10 Amazing Free Online Writing Courses

Do you have a degree or formal training in writing?

If you answered “no,” you can still pick up some crucial writing skills. There are a number of free online writing courses for the shrewd freelancer to take advantage of.

Writing skills are important for all freelancers. If you think about it, we freelancers do an awful lot of writing. We write emails to clients, we write content for our websites, we write proposals, and so on.

However, all of that writing won’t do us any good if it’s full of mistakes. You can learn to improve your writing skills at no cost to you.

In this post, we list ten free online writing courses. We also discuss what to expect from a free online course and explain how you can find more courses.

Free Writing Courses Worth Investigating


The free courses below can help you to improve your writing skills:
  1. Learn to Write a Feasability Study from About.com’s About U. I took a similar course in college. If you’ve never written a feasibility study, here’s your chance to learn how.
  2. Writing Interview Winning Resumes also from About.com’s About U. Knowing how to write a good cover letter and resume is important to job hunters, but it’s also a good skill for any freelancers to have. This course will show you how.
  3. Intensive Grammar Workshop also from About.com’s About U. A great, free grammar course for beginning writers, non-native writers of English, or experienced pros looking to freshen their skills. Remember that poor grammar could cost you a gig…
  4. Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical Writing from MITOpenCourseware. Learn some of the basics of technical writing by following the course notes and syllabus of an MIT instructor.
  5. Becoming Digital: Writing About Media Change from MITOpenCourseware. Learn how changing media has affected communications from an MIT instructor’s course notes. This sounds very interesting.
  6. The NetWriting Masters Course from Writer’s Helper. A free 49-page e-book on writing for the web by Ken Evoy. Learn how to write for the Internet.
  7. The School of Journalism at Wikiversity. This isn’t one course, but rather, a whole online journalism department through Wikiversity. Pick one course, or take all of them.
  8. Technical Writing. Again, not one course, but a series of courses through Wikiversity. This can be a great way to learn more about technical writing.
  9. Marketing Writing Tips from the HP learning center. Page through lessons that illustrate common business writing mistakes and explain how to avoid them.
  10. Creative Writing 101 free course on creative writing from Suite 101. Is creative writing your dream? This course contains eight lessons. Once you finish this course, you may wish to follow it up with their Creative Writing Workshop.

What to Expect from a Free Online Course


In general, free online courses differ from college courses or professional courses that you pay for in that you work at your own pace. In most instances, your work is not graded and you will not receive a certificate or any kind of college credit for your work.

The online course may provide materials to read, notes, and other links. It may even provide some interactive quizzes. However, you are basically on your own when you take a free course. It is up to you to make the most of the training.

In addition to offering free courses, many of the sites listed also offer college courses or otherwise sell professional classes and/or materials.

How to Get the Most from a Free Online Course


Although you may not receive credit for a free online course, there are ways for you to maximize the experience.

Here are three steps you can take to get the most from your online training:
  • Set aside a dedicated time to work on the course.
  • Give the course 100% of your effort while you are working on it.
  • Take notes and/or save your work.
In addition, you should keep a record of the free online courses you took, the link where you found the material, and the date you took it. This information can come in handy if a client questions where your knowledge came from, or if you want to brush up on what you learned.

How to Find More Free Online Courses


Free courses are not just limited to the writing field. There’s actually a huge volume of free coursework available on the Internet–much of it is underutilized because many freelancers are unaware that it exists.

Many of the sources I listed above also offer free courses in other fields:
  • About U is sponsored by the popular information site, About.com. They offer courses on a wide variety of topics ranging from Arts & Literature to Travel (and many topics in between).
  • The MITOpenCourseware project is part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, an organization of many higher education institutions dedicated to providing open learning materials. The MIT site alone contains over 2,000 courses in various fields.
  • Wikiversity is comprised of a large number of learning resources for students at all levels.
Of course, you can find many of your own free training resources by using the search engines.

What About You?


Have you already taken free courses online? Share links to the courses that you liked in the comments.
Also, if you take one of the courses listed in this post come back and let us know what you thought of it.

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About the author: Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Laura’s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.

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