Black Friday: Get On Camera to Introduce Your Course

Intro Lecture


 Meet the #BlackFriday2015 Challenge

  • The first lecture of your course must be an introduction that introduces yourself (the instructor) and the course material.
  • It must also include an explanation of your course learning goals and a brief overview of the curriculum.
  • You must appear on camera in a “talking head” style format.
  • There is no due date for this task, your course just must have a structured, talking head style intro lecture when you submit it for review. But if you’d like some community feedback, be sure to post your intro video in the Studio by October 28.

Get on camera

Making a stellar first impression on your students is of utmost importance. Unless students are excited by the topic as you present it in the first 10 minutes, and understand what’s in it for them, they may not stick with the course.

Your introduction lecture should also encourage your students to connect with you on a professional and personal level. That’s why we ask that your intro video be a talking head – showing your face on camera builds trust and credibility. If your students like and trust you from the beginning, they’ll be more forgiving later on (for example, when you have to narrate that lengthy and tedious software installation). Are you ready to inspire them from the get-go? This article covers how to built your intro lecture for success with your students.

Affirm your students’ learning goals

You should tell your students that they want to learn the topic you’re teaching. This may seem silly, but this affirmation can increase students’ dedication to both the topic and the course. Address the the question, “Why should I care?” by letting your passion for the topic shine through. If you find something puzzling, express your curiosity. If you think something is particularly noteworthy, make a big deal about it and share your perspective on why. Convince students they should care about the topic as much as you do. Students don’t know what they don’t know. They are looking to you to tell them what they need to know. Be confident, assertive, and persuasive.

You should also identify your target student so students know they’re in a course that matches their background and experience. To do this, imagine completing the sentence: “I created this course for…”

Describe what value students will get from the course

What is the overarching goal of your course? What can students do or accomplish after learning these knowledge and skills, and how can they apply them to their lives? Make sure that you are focusing your curriculum around the skills your students will learn.

Here are a few examples of how to make you course learning goals student-centric:

  • Demonstrate what students will be able to do at the end of the course with visual examples (“You will build this fun website that does X, Y, and Z”; “You will be able to build complex spreadsheets that calculate X, Y, and Z”).
  • Share a personal transformation story (“I started with no knowledge of programming and am now able to do X, Y, and Z”; “I had no understanding of body language and now I can read people’s emotions upon meeting them for the first time.”)
  • Describe how the the course takes the student from non-mastery to mastery (“Here are the 5 stages we will go through in the course”).

Convince students that it’s all possible

Make your students believe in their abilities! To do this, explain how you’re going to teach them the material.

  • Don’t be unrealistic about the potential time and energy students need to invest, but do underscore that those goals are well within their reach.
  • Clearly articulate how the sections and lectures you’ve created are going to guide your students through the learning process by giving a brief overview of the curriculum.
  • Focus on the skills students will learn rather than the knowledge or theory.

At this point you should also instill students with confidence that you are the right person to take them on this journey, so be sure to describe (again, briefly) your background and expertise in the topic.  Students want to know that you are approachable, so emphasize that. However, rather than putting distance between you and your students by describing all of the accomplishments you’ve made that they haven’t, instead demonstrate that you remember what it was like to grapple with the concepts you’re now teaching, and that you know how to help them learn effectively. And of course, show your face on camera to build that extra level of empathy!

Put it all together

Earlier this month, we discussed how to make sure you’re 100% prepared before getting on camera, and we also discussed the importance of your tone of voice. Let’s put that all together, along with the information from this article, and create an inspiring introduction video!

To get you started, here’s an example from instructor Vanessa Van Edwards. Notice how Vanessa touches on all the key points we went through in this article. She also does an excellent job convincing students why they should care about the topic and uses a short activity to build students’ confidence in their abilities.


Get Feedback from the Community

Share your intro lecture with us to ensure you’re hooking students from the get-go! Here’s how to get feedback from the community:

  1. Use this template to script your introduction lecture and hit all the key points students care about.
  2. Film your intro lecture and then share it by uploading it to YouTube and posting the link in the Udemy Studio (or just uploading it directly to Facebook) with the hashtag #BlackFriday2015 by October 28. The community and our Instructor Team will offer feedback on how well you did!
  3. After you’ve incorporated any feedback, upload the lecture video to your course curriculum. Now you’re one step closer to publishing!

If you’re not a member of the Studio yet, apply to join here.

10 thoughts on “Black Friday: Get On Camera to Introduce Your Course”

  1. Charles King says:

    Thank you for this challenge. I may finally get off my rear, and actually do this that I have wanted to do for a long time.CK

  2. Michael R. Gaudet says:

    Thanks for this opportunity. I have already (delightedly) complied with the Udemy directive to include an “Intro Lecture”. It turned out great!

  3. Andrea says:

    Very excited about the challenge!

  4. Joe Sabah says:

    Wow. Nice overview. Nice example.

    I’m going to do it!

  5. Rick Ostler says:

    The Black Friday Challenge has come a perfect time for me.
    Excellent ino on intorduction video.

  6. Chris Greenwood says:

    Super excited about this Udemy Black Friday Challenge!

  7. Vickie Maris says:

    This challenge came along in great timing. I’m creating content for a new course and have pieces of it uploaded. I will do this challenge to help keep on track!

  8. Startup Saturdays says:


  9. Darnell Nathaniel says:

    I am so there. I am excited to accept this challenge and this is just another incentive to crank it up a notch.

  10. Norman Pirollo says:

    This challenge convinced me to finally make a “talking head” video. After a few tries and some stumbling, I got it right.There was a learning curve and I am still learning. The Intro Video is now incorporated into my course! As well, I an working on new course(s) and will be updating my existing course with talking head segments as well as demonstrations! Excite to where this will lead.

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