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Love Your Students: Engage Students with a Contest or Challenge

Help students get to know you and they’ll fall in love. Kick off your course with a challenge or contest.


Sometimes students purchase your course and don’t start it.  Wondering how to activate some of those less engaged students? Reel them in with a contest or challenge. Here are 3 simple steps to implement a contest in your course:

  1. Decide on the end goal: What’s the task you want students to accomplish with this announcement? This could be as large as building a polished iOS app, or it could be as small as completing the first 2 sections and posting in the discussion board with 1 question or comment on the material. Either way, make sure that you’re providing a call to action for your students that is clear and actionable.
  2. Decide on the prize or motivation: Will you reward your winners with a prize? Or will the completion of the task provide motivation enough? If you do offer a prize, consider making it specific to your course content. If you’re teaching a course on blogging, offer to link to the winner’s blog from your own site!
  3. Communicate contest to students: This is where those educational announcements prove particularly useful. Send an announcement to your students to kick off the contest. Check out this example:

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 12.08.43 PM

Interested in further examples? The Udemy Instructor Team has run several challenges in the official How To course – check them out here.

Now it’s your turn! Follow the below steps to create a motivating challenge:

  • Click into the Announcements section of your Course Dashboard.
  • Compose an announcement:
    1. Clearly outline the call to action and the contest, and tell students exactly what you want them to do (“Watch Sections 1 and 2 and post one comment in our course discussion board about your social media marketing plan”).
    2. Make sure to end with a call to action link – either to the lecture you want students to watch, or to the course discussion board.
    3. Pro Tip: Using images will grab your students attention.