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List of Free Online Editing Courses

See our list of the top free online editing courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that is right for you.

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Online Editing Courses for Credit

While free online courses strictly on editing are scarce, several online resources cover the mechanics and style issues both writers and editors need to master. Students should be aware that the providers of these learning materials don't confer credit for using them, and students don't have access to instructors.

Study.com, however, offers several online courses designed for web learners who would like to turn their study time into real college credit.

The English 104: College Composition course includes free text lessons that cover topics ranging from writing structure and argumentation to techniques for detecting mechanical errors. For a fee that's significantly less than the cost of a traditional course, registered members can also watch short video lessons and take multiple-choice quizzes to assess their understanding of the content. Some of the chapters in this course are listed below:

  • Conventions in Writing: Usage - Learn how to develop good diction and write clear sentences that are free of mixed structures and faulty comparisons. Instructors also cover the proper use of phrasal verbs and idioms.
  • Conventions in Writing: Grammar - Lessons cover such topics as punctuation and pronoun usage, sentence agreement and subject-verb agreement.
  • How to Revise an Essay - Get tips for improving an essay's organization, paragraph structure, sentence structure and word choice. Find out how you can strengthen an argument's appeal.

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Free Online Non-Credited Editing Courses

Utah State University

  • Guide to Writing in History addresses a variety of style and content issues. Style topics are related to grammar and spelling, tone and word choice; content topics fall within the categories of theme, organization and argumentation. Some lessons include downloadable exercises with answer keys. A sample outline and essay are also available for reference.

Annenberg Learner

  • News Writing focuses on the nuts and bolts of reporting, writing and editing in addition to the legal aspects, ethics and history of journalism. The videos feature commentary by top journalists in broadcast and print journalism, and learners can download text versions of several interviews with well-known journalists. A download or DVD version of the program, in addition to a textbook, study guide and teacher's guide are also available for a fee.

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

  • Paramedic Method: A Lesson in Writing Concisely illustrates techniques to tighten up prose, like using action verbs and eliminating unnecessary words. Students can apply these techniques using the practice sentences on the handout.
  • Proofreading focuses on strategies for detecting typos and grammatical errors that slip by grammar and spell checkers. Some common grammatical errors covered are faulty parallel structure, comma splices and run-on sentences. Practice exercises in areas such as grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and paraphrasing are also available.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Professional and Technical Editing is presented through 4 lecture videos. Topics include how to communicate effectively with writers and support edits with evidence. The course covers editing in print and electronic media in several professional fields. The syllabus lists 4 texts, including style guides like The Chicago Manual of Style.

Open University

  • What is Good Writing? studies the attributes of essays and compare several writers' works, looking at consistency, word choice, style and presentation. This 12-hour, introductory text course may be viewed online, downloaded or printed. The course webpage includes a list of dictionaries and other reference works for various subject areas, such as Classical studies, literature, media studies and philosophy.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing and Publishing in Cyberspace comes from a 2008 course originally based on in-class workshops through which students developed critical personal essays for an online literary journal on American popular culture, Culture Shock. Lecture notes aren't part of the course materials; available materials include a reading list, which features links to online articles and texts that can be purchased through vendors like Amazon.com. While the assignment list includes oral presentations and workshops not designed for online learners, descriptions of essay assignments are available as well as sample student essays from Culture Shock.
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