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How to Write a Novel (Premium)

Write a novel in three months in this premium course led by author and ghostwriter Tom Bromley. Join our next class, September 2023.

Taught by Tom Bromley

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Poetry: How to Spark Creativity with Verse

Curious about poetry but don’t know where to start? Join us for 10 days of easy poetry exercises and get your creative juices flowing.

Taught by Emma Murf

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How to Write Mind-Blowing Fantasy Fiction

Want to become the next Frank Herbert or N.K. Jemisin? With this free 10-day course, you can learn the basics of writing fantasy.

Taught by Campfire

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How to Master the 'Show, Don't Tell' Rule

Learn how to follow the golden writing rule in this free 10-day course from the Reedsy team.

Taught by Reedsy

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How to Turn Up the Heat in Your Romance

Ready to steam up your romance? Kelly Palmer's free course takes you through the essentials of hot writing: from creating tension to writing appealing sex scenes!

Taught by Kelly Palmer

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Inside a Traditional ‘Big 5’ Publisher

Editor Dominic Wakeford (Hachette, HarperCollins, and Penguin Random House) reveals the inner workings of Big 5 publishers in this fun, free course.

Taught by Dominic Wakeford

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What is creative writing.

Writing has many different purposes. Some writing informs the audience, such as technical or academic writing. Other writers, like journalists, report the news. Some writing, however, exists to tell a story or express an idea that falls outside of the rules-based academic or technical world. Creative writing involves any writing that stretches the boundaries of journalism or technical writing, inhabiting a world where the story is precious. Creative writing has many forms. Literature and poetry are well-known, but writing that expands narrative traditions and develops through characters could also be considered creative.

Creative writers often have an excellent command of language and can translate that into a variety of disciplines. Learning the basics of creative writing could give learners writing and communication skills that can be applied to fields ranging from entertainment to business to politics.

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Online writing classes can unlock creativity and improve learners’ writing technique. For example, a class that focuses on writing novels can teach individuals how to ideate, outline, and execute on a large project. Learners can study different forms of writing, such as American poetry, long-form journalism, and English literature, which can even be a prerequisite for many BFA and MFA programs. From creating fully realized characters to editing drafts, there are many skills to learn in creative writing classes.

Careers in creative writing

Learning character development, prompt writing, and other skills in this field helps learners think in new ways. Creative nonfiction classes can help writers build communication skills. Classes on the short story can teach professionals how to make their point in a concise manner. A background in creative writing could help prepare individuals for many careers, including as an:

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13 Best Free Online Writing Courses For Beginners (2023)

Updated on November 1, 2023 by Patrick

Are you just starting out blogging? Or do you desire to write more persuasive marketing copy, impactful business letters, or engaging books?

If yes, then taking an online writing course designed for beginners is the right path to follow. And that’s why we’ve put together the 13 best online free writing courses for beginners (and all levels).

Let’s improve your writing skills.

best free online writing courses

Best Free Writing Courses Beginners Can Learn Online

1. skillshare: writing for online engagement: fiction in a digital world.

free creative writing courses

Now, if you’re a beginner who’s interested in fiction writing, there’s no better way to kickstart your writing journey than taking a free online writing course.

But don’t think because this course is free, it lacks content.

The instructor of this course is Rebecca Sky. She’s worked with some of the world’s top companies, including Microsoft, Paramount, Sony, Lay’s, and Kraft. She specializes in writing YA fiction, and she’s an accomplished author at that.

In the 11 lessons spanning 1 hour 8 minutes, Rebecca takes her students through several writing classes to help them;

  • Understand how writers can write in the digital age.
  • Grasp writing for an audience and grow a community.
  • Know how to get into writing serialized fiction.
  • Merchandise their stories.

You’ll also get marketing tips to promote your brand and become a successful writer.

And if you’ve been writing fiction without achieving the success you deserve, you can also take the course.

Bloggers and other creative writers can also study her innovative strategies for producing successful books and building an online community of enthusiastic readers.

Another exciting thing about this course is that it’s free for students to learn on Skillshare. For 30 days, you can take this and other writing courses.

  • Outstanding online writing course for beginners and experienced creative writers.
  • Free for students interested in learning to write fiction.
  • An established and published author taught me.
  • It teaches you how to grow a community of raving fans and market your work.
  • Requires little time commitment.
  • Teaches you self-publishing
  • Contains interesting projects.
  • The classes are designed for only fiction writers.
  • It doesn’t issue a certificate of completion.

In all, this is our pick for the best free online writing course in 2023. The free online writing courses help you improve your skills, and they guide you on how you can be a successful writer.

Visit Skillshare.com

2. Skillshare: Creative Writing for All: A 10-day Journaling Challenge

writing classes for beginners

Many writers struggle to write down their ideas. And this is where classes like this 10-day challenge can help.

First, it helps you overcome writer’s block to get the job done. Second, writing requires consistency and discipline. And this course will take you through some strategies to help you write down your thoughts.

The instructor of this course is Emily Gould, an established author and a co-owner of Emily Books (a bestselling indie project).

Her approach is to use creative writing prompts to nudge her writing mojo. And in 6 short video content that lasts only 26 minutes, she’ll help you;

  • Develop your skills in writing personal essays .
  • Become more creative by writing for 10 minutes daily and using the creative writing prompt “Today, I noticed…”).
  • Get more actionable steps to improve your productivity.
  • Write a personal short story in 10 days.

And at the end of the challenge, you’d have produced words you’re happy about and learned a simple technique to commit to writing. And as with other Skillshare courses, you can take this course by activating the platform’s 1-month free trial.

  • Get actionable steps to be a more productive writer
  • Probably the best free online writing course for beginners.
  • Gain access to downloadable course materials.
  • You can share your work with other students and get their feedback.
  • It is not a certification course.
  • It doesn’t teach you about becoming a better writer.

If you’re enthusiastic about fiction and nonfiction writing but find yourself procrastinating or dragging your heels, this course is for you.

3. Open University: Start Writing Fiction: Characters and Stories

free creative writing courses

If fiction writing is a genre you’re passionate about, then you’ll love this course hosted on Open University.

In the in-depth online writing courses, the instructors will walk you through a series of topics to teach you how to develop ideas and characters for your story.

This course will also train students to have healthy habits like keeping a journal and show you ways to turn past or present events into a plot.

Several established writers teach different topics so you can understand them better. However, one notable instructor is Dr. Derek Neale – one of the Open University’s senior lecturers in Creative Writing. He’s also an award-winning novelist and short story author.

Together with the other writers, they’ll engage you in video lessons for 8 weeks and teach you;

  • Introduction to fiction writing.
  • How to start your writing journey, adopt a journaling habit.
  • Develop your characters
  • To create your own space, pick ideas, and learn from other writers.
  • To research, develop a plot, and adopt a notebook habit.
  • To edit and criticize your work.

It is one of the best free online writing courses for fiction writers as it contains more information than you can get from most other courses on this list.

  • Established writers teach these writing classes.
  • You’ll understand character development.
  • It’s free for students to take online writing courses at Open University.
  • It contains extensive topics to make you a great fiction writer.
  • Students will develop ideas, research topics, structure a plot, write, and self-edit their work.
  • The writing classes are in-depth and take around 8 weeks to complete.
  • It is an introductory course.
  • Requires a high commitment level.

This course is one of the best free online writing courses for beginners or students looking to kickstart their writing careers in writing fiction.

Visit Open.edu

4. Skillshare: Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact

essay writing courses online free

Have you got a personal story to share but don’t know how to make it impactful? Have you thought about writing a story that people can learn from and make a difference in their lives?

If yes, then this is the online writing course for you.

Your instructor for this class is Roxanne Gay, a professor, editor, and New York Times, bestselling author. In this course, you’ll develop the skills for first-rate personal essay writing. The instructors will also walk you through the stages, from developing ideas to the final manuscript.

In eight lessons spanning 1 hour, Roxanne will teach you how to;

  • Connect with your audience using your texts.
  • Find your purpose for writing your story.
  • Search inward to bring out those personal memories truly you’ll love to write about.
  • Research to make your story watertight.
  • Avoid mistakes that’ll undermine your work.

You’ll also get tips to revise your essay writing for publishing. The good news is that Skillshare offers you the opportunity to be a great writer with its 1-month free trial.

  • Great course for beginners and all study levels.
  • A New York Times bestselling author teaches this course.
  • You’ll learn to edit your work for publishing.
  • You’ll get insights on how to write words that appeal to various audiences.
  • A good number of downloadable resources and course materials.
  • You’ll get to practice writing essays while receiving feedback on your work.
  • It’s not a certification course.
  • The short course may not contain the information an experienced writer seeks.

5. Udemy: Secret Sauce of Great Writing

free writing courses with certificates

Many writers struggle because they don’t know what makes excellent writing that people love and enjoy reading.

The thought process and techniques that go into creative writing are pretty complex; however, this course distills the ingredients of good writing.

The instructor of this writing course is Shani Raja. He’s a former Wall Street Journal editor who’s also written and edited for other top companies and publications such as Microsoft, PwC, Financial Times, Bloomberg News, etc.

With that wealth of experience, there’s no better person to give you writing classes than Shani. According to him, the four main ingredients for writing great content and stories are;

  • And evocativeness.

So in the 45-minute course, Shani promises not to show you writing tips but a system that’ll change the way you write marketing copy. You’ll see how to apply these in your writing so you can;

  • Create more engaging and exceptional content or exciting books.
  • Spot weaknesses in your writing and improve them.
  • Write more compelling and persuasive emails and sales copy.
  • Create an impression on HR managers with your cover letter.

The good thing is that the creative writing courses aren’t only for those interested in writing books. You can take the course if you own a blog or desire to improve your writing skills.

Interestingly, this is one of the best free online writing courses. But this course is designed mainly for experienced writers and journalists, not beginners.

  • Best for intermediate to more experienced writers.
  • Full lifetime access to course materials.
  • You’ll learn to write more stylish and exceptional content, whether it’s fiction, blogs, poetry, marketing copy, etc.
  • You’ll get a certificate of completion.
  • A very experienced instructor that’s written and edited for some of the top companies in the world.
  • It isn’t the best free online writing course for beginners.
  • The course is not so comprehensive.

Visit Udemy.com

6. Wesleyan University: Creative Writing Specialization

free online writing courses for beginners

If you’ve dreamt of being the author of a short story, an essay, or a nonfiction book like a memoir, this in-depth specialization course is for you.

The creative writing class is offered by Wesleyan University and taught via Coursera. And since it’s a specialization rather than a standalone course, it contains four lessons that four visiting instructors teach from Wesleyan University.

The four modules include;

  • The craft of plot: Here, you’ll learn to develop a scheme that’ll arouse readers’ interest in your short story. Plus, you’ll learn to draft an outline that’ll connect the beginning to the middle and the end.
  • The craft of character: Here, students will learn to relate experiences from their real lives to develop characters. This way, they can easily create characters with feelings, behavior, and habits to make their story interesting.
  • The craft of setting and description: Writers will learn exercises and research to develop realistic and fantastical scenes. It is so they can make their audience read and picture the writer’s imagination.
  • The craft of style: The course lecturers will teach you to develop your unique voice using metaphors and imagery. You’ll also learn to make your short story clearer, and you’ll acquire the revision skills needed to finish off a good story.

You’ll also get lots of practice assignments to help you brush up your writing skills.

  • It is a free online writing course.
  • The in-depth courses are safe-paced and take around 3 – 6 months to complete.
  • Earn a shareable certificate.
  • You’ll get feedback on your assignments.
  • There are subtitles in 12 languages, including English.
  • You don’t need to meet any requirements to take this program.
  • The time commitment is high
  • You’ll have to pay the get the certificate.

Visit Coursera.org

7. Alison: Business Communication – Fundamentals of Business Writing

best online writing courses

If you’d love to express yourself clearly and efficiently to your employees, bosses, and clients, this online writing course on Alison has got you.

This program will train you to write the kind of cover letter that’ll impact your prospective employer. It’ll also help you write better and more professional business letters, proposals, and reports.

In 3 hours, the expert instructors will guide you through;

  • Understanding the how, why, what, who, where, and when of business writing.
  • Learn how to plan and write a business document.
  • You adopt a writing style that’ll make your business letter easy to understand, persuasive, compelling, and memorable.
  • I am writing more valuable reports.
  • The structure you can use to write texts in your business communication.

At the end of the course, you’ll earn a certificate of completion from this free course. However, you’ll have to pay a fee to get your certificate. But you can get discounts on the certificates, so it’s worth it.

  • This lesson will help you understand the legal implications of business writing.
  • Write better reports, cover letters, and other business documents.
  • Course assessment leading to certification.
  • Professional instructors teach this writing class.
  • You’ll have to pay to get certified.
  • The course is for beginners to intermediate-level students.

Visit Alison.com

8. LinkedIn Learning: Writing Ad Copy

online writing courses free

If you have poor conversions from your social media advertising, there’s a possibility the problem is not with your strategy.

It’s likely the problem lies with your ad copy. The good news is that this course is aimed at helping you write effective ad copy that will increase not only your clicks, traffic, and engagement but also your conversions and sales.

And there’s no other person more qualified to teach this online writing course than a seasoned marketer. The instructor of this course is Mike Duquet, a growth and conversion optimization strategist at Hootsuite.

In this course, Mike takes you through a range of topics to help you understand how ads work on different platforms and how to convert your clicks to sales.

Here’s an overview of the topics and content of this 1-hour course;

  • Introduction to crafting your message and picking the right tone of voice.
  • The psychological triggers that increase conversion.
  • Rules for writing ad copy for your website, email, direct mail, and social media.
  • Designing your customer persona
  • How to set your copy goals and achieve them
  • How to write effective headlines and call to action.

And at the end of the courses, you’d have learned the triggers that encourage online buyers to buy products and services. And your copywriting game would have changed for the better.

We’re excited to announce that you can take this course for free on LinkedIn Learning as they’re offering students a 1-month free trial.

  • Teaches learners how to increase conversion by generating the right ideas to write effective ad copy.
  • Free training program for you to take.
  • You’ll get a recognized certification.
  • You’ll be adept at writing marketing copy for the web, emails, social media, and direct mail.
  • A marketing director with lots of copywriting experience teaches this course.
  • Requires a minimal time commitment.
  • Improve your advertising and copywriting skills
  • Only teaches students how to write copy that drives sales; doesn’t teach you to become a better writer of other prose.
  • The short courses are not so in-depth, so you’ll probably need more courses to expand your knowledge.

Visit Linkedin.com

9. Alison: English Writing Skills

creative writing classes online free

If you desire to become a better writer who is versatile in writing in several English writing styles, then Alison’s English Writing Skills course is for you.

This writing course will guide you on passing your message across regardless of the type of audience you’re writing for. And at the end of the classes, you’ll be confident in your writing skills.

In this under 3-hour course, the top-class instructors will teach you how to;

  • Write engaging content in different types of writing styles; comedy, science fiction, opinionative, thriller, descriptive, poetry, suspense, etc.
  • Combine various writing styles into a story.
  • Write engaging pieces for your ideal audience.
  • Identify the kind and situation of your audience.

So whether you’re interested in learning more about poetry or Sci-Fi, there will be a module (or two) that’ll interest you. You’ll also get a couple of assessments to help you fast-track your learning and writing process.

The good news is that this course is one of the best free online writing courses you can take.

  • Structured for almost all skill levels.
  • Requires minimal time commitment – 3 hours.
  • Seasoned professionals teach this course.
  • You’ll get a free certificate of completion.
  • Doesn’t teach the classes in-depth.

10. Coursera: Writing in The Sciences

free online writing courses

Now, if you’re a scientist who does a lot of research, you may not be interested in fiction and nonfiction writing. And that’s where this class offered by Stanford University via Coursera can help.

Here, this online writing course takes a deep dive into medical writing and other science fields to help you put your research work into proper writing.

The instructor of the writing courses is Dr. Kristin Sainani, an associate Professor in Health Research and Policy. And through lots of video lessons, she’ll guide you through a range of topics to make your scientific writing more effective and impactful.

In 30 hours of on-demand, Kristin will walk you through;

  • The introduction and key principles to effective scientific writing.
  • Getting a grasp of English grammar; writing with active verbs, using strong verbs, the right punctuations, and making your writing follow a logical structure.
  • Tips to make you more organized and ease your writing process.
  • Formatting tables and writing sections for discussion.
  • How to avoid plagiarism and attend/host interviews.

Each section has got practice writing assignments to make you quickly grasp the concepts. And you’ll also learn peer review and grant writing.

But what we love about this Coursera course is that it’s one of the best free online writing courses for students and lecturers.

  • The in-depth classes are free for interested students
  • The writing course is easy to understand and created for beginners.
  • Coursera issues shareable certificates.
  • The online writing courses are self-paced.
  • It’s subtitled in English and 8 other languages.
  • Compared to the other online writing courses on this list, this class requires more time commitment.
  • It’s only for science writing, and not for other writing styles.

11. LinkedIn Learning: Writing with Impact

writing lessons for adults

The basis of writing impactful prose, poetry, or scientific manuscripts lies in how well your content suits the purpose of your words. And that’s what you’ll learn in this LinkedIn Learning online writing course.

The instructor – Tom Geller – will introduce you to concepts that’ll make your writing more appealing to your readers regardless of the genre you’re writing for.

And why should you care about the instructor? He’s a seasoned communicator and trainer who has worked with Apple, Association or Computing Machinery, Nature.com, etc. So, when it comes to writing and evoking a reaction from an audience, Tom is pretty good at it.

In 1 hour, he’ll show you how to;

  • Shorten your sentences and paragraphs, making them easier to read.
  • Understand your readers and know what they want.
  • Write with purpose by finding your reasons.
  • Pick the most impactful words that will pair well with your reasons.
  • Choose the tone of voice that’ll resonate with your audience.
  • And use appropriate grammar and sentence structure to make your content crisp to read.

There are lots of chapter quizzes to make you quickly grasp the concept of writing shorter and clearer. And interestingly, you can activate your free trial on the LinkedIn Learning platform and take this online writing course for free.

  • You’ll learn how to find your purpose and write more impactful prose regardless of your genre.
  • The instructor has over 20 years of experience as a communicator and trainer.
  • This is a certification course.
  • A good number of chapter quizzes to fast-track your learning process.
  • Minimal time commitment.
  • The units you’ll get from this class qualify you for continuing education.
  • The course is mostly for beginners.
  • The class is not so in-depth.

12. University of California Berkeley (edX): Academic and Business Writing

free online writing course

University programs tend to be more in-depth than other MOOC courses: so let’s explore this writing class for English language learners.

This program takes an easy approach to teaching students the English language to be beneficial to them in their academics and writing careers.

In this course, students will be taught English grammar and vocabulary that’ll help improve their business communication skills. There will also be topics and classes that will center on grasping structuring texts and editing.

In this 5-week online writing class, the College Writing Programs director, Maggie Sokolik, will help you improve your business and academic writing by;

  • Acquainting you with different writing styles – whether for business or academic purposes.
  • Teaching you how to improve your diction and tone to enhance your communication skills.
  • Showing you how to develop an essay.
  • Teaching you how to edit, proofread, and revise your words.

A couple of chapter quizzes, readings, essays, and writing assignments encourage you to hone your writing skills.

  • There are lots of writing programs on edX, but this one from the University of California is one of the bests.
  • It’s free to take this training program.
  • Recognized certificate upon completion (paid).
  • Self-paced class offered by a reputable university.
  • The university programs director teaches this course.
  • Lots of downloadable course materials.
  • The assignments and exams are graded.
  • Requires a high level of commitment compared to most of the other free online writing courses on this list.
  • You’ll have to pay to get the certificate.

If you desire a recognized certification from one of the most reputable universities, this one from the University of California will make a great choice.

Visit Edx.org

13. CalArts: Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

free online writing workshops

If you’re looking for a dedicated poetry course to help you express your thoughts better, you’ve got that in this program created by CalArts.

In this course taught by Douglass Kearny (an assistant professor in creative writing), you’ll study a couple of contemporary poets and try your hands on a few practice assignments.

The training will last for 6 weeks, and the instructor will engage you with the following topics;

  • The importance of line breaks in poetry and how to do it.
  • Using abstractions and images to create more empathetic moods and relationships.
  • How to use metaphors and other elements to create more poetic effects in your writing.
  • The different types of rhymes and how to apply them in your writing.

Each module has quizzes to help you brush up on your knowledge and skill. And it’s free to enroll in this course.

  • This is a free course that’ll teach you poetry in-depth.
  • It’s great for beginners.
  • It’s taught by a top-class instructor and offered by a reputable college.
  • It’s a certification course.
  • You’ll need to pay to get the shareable certificate.
  • You can only access the peer-reviewed aspect of the class.

How can I improve my writing skills online for free?

You can improve your writing skills by taking courses on the internet. There are lots of free courses you can take on Skillshare, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning. There are also paid courses with more in-depth topics and content, but taking the free programs is a great way to improve your writing skills.

After taking an online writing course or more, you can begin writing and editing your words with tools such as Microsoft Word, Grammarly, Hemingway App, Pro Writing Aid, thesaurus, Readability-Score.com, etc.

Can I teach myself creative writing?

Yes, you can learn to write creatively and improve your creative writing skills. And these tips will help you develop your creative writing skills;

  • Take one of the best creative writing classes on the internet (check the above-listed courses).
  • Read the books or works of some of the best authors that you love their writing style.
  • Keep a journal. Describe the places you visited and activities you partook in vividly.
  • Write a personal essay or memoir or a story of someone (a friend, relative, or neighbor) close to you.
  • Create a story using the snowflake method . In the snowflake method, you come up with a summary or big picture for your story and begin adding more elements as you develop the story.
  • Leave your writing for a while. Go outdoors or do something else. You may get inspiration from engaging in other activities.
  • Connect with other writers (experienced and amateur).
  • Engage in freewriting. Freewriting is when you write without following an outline, structure, or editing your text. Just write as the random thoughts come in without refining them. The unrefined text may not make much sense but this can help you be more creative in the long run.

Writing can be a rewarding career because you have the skill to express your thoughts clearly.

There are rewarding careers worth checking out: data entry clerk, AutoCAD professional. Here are more free courses to help you become a professional. Plus you can take Coursera courses for free by using this guide.

And even if you’re not interested in a writing career, an online writing course can help you write more impactful letters, emails, and sales texts.

  • Free Online Courses with Printable Certificates
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  • Best Free Online Interior Design Courses
  • Best Free Udemy Courses with Certificates

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About Patrick

Patrick is a teacher and education enthusiast. He is passionate about online education and always looks for new and innovative ways to learn new skills. He writes about different online courses, career opportunities, and self-improvement with the goal to help others succeed in their journey

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h3{font-size:20px;}}@media (max-width: 600px){.css-ytho9i h3{font-size:18px;}}.css-ytho9i h4{font-size:20px;}@media (max-width: 900px){.css-ytho9i h4{font-size:18px;}}@media (max-width: 600px){.css-ytho9i h4{font-size:16px;}}.css-ytho9i h2,.css-ytho9i h3{color:#fb5621important;}.css-ytho9i h2 strong,.css-ytho9i h3 strong{color:#fb5621important;}.css-ytho9i h2 span strong,.css-ytho9i h3 span strong{color:#fb5621important;}.css-ytho9i h2 span,.css-ytho9i h3 span{color:#fb5621important;}.css-ytho9i img{width:100%;} q) besides domain knowledge, a public official needs innovativeness and creativity of a high order to resolve ethical dilemmas. discuss with suitable example.  (10m/150w).


We can introduce the answer by highlighting the nature of the functions of a civil servant i.e., he is considered a generalist. We can also start by highlighting the significance of modern-day skills to solve modern-day problems.


Since the directive is to discuss with example , thus, we have to categorically explain both i.e., utility of domain knowledge and modern-day skills/innovation and creativity in resolving problems in administration. This must be aided with examples.


Here we can conclude either by summarizing the arguments of body section or by stating why both domain knowledge and creativity along with innovativeness is needed to address needs to 21st century India.

A civil servant is a generalist officer who is considered to be a ‘jack of all trade and master of none.’ However, modern-day problems require them to be innovative and creative, i.e., thinking out of the box or undertaking unorthodox solutions while resolving ethical dilemmas.

Importance of Domain Knowledge in Resolving Ethical Dilemmas   

  • Understand Nuances: Civil servants with domain expertise are able to understand nuances and dynamics of a particular field that helps in resolving clash between conflicting values.
  • For instance, a bureaucrat with civil engineering background would be able to tackle road infrastructure issues better.
  • Need for Specialized Knowledge: The changing times is making government functions more specialized and sophisticated, particularly with a greater role of private players in service delivery. 
  • For instance, dealing with cyber security/crime is the function of an IPS officer. However, a well-versed IPS (having understanding of cyber terms) would coordinate better with private players.
  • Improving Quality of Decisions: Domain expertise in civil servants helps in improving quality of decisions and service delivery, thus promoting public trust.
  • For instance, a civil servant with MBBS background would’ve been able to take better decisions to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Need of Innovation and Creativity to Resolve Ethical Dilemmas

  • Out of the Box Solutions: At times going through routine or procedures might not result in success. It requires an out of the box solution and a bureaucrat with innovation would be able to solve such problems.
  • For instance, delivering government benefits via ICT to eligible people without proper documents. 
  • Reconciling Diverging Views/Values: A creative bureaucrat would be able to reconcile seemingly diverging values/course of actions to resolve ethical dilemmas.
  • For instance , resolving a development v/s environment dispute by coordinating with economic and environment groups.
  • Red Tape Reduction: Reducing bureaucratic processes while maintaining governance quality poses ethical concerns. 
  • For Example: In the face of complaints about delayed permits, a creative digital portal can be introduced to speed up the permit process without compromising on the thoroughness of checks. 
  • Transparency in Governance: Public officials often face the dilemma of ensuring total transparency while safeguarding sensitive information. 
  • For Example: The creative use of technology, like blockchain, can be implemented for transparent procurement processes while still keeping certain details confidential. 
  • Cultural Sensitivities: Balancing modern development with cultural preservation is challenging. 
  • For Example: When constructing a highway near a historical site, using innovative methods and materials can preserve the site's integrity while allowing for infrastructural development. 

Thus, innovation and creativity are valuable traits for public officials when addressing ethical dilemmas.

These qualities enable officials to think beyond conventional solutions, adapt to changing circumstances, and find ethical resolutions that balance competing interests and uphold the principles of good governance and public trust. 

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Why is Norwich Free Academy vs. New London, nation's oldest football rivalry, so special?

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FOX television producers spent time with the Norwich Free Academy and New London football teams this past week. They filmed players and coaches for vignettes that will air during the network's broadcast of the Thanksgiving Day game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. EST). 

Yup, America’s oldest high school football rivalry is getting some love and national attention.

A producer also interviewed Brian Girasoli. Girasoli? He wrote the book on the NFA-New London rivalry. Literally.

The teams first clashed on the gridiron on May 12, 1875.  Ulysses S. Grant was the President of the United States when the Norwich Courier wrote, “The Bulkeley School boys will have a match game of football on Wednesday afternoon.”

Five days later, Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby. Three weeks later, Harvard and Tufts played in arguably the first collegiate football game at Jarvis Field in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The oldest high school football rivalry in the nation? Of course, someone had to write a book about it.

In 2011, The History Press contacted NFA’s Director of Communications Geoff Serra expressing an interest to publish a book about the rivalry. Serra had written about the NFA-New London game for various school press releases, journals, and websites but felt that Girasoli would be the better choice to write the book. 

Girasoli graduated from NFA in 1994, earned a BA degree in English from UConn and an MS degree in Journalism from Quinnipiac, and was the assistant sport editor at the Norwich Bulletin. 

“For me, writing the book was a labor of love,” said Girasoli, who was on the field for the rivalry games as a member of the Wildcats marching band. 

Girasoli spent hours going through archives at NFA, Norwich’s Otis Library and the New London Public Library. He relied heavily on newspaper accounts and reports from the Norwich Courier, Norwich Record, Norwich Morning Bulletin, Norwich Bulletin, The Bulletin, New London Telegram, New London Evening Day and The Day.

“ It was a lot of fun,” Girasoli said. “Being a journalist, I loved going back and looking at the accounts of the games.”

Girasoli interviewed numerous former players and coaches, including NFA’s Jim Giordano, a New London guy who became one of the Wildcats greatest coaches; Steve Robichaud, who led the Wildcats to the state playoffs for the first time in school history in 1998; Jemal Davis, who played for NFA in the late 1980s and returned to his alma mater 20 years later to coach; and legendary New London coach Jim Buonocore.

School yearbooks were helpful for pictures. “I had all of those resources and connections and was able to put something together,” he said.

“The Norwich Free Academy V. New London Football Rivalry,” was published in 2012.

“It was fantastic,” Girasoli said on seeing the final product for the first time.

The early years

It all started on May 12, 1875. There is no record, however, of the score. 

“I’ve always been a history buff with an interest in the late 19th century and early 20th century,” Girasoli said. “But for the first eight years of the rivalry, no results could be found. 1883 was the first score that we could find. Not surprisingly, the early stuff was really neat.”

On Nov. 4, 1889, the Wildcats were leading 38-0 when the game ended after a punted ball got lost in a snow squall on the banks of the Thames River at Cannonball Park. It was the only ball the teams had brought to the game.

NFA won all but one of the meetings from 1875 to 1910.

The book is a treasure trove of photos. There’s one of the 1902 NFA team that scored 130 points against Bulkeley (New London) in the first half before the game was called off. It remains as the most points scored in a game by one team in Connecticut history.  

There’s a photo of the 1945 NFA team that defeated Bulkeley, 7-2. The Wildcats finished unbeaten and were voted the No. 1 team in the state by the Associated Press. It is NFA’s only football state title. The Wildcats were state runners up in 1998, 2012, and 2014.

There’s a picture of Mercer Field, Bulkeley’s home from the 1920s through the 1950s.   

In 1950, the Board of Trustees voted to sell the Bulkeley School to the city of New London. Students from Bulkeley and Chapman Tech combined to attend New London High School. 

In 1970, New London High School moved to its present location on Jefferson Avenue.

More: NFA rolls past New London, finishes with three-game win streak


The 100th anniversary game was played on Nov. 15, 1975 at New London’s new Pat Cannamela Field. The Whalers won 28-7 for their fourth straight series win.

The 150th anniversary game on Nov. 24, 2011 was played 500 yards from where the first game was played in Norwich. The Whalers cruised past the Wildcats, 37-17, before a crowd of around 3,000 people.

Whalers dominance 

NFA had been dominant in the early years of the rivalry. It changed in the 1970s and 1980s during legendary Whalers coach Jim Buonocore’s tenure.

Buonocore, who played for Chapman Tech and New London High School, was an NFA assistant coach when he returned to his alma mater to be the head coach in 1969. Buonocore guided the Whalers to four state championships and 208 wins during a storied 30 year career.

New London won 15 straight games against NFA from 1982-1996.

Things changed on Sept. 13, 1997.

The Bulletin’s Peter Abraham, who currently covers the Boston Red Sox for the Boston Globe , wrote:   

New London - Some of the players on the Norwich Free Academy sideline on Saturday weren’t born the last time the Wildcats beat New London in a football game.

It had been that long - 1982 to be specific - since the oldest high school rivalry in the country meant something more than a day of frustration and disappointment for NFA.

But the Wildcats shed their inglorious past in fine fashion, scoring 20 points in the final 14:17 to stun the Whalers, 20-19, at Cannamela Field.

Trailing 19-0, NFA quarterback Major Williams sparked the comeback by scoring two touchdowns and kicking the decisive extra point with 4:10 left.

“The thing that kind of still sticks with me is I remember Bryant Stone scoring our last touchdown and him going into the end zone, and he raised the ball up and got flagged by the official,” NFA coach Steve Robichaud recalled for the book. “So now we’re going in, and it’s 19-19, and Major Williams has to kick a thirty-five-yard PAT for us to go ahead. And as Major always did, he kicked it, and we won the game 20-19, and you might have thought we won the Super Bowl.”        

More: 'I'm just so proud': Norwich Free Academy edges New London in historic Thanksgiving battle

The NFA-New London rivalry has featured the exploits of a number of future NFL players.

NFA lineman Gil Bouley, who starred in the 12-0 win against New London in 1939, went on to play at Boston College before an NFL career with the Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams.

In 2000, the Norwich Bulletin selected Bouley as one of the top 5 Eastern Connecticut Athletes of the century

NFA defensive end Matt Shaughnessy was a four-year starter at Wisconsin. Shaughnessy then spent eight seasons in the NFL with the Raiders, Cardinals and Saints.

NFA’s Tuzar Skipper was a star linebacker at Toledo before joining the practice squads with the Giants, Steelers and Falcons. 

New London’s David Reed played wide receiver at Utah. Reed spent three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and was a member of the their 2012 Super Bowl team. Reed also played one season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Reed’s brother, Jordan, starred at Florida. Jordan Reed played tight end for seven NFL seasons with Washington and one year with the San Francisco 49ers.

One of the rivalry’s biggest stars was New London running back Jamal Johnson. Johnson was the first ECC player to win the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year Award in 1988.

On October 9, 1988, Johnson, who didn't play in the NFL, led the Whalers to a big victory over NFA.

Bulletin reporter Jim Konrad wrote:

Norwich - Give Jamal Johnson an inch, and he’ll take a yard. Or 30. And six points to boot.

New London’s standout tailback rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns and returned a fumble for another score yesterday as the Whalers defeated Norwich Free Academy 24-0 in the continuation of the nation’s longest high school football rivalry.

A permanent date

NFA-New London was a noncontinuous rivalry. The teams didn’t meet for two seasons following a brawl. There were also seasons where they would meet twice a year. NFA leads the series 81-68-11.

In 2000, the school's athletic directors, NFA’s Gary Makowicki and New London’s Jim O’Neil, decided that the game’s historical relevance and importance should have a permanent date on the calendar. Makowicki and O’Neil chose Thanksgiving Day.

NFA had previously played St. Bernard on Thanksgiving, while New London played Fitch. 

NFA won the inaugural Turkey Day contest, 19-8. And a tradition was started whereby both teams' captains held a breakfast in the host city the day before the game. 

Time for an update 

On Thursday morning at New London High’s Pat Cannamela Field, the Wildcats and Whalers will meet for the 161st time. And Girasoli, who teaches English at Lyman Memorial in Lebanon, says it's time to update the book. 

“It's 10 years old now,” Girasoli said. “I wrote to the publishers recently. I want to get more people’s remembrances and not make it seem so newspaper heavy. I hope I hear back soon.”

A whole nation awaits.

"It's a well-documented rivalry and game," said NFA head coach Erik Larka, who is in his second season with the Wildcats. "It's been amazing to see how excited our players have been at practice this week and how they're showing a lot of positive animosity towards New London."

New London head coach Bobby Sanchez will be coaching in the rivalry for the first time.

"The tradition, I absolutely love it," Sanchez said. "When I took this position that was one of the first things on my mind, was how big this game is and how awesome it is. I love the fact that the two teams couldn't be more different, that's what makes great rivalries. If NFA's the Yankees, then New London is the Red Sox. That's exciting to me."


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