Udemy- A New Educational Model?

Udemy is a site where people can create and post online courses in subjects they’re experts in and then charge for those courses. It’s a lot like the courses people stick up on YouTube, but with extra materials, a group learning forum, possible interaction with the teacher, and possible actual certification in those subjects. Think of it like a giant online community college, and you’ll have the right idea, but one where you learn at your own pace and all teachers and courses are constantly rated- so you only have to learn from the best.

I first heard about Udemy on the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast, where a guest who specializes in non-fiction was talking about how he created short Udemy courses in the subjects he was writing about that covered the basics and then referred the students to his books for the more advanced materials. He made the course free so that many people would take it, and used Udemy as a place to show his expertise and funnel people toward his paid book. Apparently it wasn’t giving him amazing sales, but he felt he was definitely getting some benefit from it.

I, on the other hand, was more interested in the idea of taking areas that I’m an expert in (I’m a college teacher who has piles of materials I developed for my own courses) and turning some of those into Udemy courses. I mean, if all it takes it setting it up and letting it run by itself while I make income, why not, right? All it takes is some screen capture software (Udemy courses are almost all videos), a Powerpoint-type setup (like Google Slides or Open Office Impress), and a little video editing know-how and you’re off and running!

One tip I also picked up was to use screen capture software which allows for an image of you (the instructor) as well as the screen. With the instructor’s image usually in a little box, so that the student feels they’re dealing with a real person they can relate to instead of just a disembodied voice over a Powerpoint deck. Of course, if you’re not the photogenic type, maybe you should just skip the image of yourself, or replace it with a cartoon image- who knows?