List of Free Online English Courses and Workshops

Aug 17, 2021

Online English Courses for Credit

Free English courses are plentiful online and don't require registration or tuition, but these courses don't lead to college credit. Students who want to earn alternative credit for the courses they take might want to look for courses that charge a small fee in exchange for access to online resources. has this type of online learning via its quick and informative video lessons and self-assessment quizzes. Free transcripts are also available for the videos. Both of these resources can prepare students to earn real college credit.

Students interested in English can explore English 101: English Literature, which offers such chapters as:

  • The Renaissance in English Literature - Review the works of major authors of this period, including Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser and Ben Jonson.
  • Romantic Prose in English Literature - Examine famous works by Mary Shelley, the Bronte sisters, Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen in this chapter.

English 104: College Composition includes chapters on:

  • Conventions in Writing: Grammar - Study independent and dependent clauses, correct comma usage, comma splices, parallelism, pronouns and much more.
  • Parts of an Essay - Learn about brainstorming, thesis statements and outlines while getting info on the essay intro and body.

English 102: American Literature contains the following chapters and much more:

  • Transcendentalism in Literature - Study the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.
  • Modernist Poetry - Examine E.A. Robinson, the Imagist Movement, Edgar Lee Masters, Edna St. Vincent Millay, confessional poetry and more.

Free Online Non-Credited English Courses

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The OpenCourseWare project at MIT also includes several free courses in English. These free courses include the same material that was used in on-campus programs, however no credit is awarded.

  • Major Poets is an undergraduate class that examines famed poets through major literacy periods that date back to the Renaissance. Students can download eight sets of study materials, as well as writing assignments that focus on specific poems and poetry throughout history.
  • Major English Novels focuses on writings between the early 18th century and end of the 20th century. Along with studying noted authors, students gain an understanding of the novel's role in history and the development of narrative. Students can access an online list of books that are helpful for the class. Assignments on topics like Bronte, Austen, Rushdie and Eliot are available; however, there are no solutions.

The Open University

Several free English courses are also offered online by The Open University; these courses also do not result in college credit.

  • Exploring the English Language is an intermediate class that focuses on the development of the English language from the end of the 15th century to the 19th century. Many of the lessons include videos, readings and online writing activities.
  • English Grammar in Context is an advanced course that covers the significance of grammar in the English language and features of speech. Throughout the 15 hours of lessons, students learn key concepts and build their knowledge of grammar by completing activities online.
  • Language as a Medium for Teaching and Learning is a master's level course designed for students who are interested in English language education. The course teaches students about the role of language in the classroom, second language learning processes and the role of classroom interaction in second language learning.

University of Michigan

  • Shakespeare's Principal Plays explores how the writer's tragedies, comedies and plays illustrate family dynamics. Lectures can be downloaded online and students can access an online list of the readings for the course. Online students can complete this free course in their own time frame, but it does not award any college credits.

Utah State University

  • Intermediate Writing: Research Writing in a Persuasive Mode is broken into 16 sessions that teach students how to build critical thinking and writing skills that are key for understanding how to create a productive writing process. Students can not earn college credit, but they can download readings and assignments that focus on how to build an argument and defend it with proper writing and credible sources.
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