Essay Rock Star Writing Course {Review}

10/07/2014
Fortuigence Review


Do you want a break from teaching writing? Would you like your student to be accountable to and have their work be evaluated by an experienced teacher? If so, Fortuigence offers online writing courses that focus on skills mastery and do all the teaching for you!

We received access to our choice of one of four online writing courses and chose the Essay Rock Star Expository Essay Writing Course.


Price: $57

This is ideal for ages 12-18, and I used it with Nathan, my 15 year old.

The course consists of online video, audio, and text. Nathan submitted his work to a real teacher who evaluated his work and offered feedback.

Nathan had to drop the class when I enrolled him in public school, so he was not able to complete the course. But, he made it to Lesson 4 out of 7, and I'd love to share our experience with you!

First, what is an expository essay?

The expository essay is the most common type of essay and is used to explain, describe, or inform.

Lessons and Assignments in the Expository Essay Writing Course:

  1. Introduction, Rubrics, and Pre-Assessment

  2. Purpose and Description, Brainstorming

  3. Organizing Ideas

  4. Free Writing

  5. Revision

  6. Editing

  7. Wrap Up

How it works: 

Your student clicks on a lesson title, watches a video introduction to the lesson, then listens to an audio of the lesson text. The text can also be read, and offers supporting links to more information - resource articles that can be downloaded and printed to create a writing notebook that can be used after the course is completed.

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After the course lesson, you click on Assignment:



Your student can turn in their work for the lesson in the box, or upload a document (ZIP, PDF, DOC, TXT, JPG, GIF, PNG or XLS) as seen below:



After an assignment is submitted, a red check appears by the Lesson that lets your student know that the submission was successful.



Once the teacher has reviewed your student's work, the red check appears next to the lesson in Assignments to let your student know that they can move on to the next lesson.

Credits and Grades

Homeschooling parents can assign .125 credits in high school English upon completion of Essay Rock Star's Expository Essay course. A grading rubric is provided and used to review their finished essay and a suggested grade is given for their high school transcript. The grade is only a suggestion and parents have the final decision.

Completion of all four Essay Rock Star courses would equal .50 credits.

Our experience:

First, we had to submit a writing sample. Except, we didn't have a recent sample! Nathan has been working on writing a novel and only had a creative writing sample. We submitted an excerpt from one of his assignments.

He was easily able to view the lesson, but I helped him with the submission. I also helped him through the Brainstorming lesson. He created a bubble map of his topic. His topic was "Tom has the most noble character in Uncle Tom's Cabin," which was chosen because it tied into our current literature program. I loved that he was able to not only choose his topic, but that he could use an assignment that I had already given him!

When he completed the Brainstorming bubble map, in which he listed three noble characters and their traits, we had trouble uploading a JPG file. I had to insert it into a Pages document and then export as a PDF to upload.

We also had trouble actually submitting the assignment and after waiting for a response from the teacher, we had to resubmit it 5 days later. Some of that time was due to the long labor day weekend, but it was disappointing because I wanted to work through the course quickly, and that slowed us down.

Feedback from Lesson 2:
Hi Nathan,

I think you’ve picked a very positive theme for a very tough book. Your mind map is clear and well-organized. Because of that, you’re going to complete the next lesson easily. Please move forward to it whenever you’re ready.

Thanks,

Ms. I :)

Next, Nathan created an outline of Tom's character traits with examples from the book. Because he is saying that Tom has the most noble character, he needed to include a comparison to demonstrate his viewpoint. He did not do that in his initial outline, but I did not say anything. I wanted to let his teacher do that!

Feedback from Lesson 3:
Hi Nathan,

I reviewed your outline and took a second look at your brainstorming assignment. Your outline gives solid main ideas and supporting details that will work well toward showing why Tom is a noble character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and we can definitely put your work there to good use in your essay.

However, since your plan is to prove that Tom is the most noble character in the book, he needs to be compared to other characters. In your brainstorming assignment I assumed the bubble sections devoted to Mr. Shelby and Master George were going to demonstrate how those two characters were also noble, but then you’d explain why Tom was more noble than they. Please add more to your outline to make that argument.

Additionally, for readers who haven’t read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, your essay will require some sort of background summarizing the story and it’s main lessons. This is something that could go into an introduction, which we write in a later lesson, or in a content paragraph at the beginning of your essay.

For now, let’s focus on making your argument airtight by including a plan to show how Tom is more noble than the other characters. Please adjust your outline as requested, and send it to me in a reply to this email when you’re done. After we’re all done with that, we’ll go back to your online classroom and move forward with the next lesson.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Thanks,

Ms. I :)

He was bummed that I didn't tell him, but I told him that is his teacher's job! :)

Benefits:

  • Learn the writing process along with your student

  • Work at your own pace

  • Accountability from someone other than Mom or Dad

  • Live experienced teacher who offers feedback and suggestions

  • Give homeschooling moms a break

  • Includes a variety of learning styles: audio, video, visuals, printable documents

It would be nice if student assignments and correspondence were accessible online for the parent, but it was wonderful to have my student accountable to another teacher other than me! Nathan took the class more seriously because of this and I would recommend this course for any writer, struggling or not, who needs additional accountability and for any teacher who needs a break!

Other courses offered from Fortuigence: 

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1 comment:

Lily Iatridis said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for your review! I'm glad Nathan was able to have a positive experience with the course despite the technical difficulties he was having at the beginning.
Warmly,
Lily :)

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