From Online Acquaintances to Offline Colleagues
From Online Acquaintances to Offline Colleagues: How Two Udemy Instructors Took “Commudemy” to the Next Level
The role of online teacher is more fun with a few colleagues! You may not be able to hang out in the Lunch room, but as a Udemy instructor, you’ve likely interacted in some way, shape or form with another instructor in our online communities – The Udemy Studio or the Faculty Lounge. And hopefully you found that interaction useful! Maybe you got advice on the best mic for your needs, maybe you received valuable feedback on your test video or course outline, or maybe you simply felt more motivated after trading comments with a like-minded individual. But have you ever considered taking these discussions offline? Denise Fletcher and Michelle Campbell-Scott did just that. They met in the Studio and have since continued the conversation (and, dare we say, friendship!) off-line.
Denise is an active contributor to the Studio, and if you’ve browsed the group over the last few months you’ve probably noticed her giving helpful advice on everything from course image design to overcoming stage fright. But for Denise, “working on a course in isolation can be quite daunting, and also lonely. Other people around you aren’t able to fully understand what you are doing and the challenges you face.”
So when Denise noticed a thread about instructors from the U.K. and realized that Michelle lived less than an hour away, she jumped at the opportunity to meet another Udemy instructor face-to-face! She discovered that “getting to know someone beyond a few messages in the Studio can really build a mini Udemy support network.”
Michelle has taught on Udemy for over a year, and she’d long thought about trying to connect with other Udemy instructors offline. When she realized Denise lived in the same area, she was more than happy to arrange an offline meeting.
Denise and Michelle first met for a coffee, anticipating a brief chat over a hot drink. To their surprise, the conversation lasted several hours (and even included lunch), and they both came away feeling excited, refreshed, and above all, motivated. Although they teach in very different content areas – Denise in Time Management and Michelle in eBook Marketing – that didn’t stop them from bouncing ideas off one another.
Since that initial meeting Denise and Michelle have met twice more in person and have exchanged Facebook messages nearly every day. For these two instructors, connecting offline has renewed their excitement over teaching on Udemy and has given them both the “kick in the butt” they needed to finish their next courses.
Top Reasons to Meet One-on-One
Whether you luck out like Denise and Michelle and meet in person, or whether you arrange a Skype call with another instructor, connecting one-on-one definitely has its benefits. Here are just a few:
- Brainstorming: There’s a lot of brainstorming that goes on in the Studio and many a successful course idea has been born there. But there’s also a certain “magic” to a focused one-on-one, back-and-forth conversation that’s hard to create in a public online forum. When Denise and Michelle met for the second time, Michelle had a few new course topics she was exploring, and Denise jumped in for a thorough brainstorming session. Michelle noted that “brainstorming on your own – with no-one to bounce ideas off – can be unproductive and frustrating. Brainstorming with someone else offering suggestions is invigorating and stimulates creativity.”
- Trade Expertise: It’s not always the case that the best feedback comes from an instructor in your topic area (although if you’re looking for content advice, that may be true). Someone from a different background is often best at spotting what you’re missing, or bringing a new perspective to the table. Denise lacked experience in marketing, and Michelle helped her develop more effective marketing copy for her course. When Michelle noted that video editing was difficult, Denise suggested an alternate recording style that could make Michelle’s process much easier. Their different skillsets ultimately complemented each other and shed new light on course creation for both of them.
- Motivation: Both Michelle and Denise emphasized repeatedly that they most appreciated the in-person meetings because it gave them such a motivational boost. For Denise, “meeting Michelle in person was a great motivator. Being able to talk to a like-minded person who also understands Udemy can really fire you up. Every time we’ve met I’ve felt refreshed and raring to get on with my course.” Now they feel accountable to each other when it comes to course progress, and their daily check-ins via Facebook message have ensured they both stay on track. In Michelle’s words, “it’s better motivation than any self-help book I’ve ever read!”
Connecting one-one-one with another Udemy instructor may take some time to set up, but as Denise and Michelle’s story proves, it’s well worth the effort! Now it’s your turn to give it a try. As a first step, join the Udemy Community on Facebook and start bouncing your ideas off other instructors. You may just be surprised and delighted at the discussions that follow. If you’re interested in starting a Udemy instructor meetup group in your area, contact us here.