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Selling Courses On Udemy

Selling Courses On Udemy

Here’s a crazy sentence – I’ve always believed that educators work harder than others.  Why?  When the teaching day is over for an educator, the workday is really just beginning. There are papers to grade, lesson plans to do, and materials to create.  

Here’s a crazier sentence – I believe educators should be paid for their expertise.  We see tech savvy college graduates earning very comfortable incomes.  Why not us?

Many educators have more than one paying job, but with websites like Udemy, we can share our expertise and have some much deserved extra money without ever leaving our homes.

I call these extra income avenues “money streams”.  I think educators deserve to have as much precipitation as they can handle.

I produced my first Udemy course several months ago – “8 Secrets to English Success You Must Know”. Why Udemy?  It’s the best, in my opinion. Of course, there are problems with any platform that allows the marketplace to decide which courses are the most popular, but as an experienced educator, I know how to teach. I’ve spent years writing textbooks, researching, and teaching the topic I offered on Udemy – easy techniques to understand native English speakers.

I think we, as online educators, have to decide where our expertise is, and what our standards are, just as we do with anything we offer online. Will there be courses on our topic that aren’t as good?  Yes.  Should it matter to us?  No, because we’re adding a high quality course that will represent the best we have to offer. You own the rights to your video course, so if you find another platform, you can offer it there as well.

I’m going to share with you how to create an online video course and what my experiences have been.


How to Create an Udemy Course

The first step is, of course, to decide what you’re going to teach. Udemy has done extensive research on the habits of their massive market. How massive is their market? They boast over 8 million students from almost every country in the world.

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to teach, you need to do a promo video and a course outline. I’ll start with the course outline first, which will include your lectures.

Udemy courses are video-based. Video lectures will comprise the bulk of your course. Each lecture of the course must be between two and twenty minutes in length. I have twelve lectures totaling about two hours in “8 Secrets to English Success”.  Each lecture presents the lesson in video format, practice exercises, and other materials from the real world.

Video must be shot in 720p minimum with clear lighting, framing, and a steady camera. At least 60% of course lectures must be video, but screen lessons in Camtasia count as video. All video must be in HD.

In ESL/EFL, the relationship with the teacher is very important. In order to begin to establish the feeling that the student is being taught personally, I feel it’s important that the teacher be on the video at several points in the course.

Audio must be high quality. One of the microphones that’s often recommended is the Blue Yeti.

Udemy’s rules reflect the “best practices” of creating a video course that has the best chance of getting attention on the massive marketplace. They do extensive research on every aspect of their courses, and their rules reflect what works the best.

Promo Video – This is a two minute overview of your course. It should include why you’re a credible instructor, and the skills students will learn by taking your course. Udemy video courses are fee based, but the promo video is free to everyone. It’s very important because students will often decide whether or not to take the course based on this video.  Students who watch a good promo video are five to ten times more likely to enroll in the course. Use .mp4, .mov, or .wmv file no larger than 4.0 GiB. Because these courses are also available on iOS and Android, any fonts shown on the screen should be large enough to read on all devices.


Suggestions for Shooting the Video

When I decided to create my first video course, I’d never shot video before. I have a son, but I’d never even shot a home video of him playing soccer!

I set up my living room to shoot the Promo Video, got into my suit, turned on the camera, and was shaking like a leaf. I tried to talk myself out of being nervous because I was all alone in the living room! No one even knew what I was doing.

The bad news — Shooting a video is like being an actor giving a performance.  Though I’m a linguist, I was so nervous, I said, “the Univershitty” rather than “the University” (If you watch my Promo Video, you’ll find it.). The good news – You’re also the director. You can do it twenty-five times if you want to.

I used these techniques to practice, and practice was the key.

  1.  Breathing exercises.
  2.  Pretending I was really talking to students by having their pictures out of camera range. I wanted my video to sound natural.
  3.  Learning to edit, so if I made a mistake, I could keep shooting.
  4.  Smiling. Your voice and demeanor should make you approachable, and smiling changes the tenor of your voice.

The point – There are some natural actors who are very comfortable doing videos of themselves that’ll be shown all over the world.  For the rest of us, you can teach yourself to do video just as naturally as you teach in front of your own students in a classroom.


You’re the President, and You’re Also the Janitor

When I was a teaching fellow at Harvard University, I had a student who told me he was the president of his own company. I told him how impressed I was. He said not to be that impressed. He was also the janitor.

On Udemy, you’ll do everything yourself. You’ll shoot and edit your own videos. You’ll choose your own equipment. You’ll write your own bio and course description for inclusion on their website, and you’ll do your own marketing. You’ll even choose your own course graphic image.

You’ll also have tons of Udemy articles on every aspect of course creation, their step-by-step course you can take on course creation, and a Facebook group of fellow Udemy instructors you can join for support.

I believe in balance in life. I can work every waking hour, but I’d rather maximize my hard work and expertise by having online platforms like Udemy expose what I’ve learned to students all over the world while I’m still in my living room.

If you’d like a closer, step-by-step look at how Camtasia, teacher video, practice lessons, etc. are put together in a video ESL course (I have two), I’ve provided 50% discount coupons for each of my courses.  


“8 Secrets to English Success You Must Know”


“8 MORE Secrets to Understanding Native English Speakers”


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