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Student Engagement Tips from David Travis

“Students think it’s magical when the tutor appears ‘live’”


David Travis


Hometown: Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Udemy Birthday: January, 2013
Most Popular Course: User Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Usability
Claim to Fame: David’s claim to stardom is that he appeared as an extra in the 1979 film “Quadrophenia” alongside Sting.


David Travis first came to Udemy nearly two years ago when he decided to create an online course based on his previous offline teachings. David recognizes that publishing a course is only the first step on the Udemy journey. Interacting with students post-publication is just as (if not more) important to the overall student experience than the course material itself! David is a big believer in instructor responsiveness, which he views as a type of customer service:

“Students pay $199 for my course and I think they deserve a responsible tutor for that money. So for me, what they buy isn’t just the course – it’s also the follow up support to help them finish.”

As part of this philosophy, David answers all student questions within 24-hours. Even if he sees a very basic question (or one that’s already answered in the lectures) he believes it’s worth taking the time to respond: this responsiveness builds a stronger relationship with the student. David has also included a questionnaire (embedded in a lecture) with the aim of improving his teaching based on student feedback.

We asked David to share some additional engagement techniques that have proved successful for his course. Here are a few key takeaways from our discussion:

Send a Welcome Message

Whenever a new student enrolls in his course, David sends them a “Welcome” message. Ever notice that a student purchases your course and then never actually engages? Personally welcoming each student to the course is a fantastic way of prompting them to get started! It also indicates to the student that you’re a current presence in the course as an available resource!

Q&A Sessions

Chances are that if one student has a question, others students have the same one. As we all know, it can be tiresome to answer the same questions over and over. This is yet another issue that David has overcome. He regularly solicits questions from his students and then films a Question & Answer session: he simply sets up a video camera, prints off the questions, and answers each one directly to the camera.

These Q&A sessions are then added as additional lectures in the course itself. In David’s words, “Students think it’s magical when the tutor appears ‘live’ in an online course – it’s a great impact tool at your disposal!”

We’ve asked a variety of bestselling and innovative Udemy instructors to host one hour Q&A sessions in the Udemy Studio or Faculty Lounge. These “Ask Me Anythings” are a chance for the instructor community to get their questions answered in real time by instructors we consider to be true mentors. To view the Ask Me Anything session hosted by David Travis, go here  (Note that you will need to be a Studio member to access the link).