Product Reviews

Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything

Discover the concepts and methods for clear and strong writing in the 24 accessible and practical lectures of <strong>Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything</strong>. Delivered by Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, this course immerses you in the elements of successful writing, from organizing your thoughts to making persuasive arguments to avoiding common grammatical errors. With its engaging literary and everyday examples, inspirational prompts, and unforgettable insights, these lectures make the perfect reference guide for both professional and casual writers.
Average Customer Rating:
3.806 out of 5
3.8
 out of 
5
(62 Reviews) 58
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (62 reviews)
5 stars
32
4 stars
9
3 stars
7
2 stars
5
1 star
9
"456273%of reviewers would recommend this series"
Customer Questions & Answers:
6 Questions | 19 Answers
Customer Reviews for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Review 1 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Mpls, MN
Comp course from a solid professor
Date:May 20, 2013
" This course was like auditing a well-taught Composition 101 or 102 -- one where the professor actually teaches content every week (vs. the common TAs giving direction and peer-reviews of papers). The professor has a new topic for every lecture, and she seems very familiar with the questions and confusions the average student tends to have. She makes an effort to honor the title of writing about “anything,” and not just creative writing – she includes clear examples of how her topics do apply to very practical writing (instructions, memos). She teaches with clarity and enough zest to keep me awake.
The content is within reach of an older high schooler, useful to the tutor or homeschool parent trying to teach/evaluate writing, handy as a writing review for those of us who are out of school and have had some basic techniques slip between the cracks, and a solid course for those who need to write convincingly in their daily job. "
+149points
189out of 229found this review helpful.
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Review 2 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Birmingham
TOUGH TO REVIEW
Date:May 25, 2011
" As one earlier reviewer asked, who is the audience? Dr Armstrong has obviously worked hard to give us an outstanding review of writing fundamentals as well as excellent examples to illustrate her points. However, it's not clear to me exactly what TGC had in mind in positioning this course.
While I've never seen any numbers, my intuition tells me a majority of the purchasers of TGC products have at least some exposure to college education and possess a desire to keep their minds challenged as they move along in life. For that component, especially if their education was in the liberal arts, I would say these lectures probably d have limited interest. My ratings don't apply for those individuals.
Rather, they are addressed to two special groups in an effort to be helpful to those deciding whether to purchase this series. Most college teachers I've met freely discuss the challenges of dealing with freshmen handicapped with inadequate secondary schooling, especially the command of the English language. Here, Dr Armstrong's fresh style and relaxed delivery would appear to be immensely helpful.
There is also a special category in TGC inventory for high school level courses. It needs more selection balance away from math, in my opinion, and this series of lectures could be included there. The level of Dr Armstrong's delivery and illustrations should be easily digestible by motivated high school seniors. It might be a good step in accelerating their progress as they begin college. Thus, parents or those involved in guiding young people in educational matters may give this series thorough consideration.
There's another smaller group (engineers? premeds? etc) I don't want to leave out. These are the ones whose course work was so heavy and concentrated they didn't have the luxury of dipping into liberal arts courses while undergraduates. They also may find this series useful.
As the heading indicates, I've found it difficult to review this series of lectures because I think it's important enough to be properly ranked where it can be most useful rather than to butt it up against much of the fare offered by TGC. Dr Armstrong does an excellent job especially since she had limited exhibits included. I felt her hand motions and the occasional rolling of her eyes as she emphasized a point might be particularly appealing to teenagers. I don't have any underfoot now on which to test that theory.
To sum up, this series warrants serious consideration by specific categories of prospective users. "
+284points
318out of 352found this review helpful.
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Review 3 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Florida
Excellent Course
Date:March 30, 2016
" Although this course covered many topics and writings familiar from high school and college, it was refreshing in both senses of the word. And, Professor Armstrong is quite engaging. In fact, while I have no particular interest in Arthurian legend, I am considering purchasing her course on that subject.
This course will not magically turn a person into a full-fledged writer as some of the naysayers seem to want. Rather, it gently nudges the writing instincts. As for Professor Armstrong's presentation, I found the negative comments condescending as opposed to her presentation, which was clear and on point. "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 4 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Content
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Professor Presentation
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Course Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Delivery Matters! Prof needs some training
Date:October 2, 2015
" The content in this course is good. I would recommend it for someone in the early stages of working to build a career in writing. The greatest challenge for me was listening to the presenter. I found it challenging. I've spent my career in the communications and I know that "Delivery Matters." I noticed in reviews for other courses, there are occasional comments about the weaknesses of the presenters. Having worked with academics and scientists in my role as communications professional, I know presentation can be a work in progress. I would only suggest spending a little more time working the professors and presenters on delivery that engages and inspires audiences. I'm sure some will disagree but in this day & age...how you communicate is as important as what you communicate. My favorite saying these days -- It's not what you say, it's people hear that matters!" "
-2points
8out of 18found this review helpful.
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Review 5 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Content
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:LA, CA
Nice course for beginers
Date:September 17, 2015
" I am working in the writing field for 5 years, have bought this course to improve my writing skills, but from the whole course i didn't know 5-8% of the information. I work as a freelancer at essay writing service http://www.bestessaywritersuk.com/ and hoped that there will be some useful information.
But for people who has decided to make writing their job it is very good course, worth of buying.
"
-3points
9out of 21found this review helpful.
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Review 6 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Dunwoody, GA
Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write . .
Date:April 9, 2015
" Not only am I a published writer, but I am also a teacher of writing and of the law, both at the undergrad and grad levels. I provide this information not to toot a horn, but to state that I hope I am as effective a teacher as Dr. Armstrong. I have taken many writing courses and hold a Master's Degree in Professional Writing, so the discipline of writing and teaching writing is not a new thing for me. But, this course was new, and as good or better than any of its type I have thus far seen.
I could go on for a while, but I will tell you that I cannot recall the number of times I have blanched, choked, sputtered, and where possible, corrected users of "ironically" when they mean "coincidentally." Finding that this is a sore spot with Dr. Armstrong solidified the very favorable impression I have of her course.
This one is worth more than the price.
Neil "
+51points
53out of 55found this review helpful.
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Review 7 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Glasgow Scotland
Excellent - delivers more than it promises
Date:March 31, 2015
" I loved this course. I have spent my life reading technical books and never quite had the time nor inclination to read novels or the classics. This course opened my eyes and brought me straight up-to-date with an understanding of literature. I now read with real insight. Highly recommend this course. The professor is top notch. "
 
My Product Recommendations
 
+22points
23out of 24found this review helpful.
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Review 8 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Location:Chicago
Excellent introduction to writing
Date:March 23, 2015
" This is a very engaging introduction to writing. However, each lecture could be a course in itself. I do find I am reading more critically but not ready to write. "
-2points
2out of 6found this review helpful.
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Review 9 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:California
Excellent Guide
Date:February 19, 2015
" I was very impressed with Professor Dorsey Armstrong's command of language and writing as well as her engaging style of teaching. This course helped me refine my writing skills for the better! "
+9points
11out of 13found this review helpful.
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Review 10 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Susanville, Ca
Drastic Improvement For My Son!
Date:February 11, 2015
" I purchased this course hoping to help my home schooled son improve his writing ability. All i can say is that this course has more than delivered! I would highly recommend this course to anyone who desires to improve their writing skills. "
+21points
21out of 21found this review helpful.
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Review 11 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Sacramento CA
As good as it gets
Date:January 23, 2015
" Of all my Great Courses (20 or so) this one has benefited me the most. I have technical degrees and a lot of experience with business and technical writing including 3 books and many papers. I thought I wrote well. This course produced the greatest improvement in my writing since 3rd Grade! It broadened how I approach a topic and improved my sense of how to reach the intended audience. I have gifted this course and used it to help employees with writing issues. Dorsey Armstrong is superb with her insight and presentation. We all need to communicate, and we do our most enduring communication through writing. This course is a wonderful opportunity to improve each of ours. I recommend it highly. "
+30points
31out of 32found this review helpful.
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Review 12 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Content
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Professor Presentation
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Colorado Springs, CO
Learn how to write at home
Date:January 15, 2015
" I have been writing for years but never studied it. This introduces me to a new way of thinking about writing which I appreciate. I am elderly so have to think about the material very hard and watch it and read it a few times, but in the end, I get there.
I am only on lesson 3, so I hope the professor does more than just stand and talk ... perhaps use the chalkboard or displays. "
-7points
5out of 17found this review helpful.
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Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Customer Avatar
Schned
San Antonio, TX
Huh?
Posted April 28, 2015
How can you write an unbiased review of an entire course when you have not even completed three lectures?
+9points
14out of 19found this comment helpful.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 13 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Mississauga, ON
A friendly, general introduction to writing
Date:October 4, 2014
" As is obvious from the very title, this course is very general. It will introduce you to the art of writing (and reading), and present to you the basics.
What I liked:
* All types/genres of writing discussed.
* The relationship between writing, reading and different types of writing explained and cleared.
* Easy and extremely interesting to follow.
* Various books discussed, and great examples.
* Teaches in great depth how to write essays.
* Lecturer shows us how she, as a university professor, grades her students.
Consider before watching
* The course has a particular focus on writing essays (arguments).
* The course organizes some important ideas, many of which you are probably already aware of.
* Little thinking is required to follow this course (the lecturer does the thinking for you).
* Quotes comprise significant portions of the transcripts of every lecture.
If you plan on watching it, do consider having access to the course guidebook, since it's frequently mentioned in the lecture.
Obviously, i LOVED the course: that's why I gave it 5 stars! The lecturer was professional and provided a well-organized and enjoyable course. You might not gain a lot of knowledge about a specific genre of writing, but I highly recommend this course to everybody: whether you're beginning to write, or have been writing for years, you will enjoy this course.
The other courses I've recommended are simply courses that are more specific about their subject. If you know about the genre of writing you're interested in learning about, TTC offers many specific Great Courses. "
+43points
44out of 45found this review helpful.
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Review 14 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Content
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Professor Presentation
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Location:Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Good but could improve
Date:August 17, 2014
" I am a new author and was looking to improve my writing style. This course makes some good points and I was excited about it but I am sorry to say lost my attention in some of the lectures. I have run into this before when very very simple material, at times, is drawn out, over intellectualized and put on a pedestal in a such a way that looses the audience, they simply disconnect. Most people connect best with pragmatic, direct to the point style of teaching. After all life happens outside of a university classroom and that is what majority of people understand and also want to read about, if you have lost their attention you have failed in bringing them into your world and point of view. On the upside I did learn certain skills I did not have before which was good but this is a course that requires your full attention so you can condense what is being said. Have to give a mixed review here. "
+13points
21out of 29found this review helpful.
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Review 15 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Boston, Ma
This is one of the best courses from the TC
Date:June 7, 2014
" I speak to a wide range of audience from doctors, scientists, business people, and lay population. I found essentially lecture useful. I find myself before giving a talk reviewing about 1/3. The instructor actually teaches rather than lectures, uncommon for the teaching company. "
+33points
35out of 37found this review helpful.
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Review 16 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Course Content
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Professor Presentation
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Course Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Save Your Money
Date:May 3, 2014
" This course was extremely boring and I agree that the professor had a bit of a condescending tone. I also found this to be below my education level-the lectures on topics I covered in 9th grade. I was looking for a course to motivate me to write more and maybe use some interaction with prompts but this made 30 minutes seem like 3 hours. "
-9points
21out of 51found this review helpful.
Response from The Teaching Company:By Customer CareMay 4, 2014
I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the course. I hope you will take advantage of our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and try another title at no additional charge. If you give us a call, our course specialists should be able to recommend something that better meets your expectations.
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Review 17 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:NY
Professor Dorsey and this great course...
Date:April 27, 2014
" Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Perdue University has a great gift. By this I mean she not only teaches by the spoken word of the lecture’s lesson, but by exemplification at a higher level of intelligence and the unspoken word to teach what she says. In this course you will not only learn by her casual and unassuming nature, but also by her example about the written, spoken and unspoken word of presentation to those you might want to influence … when opportunity knocks. So don’t even think of getting just the transcript or audio version of this course!
In a mid course chapter, for purpose of demonstration, she reads Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. I’ve read it often before, and heard it reiterated even more often, including notes from a diary from one of my great, great, grand uncles who fought there on these very days, and afterwards hearing his President Lincoln speak it. But never before have my eyes shed tears than when I heard it recited by Professor Dorsey. She has so impressed me with her teaching style and presentation, that I am now enthused to embark upon taking any of her other lectures, even though they might not have been before on the top of my interest list.
John Doyle
"
+32points
38out of 44found this review helpful.
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Comments (1)
Comments (1)
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majorcustomer
Boston, Ma
Top 250 Contributor
One of the Teaching Companies Best Courses
Posted June 7, 2014
This is a fantastic course. I write for medical, science, business, and lay communities. I found she made a strong point with each lecture. I find myself re-listening to about a 1/3 of the lectures when I have something important to write. Somebody who actually teaches rather than lectures from the teaching company.
+19points
20out of 21found this comment helpful.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 18 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Course Content
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Professor Presentation
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Course Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Location:Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Save Your Money
Date:April 22, 2014
" Painful. Prof Armstrong lacks the ability to connect with the common individual. She is extremely condescending. I had a hard time listening to all the lectures, but I paid the $50 so I felt obligated. Do yourself a favor and purchase "The Art of Reading" or "Writing Creative Nonfiction." Those two classes are well worth the money and 10 times more enjoyable than "Analysis and Critique." Also, read the review by "QuiteRational." He is spot on. "
+6points
24out of 42found this review helpful.
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Comments (1)
Comments (1)
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Jed3
NY
Deeper meanings and writing
Posted April 27, 2014
I have all the courses you suggested over this course, and I enjoyed them. I am a novelist who writes under a pseudonym and am interested in how writing is being taught in these changing times, different takes on literature, past and present, and the evolution of it all on the college level. I particularly liked Dorsey Armstrong's presentation of the course because, above and beyond her lecturing of the material, she exemplifies it in her subtle enthusiasm without coming across as being pretentious. This theme is a deep threaded element of the entire course that runs throughout it. I would give it a second look!
+23points
26out of 29found this comment helpful.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 19 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Groveland, FL
This course is excellent
Date:September 22, 2013
" Because today's world offers almost literally everyone the ability to write about anything, what with blogs and self-publishing being so widespread and easily available, it only makes sense to pair the ease of this with the ease of attaining proper writing skills.
This course allows all of us, not just the advanced scholars, the ability to write as though we know what we are doing.
So, thanks to courses such as this, a blue-collar guy like me can stand in comparison with anyone who enjoys wielding the written word.
"
+52points
60out of 68found this review helpful.
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Review 20 for Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Course Content
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Professor Presentation
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Course Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Location:Carefree, AZ
Where is the Analysis, the Critique?
Date:September 22, 2013
" There is an axiom that goes, “If the learner hasn’t learned, the trainer hasn’t taught.” Professor Armstrong, clearly in my mind, exemplifies the trainer who hasn’t taught. Of the more than 60 Great Course lectures I have purchased over the years, this one is by far the biggest waste of money and time. To mention that it was quite a struggle to get through the entirety of the course would be a gross understatement. The professor comes across as pedantic and condescending, like the listener must be treated as an obtuse simpleton.
The substance of the lecture appeared to be directed more at eighth or tenth grade students. Why the professor couldn’t seem to find any more modern day writers to use as examples of the points she was attempting to make was annoying. The writers she did choose were very much from another time, and in many cases, another culture. Her effort appeared to be more of a “curve-fitting” exercise wherein the material was parsed, with a sort of forced mutation, in a manner that would illustrate her theme of the moment. I might also add that the themes, or points she was attempting to convey were difficult, if not completely opaque, to discern. I found myself re-playing a number of segments in an effort to find some modicum of clarity. I really don’t know where the analysis comes to the forefront. Maybe I’m a bit of a dullard, but I found the material mostly devoid of genuine analytical investigation, with the examples selected appearing to be from a high school syllabus that was developed 40-years ago.
I came away from listening to these lectures wondering what the professor was attempting to convey. There was little real analysis and one would have to search the course with a highly active imagination to find any critique that was of any value among the professor’s examination of the example writings presented. How this course was supposed to make one a better, more “engaged” writer “on any subject” escapes me completely. Save your money for more educational and thought-provoking courses, of which there are a profusion among the Great Courses selections. "
+14points
70out of 126found this review helpful.
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