Review: Should You Take Proofreading and Copyediting 101 via Universal Class?

Even the most experienced freelancers would agree that, more often than not, it’s beneficial to take a course here and there about their respective niches. After all, rules can change; it’s better to stay ahead of the game and not miss out on clients or knowledge. Universal Class offers several different courses that might appeal to freelancers, one of which is Proofreading and Copyediting 101.

The Rules

It cost me $75.00 to register for Proofreading and Copyediting 101. Immediately after payment, I was emailed a list of the rules, which seemed mostly reasonable. I had 6 months to complete the course (with a grade of 70% or better), after which time I would lose access to it. That same access would also be revoked the moment I successfully completed the course – this, I didn’t agree with, because what if there was a lesson I wanted to review again? There should have at least been a little window of time after “graduation” to allow for that sort of thing.

The Lessons

Lessons were not at all engaging. There were written concepts/examples, and at the end a poorly produced video of stock images, with a narrator simply reiterating the lesson content. Short quizzes were featured at the end of each lesson – those, I must admit, could get tricky at times, particularly if I didn’t pay close enough attention while initially reading the lessons. I would have preferred a mixture of reading and watching an actual lecture.

The Instructor and the Classmates

I came to find out that Universal Class instructors are professionals in their field who design their courses and get a percentage of the registration fees. I thought that the instructor for Proofreading and Copyediting 101 seemed quite nice, yet I didn’t really get any feedback from her except for the occasional “good job,” or “feel free to ask any questions.”

As to classmates, we had the option of discussing various lessons on a message board, but I didn’t partake. I checked out the message board once or twice, and noticed that if there was a conversation chain, people were slow to respond, or posted incredibly off-topic things.

What I Learned

I did gain a better understanding of the differences between copyediting and proofreading, but when it came to the section about getting an actual job, the instructor’s sources were very, very outdated. While bidding sites and freelancing marketplaces might have been a good source of income “back in the day,” they aren’t now due to the high competition. I was sure to write my opinions of that in the course evaluation. Whether or not it was read, I will never know. I came away from it thinking that the instructor wasn’t all that interested in maintaining a high-quality course.

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