Two faculty members of Michigan State University will teach a free online non-credit course which will focus on improving writing skills. “Thinking Like a Writer,” will be offered this summer by Dr. Jeff Grabill, professor and chair of the Michigan State University Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Culture, and Dr. Julie Lindquist, Director of First-Year Writing at Michigan State. The pair of Michigan State University faculty members are on a mission: They want to know whether it is possible to keep the high level of engagement that is characteristic of face-to-face interaction in an online setting.
The course is open to students who want to prepare for college-level writing, international students intent on improving their English writing skills, professionals who want to sharpen their writing abilities and anyone who wants to learn about the craft of writing.
The course, which will run from July 1 through August 31 will focus on the process of review and revision. It is designed to help students develop skills in persuasive writing and narrative writing; participants will also learn how to summarize texts and organize their thoughts in the writing process. Each student will receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses from their instructors and peers.
Grabril said that the students will help them – the instructors – answer some questions on online teaching. “We hope the course can answer the question, ‘Is it possible to teach and learn writing online and at scale?’” Grabril added,“Students in the course will be improving their own writing skills, but they’ll also be helping us create a new kind of experience for teaching writing to others.”
Those interested can register online.
“This course revolves around the work of revising writing, learning, and engaging with language and community. In Act One, you will explore who you are as a learner as you write about yourself and your language use. In Act Two, you will consider who you are as a communicator as you critique texts, persuade audiences, and collaborate with others. We’ve designed this course to help you revise how you write and to help you collect a toolkit of effective reading, writing, and learning strategies. Each episode integrates academic and social contexts (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, ELI peer review application) to encourage a wide application of the skills you acquire during the course.
“The skills you will practice in this course (like narration, summary, etc.) are fairly typical for writing classes at many U.S. universities; however our course focuses on you as a writer and thinker. Recognizing specific learning and communication practices and considering ways to employ them can make you more successful in future coursework—and in all communication.”