The first half of this course offers you the chance to think carefully about writing narrative prose, which is in effect a form of storytelling.  Thus you begin the course thinking carefully about what matters to you and why, while writing in a form that resists conventional structures. The second half of the course explores expository writing: making a debatable claim and defending that claim through careful analytic reasoning.  The challenge here is not simply to write with clarity and cohesion but to develop an interesting, engaging argument.  Gaining fluency in these two modes will prepare you well for all manner of academic and life writing.

Course duration and weekly assignments:

Fall and spring pre-college courses are six weeks long, and require approximately five hours per week to complete coursework and assignments. The pre-college summer course is an intensive four-week program that requires approximately ten hours per week.

The course includes instruction on:

  • Reading and writing narrative prose
  • Reading and writing expository prose
  • Peer review processes
  • Selecting a topic
  • Writing an introduction
  • Revising prose
  • Engaging with sources (e.g. music, cinema, poetry, psychology, etc.).
  • Conveying depth of feeling
  • Motive, stance, and audience

Course objectives:

  • Arrive at an understanding of what it means to write well and why that matters.
  • Write lively, informative essays.
  • Develop critical reading skills through the study of cultural and literary texts.
  • Become versed in collegial discourse through group discussion and peer revision.

Student activities:

  • Self-paced modules
  • Both independent writing assignments and peer critiques
  • Read and reflect on texts
  • Online instructor-led discussion groups
  • Essay projects in which you practice essay forms, select topics, develop your ideas, and receive individualized feedback.

Technical requirements for this online course:

  • Computer with an internet connection
  • Internet access
  • Internet browser
  • Headphones or speakers
  • Microphone
  • Valid and active Brown ID (you will receive these credentials upon registering for the course)

If you are someone other than a Student or Parent
Guidance Counselor, Teacher, Coach, etc), click here.

Brown University Online Courses
Refund Policy: Students who withdraw before the class starts will receive a full refund less $300 non-refundable deposit. Students who withdraw after the start of class through the fifth day of class will receive a 50% refund, less $300 non-refundable deposit. Students who withdraw after the fifth day of class will not be eligible for a refund.