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Things I See In Courses That Make My Head Shake

One thing to know about me is that I take a lot of courses, mostly on Udemy. I take a course every 2-3 days, on average. Some days I go through two courses in a day, and other times it takes me a week to finish a single course. So I have seen a lot of different quality of courses over the months and years.

The great thing about Udemy is that it allows anyone to create and publish a course, and so gives everyone a chance to teach the world what they know. The not-so-great thing is that several instructors are clearly trying to make a quick buck and are not that interested in course quality.It is my hope that these attempts at trying to create and get an entire course out in a single day end up backfiring on those doing the creating.

The problem is getting worse. Some instructors are now showing their amazing monthly income statements, and that’s attracted the Internet Marketers “make a quick buck” folks in droves.

Here are five actual things that I have witnessed while watching Udemy courses, mostly in the past two weeks:

1. Bzzz, Bzzz, Bzzz

One instructor didn’t stop recording when his cell phone made a loud alert sound. When it beeped a second time a couple of minutes later, he put it on vibrate. And then later in the same lecture, the vibration sound indicated another alert. The cell phone went off three times in the course of 5 minutes – but hey, can’t stop recording! Gotta get this course done today!


2. The Show Must Go On!

In the same vein, one instructor mentioned he had to grab a quick bite because it had been a long day recording his course, and then proceeded to talk with his mouth full to get that video done. “So, um, this is how you… oh this is really good, sorry. But that bite was delicious. I’m starving! Anyways, where was I?”

Or the instructor who started saying “um” a lot, and then realized he was saying “um” too much, and then joked about how he should stop saying “um” so much. And then said “um” again and made himself laugh. Hey, um, how about you prepare your lecture in advance instead of trying to figure out what you want to talk about with the recording going?


3. I’m a Pirate Baby, oh Yeahhhhhh!

That same instructor is a double winner in this post. During his lecture, Windows kept notifying him that his copy of Windows was not genuine. Then he joked about it and said, “Yeah I’m not running a genuine version of Windows.” Oh hey Mr Windows Pirate, Microsoft and the Software Alliance will be glad you recorded that and admitted to it being not genuine.


4. In This Lecture, We’ll Talk About Something Really Obvious for 10 Minutes

It’s amazing how many people take time to record “how to register for an account” videos for sites like Paypal, eBay, and Flickr. If you’re going to sign up for a “How to Sell Items on eBay” course, you probably don’t need to spend 10 minutes on how to create an eBay account. It’s not that hard to create online accounts at any site. It’s just a sign that you don’t really know what to talk about.

And then of course, after signing up, you’ll need to talk about the home page, what each of the buttons do, how to use the search box on the site. Hey, even the “For Dummies” books don’t waste people’s time like that.

One course spent 10 minutes at Alexa.com talking about the subject site’s amazing popularity and it’s Alexa rankings. Sure, people are going to pay money for your course, and them 1/3 of it will be about how great the site you’re about to show them is…


5. The Course Will Primarily Be Student Self-Study

There was an episode of South Park in which little Gnomes were stealing the kid’s underpants, for profit. Their business plan was as follows:

  1. Collect underpants
  2. ?
  3. Profit!

This took on a life of it’s own on the Internet. But I think too many of these lessons where the instructor’s main goal is to make money turn out like this.

  1. Find eBooks to sell on the Internet
  2. ?
  3. Profit!

I guess the details of these schemes are not important. How do you find these eBooks to sell? How do you find customers to buy them? How are you not ripping off customers by selling a 99 cent eBook for $10? The details don’t matter I guess.

Perhaps I’ve been watching too many courses made by people with bad motives. Courses made by people who are teachers at heart, and not marketers, are still amazing experiences and are good to see.

So please, if you’re going to make a course to sell on Udemy, put some effort into it.


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