english 101 online course

English 101 is an online course that is perfect for students at any level, including beginners. The course will teach you the fundamentals of English grammar and vocabulary. All lessons are designed to be intuitive and interactive. The course content has been designed by experienced language teachers from US universities.

Our English 101 online course will help you develop the quality writing skills necessary for success in college and your future career. English Composition (also called English 101) covers five principle types of writing: argumentative, compare and contrast, descriptive, narrative, and persuasive. Lessons in this self-paced online course also highlight the importance of proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as explain effective research techniques, editing, and revision.

Completing English 101 online fulfills general education requirements in composition/writing, fits into our affordable degree plans, and includes one-on-one academic support (tutoring).

The Nature of Online Learning
As you might guess, learning online is a substantially different experience from learning in a traditional face-to-face classroom. To be certain, learning online is often more convenient and more flexible, and it takes advantage of technology in a way that is rarely seen in a traditional classroom. At the same time, many students have false conceptions about the differences between online and traditional learning. For instance, many students assume that the activities of a traditional classroom–lectures, class discussion, group work, individual work, etc.–are somehow replaced by a series of self-regulated and less time-consuming assignments. This, of course, is not the case. As in the traditional classroom, you will engage in interaction and discussion with your peers, you will be required to complete readings, assignments, and papers by specific dates, and class-related work will extend beyond what is provided in the course text.

This is not to say, however, that the nature of these discussions, readings, and assignments will be the same as those that might take place or be given in a traditional classroom. For example, class discussion will take place via a message board system, some course readings will be from topic-related websites, and assignments and essays will be submitted by way of e-mail. In other words, the nature of these activities will differ greatly from how you might have experienced them in a traditional classroom setting. This has its advantages and disadvantages.

In the first case, the time frame for class discussion will be much broader than that which occurs during a traditional class period. For example, in a traditional classroom, a discussion of a specific reading may last for 30 minutes; however, this same discussion online may last for several days, depending, of course, on when each student completes the required reading and then contributes to the message board.

Second, most composition courses, including this one, utilize some form of in-class peer review. This activity generally consists of reading and making comments on a given essay or assignment in a specified amount of time. In an online course, however, due dates are slightly less regimented, and thus students often finish essays and assignments at different times. In addition, peer-to-peer comments will need to be typed separately or constructed through the review function of a word processing program. Peer review in an online setting, therefore, is a much more complex activity, and there is little question that it will take more time than it would in a traditional face-to-face setting.

Finally, in addition to these differences, online learning also requires a basic understanding of technology that extends beyond what is expected in a traditional classroom.

Technological Requirements
In order to participate in English 101, you will need access to the internet, a valid e-mail address, and a word processing program. You must also understand how to send and receive both e-mail and e-mail attachments. In addition, in order to access the English 101 website properly, you should have an updated version of an internet browser, such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. If needed, here are links to download the latest version of these programs:

Internet Explorer

It is also highly recommended that you have copies of the following (free) programs installed on your computer for accessing and using sites related to the content of the course:

Adobe Acrobat Reader
Windows Media Player
Real Player
Flash Player
Shockwave Player

For a more detailed discussion of technological requirements, including directions for sending e-mail attachments and saving word processing files in readable formats, please refer to the FAQ section of the English 101 course website.

A Quick List of Things to Remember

  • All rough drafts and final drafts of essays must be submitted as e-mail attachments
  • All rough drafts and final drafts of essays must be submitted in .doc or .rtf format
  • All rough drafts and final drafts of essays must adhere to MLA standards and guidelines
  • A description of the course requirements can be found in the course syllabus
  • All assignments, paper topics, due dates, etc. are located in the Course Schedule and Assignments section of the English 101 website

Getting Started
Once you have finished reading through the above material, please take the time to review the FAQ section and the course syllabus. After you have read the FAQ section and the course syllabus, you should head over to the Course Schedule and Assignments section of the site. This section, which will be updated bi-weekly, contains the course schedule and all related assignments, including readings, online assignments, discussion questions, due dates, handouts, etc.

Course Description

Acquiring and developing the fundamentals of English composition is a vital skill that can be used in a variety of settings and situations. Being able to competently compose an essay and organize a thesis is not only useful in academic environments, but is also useful for business and personal applications. Learning and practicing the basic components introduced in this course will assist those in high school and college; it will help those who will be taking college and/or graduate school entrance exams. It will also assist anyone who is currently job hunting by helping them create coherent, concise written material during the interview process. For those already in the business world, this course will help you create written presentations and other materials required on the job. It will enhance and expand your writing ability and thinking process in the world of business. This course will also benefit those in supervisory positions where a great deal of writing is required. Lastly, it will help anyone enhance their personal written communication skills. Courses Frequently Bought Together:Writing Basics 101: Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation, Writing Structures ESL Basic Grammar and Writing Writing Improvement 101

Course Motivation

Essay writing, unlike fiction or poetry writing, is a method of addressing specific points that the author is trying to convey to their particular audience. While there is a myth that good essay writers are born that way, the truth is that this is a skill that can be learned. Just as with most skills in life or school, creating a well rounded, coherent essay is a process that can be learned, perfected, and developed with the right tools and information. And, as with learning other skills, practice allows you to become increasingly more adept at essay writing.


The first and most important part of writing a great essay is to START EARLY! It cannot be stressed enough that you must allow ample time to develop your argument, create an outline, perform research, create a rough draft, revise, and write a final draft. Most professors will tell you to start two to three weeks before your essay is due. However, if you have other obligations, such as work, children, household chores, and more, you should start even earlier. If you are one of the lucky few who has plenty of time on their hands, then you can start later. Never give yourself less than 10 day’s time before the due date to start your essay though, no matter what your time freedom or restraints are. Last minute writing will receive a poor reception and most likely, a less than average grade.EIGHT BASIC STEPS OF ESSAY WRITING

Whether your writing assignment is academic, business, or personal, the process of all essay writing can be encapsulated into eight basic steps.

  1. Choose a Topic or Focus on the Assigned Topic.
  2. Develop your ideas.
  3. Create an Outline.
  4. Write a tentative thesis.
  5. Research.
  6. Create the first draft.
  7. Revise (multiple times).
  8. Create a Final draft.

These steps will be covered in great detail in this course, but it is important to understand what they are and why they play an important role in essay writing. Let’s take a closer look at each process individually.PROCESS ONE. Choose a topic or focus on your assigned topic.

In some cases you will be assigned or will have a topic to write about. This is often the case with business or personal essay writing. In some academic situations you may be asked to select your own specific topic within a broader subject range. For instance, you may have to write about Shakespearian tragedy, but the topic may be anything you desire in that arena. Having to select your own topic adds an additional step to this process, but either way you will have to hone in on specific points related to your central thesis or topic so that you will begin to develop a clear idea of where you plan on going with your writing.PROCESS TWO. Develop your ideas.

The best way to generate the specific ideas you want to convey, research, or cover in your essay is to use the standard writing rules. With every essay, answer the following questions clearly for yourself:

  1. Who are your audience and what are you trying to tell them?
  2. What is the main purpose of your essay?
  3. Who are you? What image do you want to convey about yourself as a person and a writer?

Brainstorming may be helpful to begin with. (List a bunch of ideas without regard to exploring or judging them at the moment).PROCESS THREE. Outline.

Creating an outline helps organize your information, points, and components into a cohesive, clear format. Often, in an academic setting, an outline will be requested and required before your topic is accepted or your essay is handed in. You may use alpha-numeric headings or decimal. Alpha-numeric is acceptable for most uses but it makes no difference which you use. You may ask your educator which they prefer if you are unsure about which to use. You will also be supplied with a blank alpha-numeric and a blank decimal outline that can be edited to your needs and printed out for your use.PROCESS FOUR. Write a tentative thesis.The best place to start is to understand what a thesis is. A thesis is defined as a central idea or single thread of thought. The entire body of your essay will come from this central idea, so, when formulating the thesis for your essay it is important to be clear and concise about the main point you are trying to present or prove. The reason you should keep it “tentative” is to allow room for change if you find that your research will not support your original thesis (ideas). This allows you to adjust the thesis as your ideas unfold and develop as you research and write. This course willl expand on the idea of the thesis statement and help you to create one that is well developed and concise.

Accurate, recordable research is vital in supporting the thesis you are presenting to your audience. Without research your essay is considered an opinion expressed by you and only you, and not supported by any other documentation or proof. Performing research is a time consuming task. It will be considerably less time consuming if your thesis or central idea is specific and clear. If your thesis is too broad, you will see this as you begin your research. If you are getting too much information, you probably need to narrow down your central theme. Think of research as an inverted pyramid process. Start with a wide range of opinions on your specific topic and then begin to narrow your reading down to those which are relevant to your thesis.With researching the hardest part is often just getting started. So, where does this process begin? At the library! Whether it is a public, private, or school library, most of the documentation you will need can be found there. Other options for finding supporting documentation include the Internet, book stores, interviews with experts, and in business files. At this stage of the essay writing process you will be doing a lot of reading and note taking. You will read materials related to your thesis and then select those that are most relevant to supporting your point or points. You should, during this reading process, jot down the title, author name, page(s), verbiage and other information that is useful. 

If there is a particular sentence or paragraph that you may decide to quote in your essay, you should make note of that passage. Although you probably won’t use all of the information or materials you find, write down the information anyway. Later, during the drafting process, you can eliminate what is redundant or weak, keeping only the most relevant research for use in your essay. This course goes into more depth about the research process and teaches you the best methods of performing research for a well written essay.

PROCESS SIX. Creating the first draft.The first draft is exactly that, a draft. Often referred to as a “rough” draft, this is the first stage of your essay writing process. The steps prior to this were to prepare you for this specific step. This is where you take what you know, what you want to communicate, and what you have researched and put it all together on paper (or, more accurately, in a computer word processing file). Your first draft does not have to be perfect, you should not be thinking about grammar, punctuation, spelling, or anything else except getting your ideas down in a “beginning, middle, end” format. Most people start with an introduction, however, if you find, like many people, that you get stuck at the introduction and have a hard time moving forward from there, skip the introduction and get right to the first paragraph. You can go back later and add your introduction if need be. Make sure to create a backup copy on a removable drive, or email yourself a copy so that if anything happens to your original, you will have a spare. Always save your work frequently and make a spare copy at the end of the day.

It is helpful if you have your research materials, books, and other notes, on paper, and nearby as you write. This will make it easier to refer to them along the way. Just start writing.PROCESS SEVEN. Revise.   

The revision process is where you will put your rough draft into a clear, concise format and fix any errors or omissions. Prior to making revisions in your writing, you should use your spell check feature to correct any glaring spelling errors. Some useful steps for revision are as follows.

  1. Print out a hard copy.
  2. Read over and mark any sentences or paragraphs you want to change by deleting or adding to what you have written.
  3. Jot notes in margins or on a separate piece of paper wherever helpful.
  4. Rewrite (often).
  5. Check for spelling and grammatical errors again and correct.

The revision process can take two run-throughs, but this is rare. You may have to revise 3 to 20 times before you reach your final draft phase. Revise as many times as you need to get your essay ready for presentation. It helps to have a second set of eyes (someone else) to look over your work at this point or when you think you’re ready for the final draft. Sometimes looking at the same writing over and over keeps us from catching errors that another person will spot easily. Have a friend or colleague look over your pre-final draft and ask them to mark off any problems or mistakes they encounter. Don’t forget to also replace your backup copy with any new changes that you’ve made. 

PROCESS EIGHT. Create a Final draft.

The final draft is exactly that. It is the final printout of all your hard work and dedication. Don’t be alarmed if you spot a few problems that need to be fixed in your final draft or a few things you may want to change. Just revise and reprint if need be. At some point, however, typos, spelling, and grammatical errors aside, you will need to reach an end point. Some writers are never satisfied with their work, and could go on editing and revising forever, but this is not possible. Your essay will need to be presented to its intended audience at some time. So, print out as many copies as you need and call it a day. Hopefully, you did the work you needed to do in the previous steps and your essay is exactly (or nearly) what you aimed for. Congratulate yourself for a job well done!

ConclusionEssay writing is a learned process, just like riding a bike or learning to read. Practice will help you become a better writer over time. Create a clear thesis, brainstorm to develop your ideas, create a clear outline, find and use reliable research to support your thesis, write a rough draft, revise, revise, and revise again and then revel in the fruits of your labor in the form of your final draft! This course is here to help you create that great piece of English composition. 

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video   
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)“Extraordinarily Helpful”(1,520 votes)

Lesson 1. Essay Writing as a Process

Essay writing, unlike fiction or poetry writing, is a method of addressing specific points that the author is trying to convey to their particular audience. 36Total Points

  •  Lesson 1 Video
  •  Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  •  Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  •  Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2. A Review of Grammar and Punctuation

The lesson will provide you with a clear, basic refresher of the most important rules of grammar and punctuation that you will need when creating essays of any kind. 35Total Points

  •  Lesson 2 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3. The Structures of an Essay. Essay Writing

The first lesson of this course focused on the 8 processes of creating any essay. This lesson will delve deeper and discuss the importance of specific portions and the intent of essay writing. 33Total Points

  •  Lesson 3 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4. Outlining

Outlining will assist you in planning your essay and will help you to organize your information so you will have a step-by-step structure, on paper, to guide you through the development, research, and writing process. 33Total Points

  •  Lesson 4 Video
  •  Lesson discussions: Outlines; Writer’s Block
  •  Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5. Developing a Powerful Thesis Statement

This lesson will provide you with the tools needed to produce a highly effective thesis statement no matter what your topic or subject may be. 34Total Points

  •  Lesson 5 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6. Introduction to the Concept of Research

Accurate and thorough research is as essential to your essay as a well developed thesis statement. This lesson will provide tools and knowledge about performing research that will help expedite the process for you. 33Total Points

  •  Lesson 6 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7. Rough Drafting or First Drafting

Rough drafting is an important step in creating a well rounded, well written essay. 35Total Points

  •  Lesson 7 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8. The Revision Process

This lesson will help clarify the finer points of revision and teach you some tips and hints that have been used by academics and professionals to create a satisfying, well written final product. 35Total Points

  •  Lesson 8 Video
  •  Lesson discussions: Revising
  •  Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9. Writing Effective Introductions and Conclusions

This lesson will help you to write beginnings and ends that will have your audience anxious to read on and be satisfied at the finish. 34Total Points

  •  Lesson 9 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10. The Final Draft

This Lesson will teach you how to wrap up the loose ends associated with your completed essay. It is mostly concerned with the final tasks you must complete before handing in or presenting your essay. 33Total Points

  •  Lesson 10 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11. Introduction to Style Guides

Using the proper style guide is important in creating standard, well formatted essays. You can use all of these guides as you would a dictionary or other reference guide. 34Total Points

  •  Lesson 11 Video
  •  Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  •  Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12. Conclusion

Developing your writing to the point of achieving your desired results every time, takes work, experience, and effort. 54Total Points

  •  Lesson discussions: Final Course Poll – Your Opinion; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  •  Complete: Final Assignment
  •  Assessment: The Final Exam

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