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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Writing a Personal Essay by Wesleyan University

81 ratings

About the Course

This class is the chance to create your personal essay or extend into a full memoir -- from planning and structure to bold narrative brushstrokes to the layering of significant detail. You will develop the opportunity to find your voice and see it come alive, amplified and improved, on the page. This is the chance to tell your story in a way that invites readers in; your story, written to be read. The memoir and personal essay are two of the best-selling and most universally acclaimed genres in the world of modern creative writing. Welcome to your story....

Top reviews


Apr 6, 2023

Previously I was interested in "autobiography", but thanks to this course, I am now equally interested in "personal essay."


Apr 21, 2021

Prof. Bloom is an excellent teacher. She is engaging, and her assignments are clearly explained and thoughtfully designed.

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1 - 25 of 35 Reviews for Writing a Personal Essay

By Liliane M

Jul 6, 2019

I am giving five stars to Amy Bloom, whom I also know from the 'Creative Writing Specialisation'. Amy Bloom is a wonderful instructor. Her passion is catching. Amy Blooms personality and forthcoming ways, makes you as a student, believe that you can do this. That is so wonderful.

To Coursera I cannot award anymore than one star and that is just for being here. Since the introduction of the 'Finish at your own pace' concept, it has destroyed any sense of being part of a community. The grading and peer review systems are not working as they should. The new concept, I am sure, works perfectly well in factbased courses, where two plus two, can only be four. But not in liberal arts.

In liberal arts, I see the writing of assignments and the giving and receiving of peer reviews, as a very important and integral part of the course, however, with the 'Finish at your own pace', it has been decapitated.

I have been informed by an employee not to expect this to change. Well in that case and once I have finished this course, I will change to another platform.

By Ann R

Aug 27, 2020

The course lecturer was incredible. I was so interested and engaged in the assignments.

By Rabia A

Aug 31, 2020

The two stars are for the quality of the instruction. For each of the four parts of this course. The rest of it is truly reprehensible. The focus seems to be on getting people to sign up and pay up. Obviously, for the price one can't expect any feedback from the instructors but peer feedback is a disaster. Most of the people I've had to review or who have reviewed my submissions have enormous difficulty with the English language. Some of them can't write a straight sentence in English. On the site we are asked to make allowances for the fact that English may not be the first language of the students. But this is a writing course—writing in English. People who cannot write in English should not be enrolled in this course. But Coursera seems to care only about taking in the fees. I'm surprised that the instructors—all of them successful, critically acclaimed writers and poets—should sign on to a project where bringing in the money (enrolling people in the thousands) seems to be the priority.

By Mark G W

Feb 18, 2019

Amy is great. I learnt a lot from her. I loved the course. The reason for the four stars is that I had to wait a long time for others to catch-up so I could finish the course. I find this extremely irritating.

By Rosslyn D

Jun 23, 2020

The quality of the transcripts is abysmal; every transcript is scattered with errors, including many which alter the fundamental meaning of the sentence. (Don't they proofread??!!) Despite the poor quality, I was motivated to write and I learned something so all is not lost. However, for a paid course, I expect better. It should also be made clear that the only reviews a learner will receive are peer reviews - there is absolutely no tutor/learner interaction. There is also a major issue with having to complete 3 peer reviews when the learner is told repeatedly that there are no reviews available! Very frustrating. Finally, although I enjoyed this course and learned something, Coursera needs to be aware that there are many other excellent sources of online learning and if they want to maintain their reputation (or improve it!) they need to up their game and improve the content quality and accuracy. I did complain about the transcript errors and was told someone would reply to me in 24 hours. That was a month ago so I'm not optimistic that anyone even read the complaint let alone dealt with it.

By Margaret L B

Jan 31, 2021

Amy Bloom offers her insights with a calm, compassionate grace. She is easy to listen to, and she does a remarkable of job of interviewing her guests. This course taught me to be a less afraid to share about myself, and allowed me to explore that what I have to say may indeed be relatable to others.

By Lorelyn D

Nov 19, 2020

Wow! This is truly helpful and insightful! I wanna write my own personal essay pretty soon.

By Susan B

Sep 19, 2020

Fantastic course, really loved it! Such intelligent, interesting teachers.

By Travis W C

Sep 21, 2019

This course is a great way to continue building writing skills.

By Dave S

May 1, 2020

The teacher is tedious, and just loves the sound of her own voice. Unlike other coursera courses (even within this specialization) we're not given prompts. Also, the teacher doesn't use the white screen every single teacher uses for the read parts of the lessons. Lastly, the assignments 2 and 4 have nothing to do with that week's lesson and feels random. By far, the worst of the courses in this specialization.

By Jen L

Feb 15, 2021

This was excellent. Amy Bloom is an inspiring teacher, reaching right into my living room with her clear delivery and that lovely conspiratorial smile that makes me feel a special student. I am a writer by trade but have never tackled memoir. This came to me by chance (fate?) at just the right time in the year my 98-year-old father died and I was catapulted into family ties and family memories by being an executor for his estate. This course enabled me to step to one side a bit as different memories slid in in response to assignment questions and I was able to look at them 'professionally' as I prepared and wrote and revised. I have also been privileged to read and comment on others' wonderful assignments and receive helpful comments on mine from fellow students. Thank you Amy and Wesleyan.

By John E P

Nov 13, 2019

Thank you Amy for all this great advice. I enjoyed all the videos but there was one that really helped me to get out of a rut and that was "Begin in the Middle". I started revising my book right away. A Little Distance was also notable. Five Nouns and Open the Window. I will be reading your words of wisdom over and over again. Unfortunately I had to rush through the Specialization because we're leaving to go on vacation. I managed to score what I could and submitted my assignments even though I knew they could be improved. I am so glad I managed to listen to all the videos in all four courses and I have downloaded the so that I can refer to them whenever I need more inspiration. Thanks again Amy.

By Wilma J R

Sep 27, 2021

Coursera is a wonderful educational tool and I have, since discovering the site, often signed up for classes but usually never completed whatever assignments came attached. I was determined to do so when I signed up for this class. The instructor was wonderful. Her instructions, her insights and her guest interviews all made you feel that you were actually in a class, not just learning at a distance. In addition to learning how to improve my own personal essay writing I really came away with a greater appreciation for the format and the genre. I also look forward to reading the works of Amy Bloom and many of the other writers she mentioned in her talks.

- Wilma Jean

By B E

Mar 12, 2021

I have taken several of Amy Blooms classes over the years and find her a rather engaging instructor that helps you push your limits and expand your talents.

However....The rest of the classes that are grouped with this class in a memoir writing specialization certificate do not have enough students to adequately and timely get mandatory reviews done or get grades. Weeks I am waiting, getting charged every month waiting for one grade. Take the class free and forget about getting certificates, not enough students will rip you off and piss you off.

By Jorge I L S

Oct 2, 2022

Muy buena información y excelentes ejemplos de cómo escribir tus experiencias personales en un libro para que sea leido y no sea aburrido. Tiene que tener propósito y utilizar algunos recursos literarios para hacer la lectura amena, para hacer un trabajo artístico. Son muy valiosos los comentarios hechos en la entrevista a un escritor y otra escritoras de éxito en el género. También son valiosas las recomendaciones al respecto de una escritora consagrada en el género Personal Essay que Amy Bloom comparte citándonos lo más importante.

By Mehdi K

Jan 13, 2022

The instrucor's voice and pace are very pleasant to follow. The materials are clear and useful, and I learned a lot. It encouraged me to start writing my own essay or memoir, so I would definitely recommend this course. It was one of my favourites in this specialisation. Room for improvement: - The last assignment did not really reflect what was learned that week. - Connecting students to writing groups, maybe another online platforms for writers, would be fantastic!

By Diane Z

Apr 29, 2020

Amy Bloom is a wonderful teacher. I love her style, her intelligence, her weaving in examples from various writers of the lessons she wants to teach, and her concrete and useful suggestions of what to be thinking about when sitting down to write a personal essay. Also appreciated and learned from the interviews she had with a number of writers. Very happy with the course.

By Julie H

Nov 3, 2020

This course was excellent. I loved the videos from each tutor. These videos helped to make the writing process easier for me, as it was apparent that each of them had been there and knew what was involved in shaping and honing a piece of text. The lady tutors were especially engaging. Thank you!

By Sandra L

Apr 5, 2021

I audited this course and I was delighted with the content. It provides the foundation, structure and overview of writing a personal essay but also many examples of how it applies to all writing. I took away a lot from this course and highly recommend it to everyone who uses a pen or keyboard.

By Alicia W

Aug 5, 2020

Amy Bloom is an awesome lecturer. She knows her craft well and cites the most awesome examples from published and known works. And I love how she invites other writers to the lectures! I learnt so much and so many writing techniques in this one course alone.

By Sophie F

Jul 8, 2020

I loved all of the prompts that we were given in this class, and I loved the length limitations or the things we were told to add to our work, including sounds and actions, two things my work often lacks. The instructions made me a stronger writer.

By Bilge M

Dec 19, 2022

This is an excellent course and I am very glad about what I have learned so far. However, I realized that this is not what I'm looking for right now. I will be happy to join again later when I'm ready to write about myself.

By In-Ho K

Apr 7, 2023

Previously I was interested in "autobiography", but thanks to this course, I am now equally interested in "personal essay."

By Suzanne M

Apr 22, 2021

Prof. Bloom is an excellent teacher. She is engaging, and her assignments are clearly explained and thoughtfully designed.


Nov 6, 2019

Amy Bloom has a wealth of information to share and she leads the learner through complex ideas with ease.