Content Writing | Screenwriting

10 Best Writing Courses on Coursera (Screenwriting Included)

Coursera started in 2012 and it is now one of the most sought after platforms for online learning like Udemy & Udacity. It has 47 Million registered users as of May 2020. While online learning is stated to be worth a staggering $325 Billion in 2025, Coursera will be a major player in this sector.

There are writing & screenwriting courses on Udemy which are very good. However unlike Udemy, Coursera partners with Universities for all of the courses which are offered on their platform. Coursera also has more downloadable resources in every course it offers.

So how will you decide which are the best writing courses for you? Don’t worry, I have done that for you here already. I have put forth a list of the best courses below based on the following criteria:

  1. Course Structure
  2. University
  3. Level (Beginner or Intermediate)

All the courses listed are in english. The list is as follows:

Sr. NoName of the CourseUniversity NameStudents Enrolled 
1Script Writing: Writing a Pilot EpisodeMichigan State University61,000
2Creative Writing: The Craft of PlotWesleyan University120,000
3Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting & DescriptionWesleyan University35,000
4Grammar & PunctuationUniversity of California, Irvine450,000
5Business WritingUniversity of Colorado Boulder54,000
6Write a Feature Length Screenplay for Film or TVMichigan State University14,000
7Better Business Writing in EnglishGeorgia Institute of Technology23,000
8Write Your First Novel Michigan State University21,000
9How to Write a ResumeState University of NY120,000
10Writing & Editing: Word Choice & Word orderUniversity of Michigan7,700

Related: 7 Best Udemy Courses to learn Screenwriting Online

1. Script Writing: Writing a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series

This is a project centered course offered by Michigan State University. It is taught by David Wheeler who is the Director of Media Sandbox at MSU. He has made many interactive games and worked with Electronic Arts and Universal. He has a total of 8 courses on Coursera in the writing & business sections.

Details of this course:

  • Free (without a certificate)
  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.5 (512 ratings)
  • 61,000+ students enrolled
  • 1-2 hours of study, 30 hours of project work

Let’s see what MSU is offering in it:

  • Develop you TV series concept
  • Define your characters
  • Write the First Act of your episode
  • Story structure & Screenplay format
  • Write the Act Two
  • Write Act three & revise it following peer review
  • Polish your final script & then submit it for final review

There are some great genuine reviews of people who have taken it and like David’s course. This course is a must take for people who love writing anything.

Register for the course here.

Related: Is the Screenwriting MasterClass Really Worth the Money?

2. Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

This course is offered by Wesleyan University and the instructor is Brando Skyhorse. He has won 2 prestigious awards for his novel The Madonna of Echo Park. This course on creative writing is the best selling course in this section on Coursera. 

Details of this course:

  • Mixed level
  • Course rating: 4.7 (2605 ratings)
  • 120,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 10 hours to complete

Let’s see what Wesleyan University is offering in it:

  • What is a Plot and the Harry Potter plot explained
  • Structure examples
  • Examples with effective scenes
  • A talk with Amity Gaige
  • Editing and revising your work
  • A talk with Salvatore Scibona & other writers

This course is simple and understandable due to the examples given in it. Register for the course here.

Related: 14 Best Screenwriting Websites to Learn Writing Screenplays

3. Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting & Description

This course is offered by Wesleyan University, Connecticut. The instructor Amity Gaige is a renowned novelist whose book Schroder was shortlisted for The Folio Prize in 2014. She has written 3 novels so far. Schroder was also named one of the best books in 2013 by The NY Times Book Review.

Details of this course:

  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.7 (919 ratings)
  • 35,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 11 hours to complete

Let’s see what Wesleyan University is offering in it:

  • Why persuasion is necessary to build mood, character & plot
  • A talk with Brando Skyhorse
  • The power of persuasion by Mario Vargas Llosa
  • Assignment overview
  • What is the Significant detail
  • 3 Reading by various known authors
  • 3 Phases of research
  • A talk with Amy Bloom
  • Another Assignment overview
  • The meaning of Genre
  • Historical Fiction with Valerie Martin

With a lot of case studies it is more philosophical than practical. You have to have a deep flair for writing to take this course.

Register for the course here.

4. Grammar & Punctuation

This English grammar course by University of California, Irvine has 3 instructors. It is the no 1 course in its section on Coursera.

Details of this course:

  • Mixed/Intermediate level
  • Course rating: 4.7 (11,359 ratings)
  • 450,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 19 hours to complete

Let’s see what it offers:

  • Verbs and tenses explained
  • Conjunctions
  • Compound and complex sentences
  • Adverb clause video lecture
  • Practice on adverb clauses, compound sentences
  • Commas
  • Parallel structure and practice

This course will help you write English in a very effective manner. Register for the course here.

Related: 18 Best Books & eBooks on The Art of Screenwriting

5. Business Writing

This course is offered by University of Colorado Boulder. The instructor Dr. Quentin McAndrew is referred as one of the best instructors in the University. This course is part 1 of the Effective Communication specialization section. 

Details of this course:

  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.8 (1853 ratings)
  • 54,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 13 hours to complete

Let’s see what the University offers in it:

  • What is Good Writing?
  • The mistakes that she made as a bad writer earlier
  • Simplifying sentences and editing unnecessary 
  • Organizing your writing
  • Elements of the Scaffold
  • The paragraphs
  • Grammar
  • Phrases
  • Email writing
  • Practice

Those of you wishing to learn communication in the corporate world there is no better course than this one on Coursera.

Register for the course here.

Related: 15 Best Screenwriting Podcasts for Writers

6. Write a Feature Length Screenplay for Film or TV

This course is by Michigan State University again with the instructor David Wheeler. There is no experience necessary, just an idea and the urge to write will do. You will be able to write a feature length screenplay at the end of this one.

Details of this course:

  • Free (without a certificate)
  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.6 (16 ratings)
  • 14,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 93 hours to complete

Let’s see what MSU offers here:

  • Creating the idea for a film
  • Create a logline and the dramatic question
  • Character profile and the 3 Act story arc
  • Screenplay formatting and software
  • Write a cold open to finish your screenplay and submit it to agents

The screenwriting software used by professionals is also discussed in this course. Register for the course here.

7. Better Business Writing in English

This course by Georgia Tech. The instructor is a lecturer at Georgia Tech and has previously taught English in Egypt and worked as a business writer in New York for newspapers, companies and business magazines. She has 10 courses on Coursera.

Details of this course:

  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.6 (93 ratings)
  • 23,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 14 hours to complete

Let’s see what the is in it:

  • What is a personal voice?
  • Sentence types
  • Compound sentences
  • Adverb clauses
  • 3 key parts of a proposal
  • Verb tense & Parallel structure
  • Connecting Ideas & Sentences
  • Nouns and articles
  • Where to go from here

This course is for beginner writers who wish to pursue a career in business writing which has a lot of scope anywhere in the corporate world.

Register for the course here.

8. Write Your First Novel 

This writing course is again by Michigan State University. And the instructor being David Wheeler. At the end of this course you will learn to write a 50,000 word novel. This is a 26 week course, but it is flexible.

Details of this course:

  • Free (without a certificate)
  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.2 (20 ratings)
  • 21,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 127 hours to complete

Let’s see what MSU is offering in it:

  • Pitch the idea for your idea
  • Character profiles & outline of chapter one
  • Writing chapter one & the structure of the novel
  • Writing the first seven chapters by week 9
  • Writing the final chapter by week 24
  • Submitting your final novel
  • Self publishing 

There is no other course which offers so much for free if you don’t want a certificate. And in the last video, they also tell you how to self publish your book

Register for the course here.

9. How to Write a Resume

This is a project centered course by the State University of NY. The instructor is Holly Justice. If you are applying for a job in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, UK there are some common rules for a resume. This course explains them beautifully.

Details of this course:

  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.5 (2054 ratings)
  • 124,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 6 hours to complete

Let’s see what the University offers in it:

  • The purpose of a resume
  • Foundation of a resume
  • Sections in a resume
  • How to write an action statement
  • Putting the structure & format together
  • Different types of headings for different jobs
  • Key points about LinkedIn
  • Interview with an employer
  • Common FAQs

There are some fantastic tips and modules in this course. If you have the degree and want that high paying job you have dreamt about since college, this course might just hand it to you.

Register for the course here.

10. Writing & Editing: Word Choice & Word order

This is the first course in the writing and Editing specialization in Coursera. It is offered by the University of Michigan and the instructor is Patrick Barry. He is a clinical assistant professor of Law at this University. He is the author of several books on advocacy. 

Details of this course:

  • Beginner level
  • Course rating: 4.7 (113 ratings)
  • 8,000+ students enrolled
  • Approx 17 hours to complete

Let’s see what the it offers:

  • How your words can change decisions that people make
  • Errors and insights
  • Technical tactics
  • Performing under pressure
  • Nuance practice: “Un-”
  • The Rule of Three
  • Filling your writing with compelling details
  • Practice

If you are having problems with writing persuasive sentences or even writing dialogue in screenplays, this course will teach you a lot more of it.

Register for the course here.

Conclusion

The courses above are the best writing courses on Coursera for any person who wants to become a screenwriter, author or a content writer. Tips and tricks from these people will enable you to become the best at writing anything that you have in your mind. It just requires dedication and consistency.

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