Course Reviews 101

How does Udemy collect and use student feedback?


Like many online marketplaces, Udemy uses a 5-star rating system to collect and display student feedback on each course. The primary purpose of this feedback is to help prospective students decide if a course is a good match for their learning goals, but ratings and reviews can also help instructors identify ways to improve their content.

Below, learn how Udemy collects and aggregates student feedback and get the answers to some frequently asked questions.


When and how do students leave ratings?


Students are first prompted to leave a star rating after watching 12–15 minutes of course video. They can also leave ratings directly from their “My Courses” page or their course dashboard. When they choose a rating, they also have the option of providing a written review. Students can update their ratings or their reviews at any time.

Once a student has left a rating, it passes through a filter that assesses its reliability. If the filter is confident the rating represents the authentic view of a student with a genuine interest in the course the rating will appear on your instructor dashboard and factor into the course rating calculation. If the rating came with a written review, it will also show on the course landing page and your instructor dashboard.


How is my course rating calculated?


Udemy takes all the student ratings left on a given course in the last 90 days and aggregates them into a single course rating. That rating is displayed on the course landing page and on “course cards” across the website. Rather than using a simple mathematical average of all ratings, the course rating calculation gives more weight to reviews from its most engaged students. When assessing a student’s engagement, we consider things like course consumption, the recency of their rating, and the length of their written review.

If a given course doesn’t have more than ten ratings in the last 90 days, the course rating is calculated using the ten most recent ratings. The calculation considers only recent ratings to make the course rating a stronger predictor of how students enrolling today are likely to experience the course.


What will happen if a student gives my course a low rating?


Every instructor gets low ratings sometimes—you can’t please everyone. That said, prospective students look at course ratings and written reviews when they’re considering enrolling in a course, and a course’s rating can affect the visibility it gets Udemy search, recommendations, and email marketing. So, it’s worth it to pay attention to the overall trends in your reviews and to strive to create the best experience possible for your students.

When you do get a lower rating, consider giving the student a thoughtful response. Learn more about responding to reviews here.


Why doesn’t Udemy require written reviews?


Requiring reviews dramatically lowers the number of ratings we are able to collect. When the number of ratings left on a given course is small, its course rating is less reliable, and students may lack the information they need to make an enrollment decision. Across every category and course type, courses with more reviews are more appealing to students. To ensure we collect enough ratings to be a reliable signal for prospective students, we don’t require written reviews.


Can students write anything they want in a review?


No. Any review flagged to our policy team that undermines the integrity of the review system will be removed. You can read more about what kinds of reviews our policy team will remove here.


Why do you ask for a review early on in each course?


We prompt students for reviews after 12–15 minutes for three main reasons:


  1. These ratings are fundamentally accurate. On any given course, ratings left after 12–15 minutes strongly correlate to ratings left later on. For better or for worse, students tend to form opinions fairly quickly, so we choose to capture those opinions early.
  2. Collecting ratings early on lets us collect more ratings. Just like requiring written reviews, requiring lots of watch time greatly lowers the overall number of ratings left. To ensure we collect enough ratings to serve as a reliable signal for prospective students, we ask for ratings early on. This also helps courses—especially new courses—more quickly build the social proof they need to succeed.
  3. Placing the review prompt early on rewards instructors who deliver a great first impression, which is critical for student engagement. Our data and research show that if students don’t feel they’re learning what they came to learn when they first start a course, they won’t come back. So while the first review prompt does place a lot of pressure on a student’s initial experience with the course, that pressure exists independently of the prompt as well.

And of course, if a student isn’t ready to leave a rating, they can always click “Ask Me Later” to defer.


Does Udemy allow ratings from students who refunded the course?


Yes. Just as a marketplace for physical goods would allow reviews from customers who returned an item, Udemy allows ratings from students who have refunded the relevant course.


Why are ratings important?


With a huge variety of courses to choose from, future students count on ratings and reviews to help them decide which course is right for them. By collecting and aggregating a reliably high volume of feedback from current students, Udemy’s review system gives them the information they need to make that decision.


As an instructor, you can make your course stand out to prospective students by consistently creating great experiences for your current ones.


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