First and foremost, I am glad to hear your going to take the Basic riders course. It will most assuredly give you the correct knowledge and basic tools to learn and use when riding.
As for correct braking procedure:
Yes you can use the engine braking, but use the front and back brakes together. The more surface friction there is being used to stop the motorcycle the safer it is.
You will be amazed at just how much pressure you can apply to the front brakes and not have the front tire skid and loose traction on you. I took the Experienced Riders Course back in April, and wow, I learned alot, especially about brakes and how fast you really can stop if needed. Go out to a parking lot, "empty" preferred, and just start practicing braking using both the front and rears and try to better yourself each time in stopping distance. Start around about 20 mph and brake, then each time after that brake a lil harder and so on. Once you feel comfortable, increase the speed some and do the same. If your rear wheel locks up, do not let off the brake, hold it and keep the bike upright until your stopped. If you happen to be sideways and you let off the brake and the tire catches, you have a chance of the bike throwing you, or what they call a high side. Those hurt real bad.
I heard someone once say, 'a motorcycle is a lot like a chainsaw. It will make the work easy, and do whatever you need it to do, but if you ever turn your back or loose concentration, it may bounce back and bite you hard.'
Keep us posted on how things go and how well you liked the course.
I do hope your wearing all of your protective gear when riding?