was ill-spent.

By Marilyn G

Sep 16, 2020

Excellent course. It made me think, sometimes a little too hard. I had trouble with The diegesis and the extradiegetic frame concepts but as they continue to become clearer, I can see how useful the concepts are in memoir / personal narrative. I wish the course made them clearer than it they are really helpful. Thank you!

By Fran L

Jun 23, 2021

E​njoyed the course and the writing prompts. The prompts helped me to focus on my audience, which is one of the skills I hoped to improve. My only complaint relates to feedback from peers, which was often slow. Otherwise, I enjoyed and learned a great deal in the course.

F​ran L.

By Mark G W

Jan 9, 2019

Eye opening from a technical writing viewpoint but slightly frustrating practically as it took me longer to finish than I wanted due to relying on others to review my work. Nevertheless, this course has some vital information for writers. Recommended.

By Gloria J M

Feb 22, 2021

The last two assignments were difficult for me, but I learned important lessons which should help me accomplish my goals. I didn't understand assignment # 3 until I reviewed others assignments. I recommend this course if you want to learn to write.