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Behind the Scenes with the Udemy Insights Production Team

At Udemy, we want to create a learning atmosphere where anyone can learn anything — and that includes you, our instructors! Join us for a Q&A session with Jessica Ashraf, an expert in online course creation and instructor training and David Quintanilla our audio and visual expert for a behind the scenes look at the making of our very own Udemy Insights courses!


A note from Jessica & David:
We’re learning as much as you are and we’re here to guide you. Like you, we’re experts at many things, but we’re not perfect. Our first set of courses were not produced as easily as planned and we learned A LOT. We’ll share with you what worked and what didn’t, so you can improve with us!

Question: What was your goal for creating these courses?
Answer: We wanted these courses to be great examples of what the Udemy platform could do, and to provide a template for you as you think through structuring your own courses. The courses should give you tips on, improving your video quality, and building courses that really engage your students.

Question: How did you choose the topics for these courses?
Answer: Thanks to the highly engaged instructors in our Udemy Studio and Support channel, we realized there was a critical need for video production education. We wanted to break down the skills and equipment needed for producing high quality courses. Recognizing good audio and visual quality (understanding what we mean when we say “quality”), learning how to film, what equipment to use, and how to edit are crucial skills for creating great courses. We have also identified a need for education around teaching…stay tuned for additional courses coming soon!

Question: How are learning science strategies incorporated into these courses?
Answer: Students process knowledge better when they have a good balance between informational material and activities. We designed the materials for each course around visuals, examples, and annotations that quickly summarize the information and allow for better learning. Then we get instructors to process and practice what they’ve learned by including opportunities for practice.

Question: Why is good A/V quality important for learning?
Answer: We understand that while you may be subject matter experts in your individual topics, you may not be experts in audio-visual production. You may have never even picked up a camera before! Our Learning Science team knows how critical audio and visual quality is for learning. Poor quality alters learning, making it more difficult. We wanted to share simple steps for improving your quality by recommending the most popular and affordable equipment and showing the basics of video production so your students can learn without interruption.

Question: What techniques did you use to create the curriculum?
Answer: Our first and most important step in creating the course curriculum was identifying the skills and outcome we wanted our students to walk away with. We identified which skills our instructors need to create high quality videos and then created our course curriculum, identifying the efficient (and engaging) ways to present the course material.

Question: Can you describe the creation process for these courses?
Answer: Organization is key to producing a successful course. Even if you feel you are organized, do more. This was something we learned the hard way! Outline your curriculum extensively, including fine details like naming your lectures, choosing your course image and summary. (We left these steps to the end, which is not recommended as it slows down the editing process).

Write out your script and get others to read it aloud, so it sounds natural and personalized (so you can avoid sounding like a robot). We highly recommend completing your entire script before filming, especially if you’re not fully confident in your content. If you know your content well and film without a script, make sure to record several takes and edit, edit, edit – be very careful not to drift from your topic or ramble. (Our scripts were not fully complete before filming, which caused us to pause, finalize or rewrite certain sections, costing us valuable time).

Make sure all shooting locations are relevant to your content. Don’t choose spots at random just because they are “fun”. (We often found ourselves chasing the daylight – rather than planning backgrounds that made sense with our content). Film each lecture or segment multiple times so you have a variety of versions to edit. Planning edits and b-roll into your script will help speed up your editing time. (Because we didn’t include edits or b-roll in our script we ended up filming a lot after we began editing).

Question: What can we look forward to seeing in the future?
Answer: At Udemy, we want our employees to share as much with you as you share with us. We’ll continue creating courses and teaching essential skills that will help make your courses successful. We’ll continue producing content on a regular basis addressing and instructing key points as we identify them. We believe video instruction is a strong format for learning and want to support you in teaching the world.

If you haven’t viewed our first round of courses, take a look at them now.