As students, we acquire a breadth of knowledge and even expertise in our respective fields. Additionally, we might engage in captivating hobbies that keep us in a state of flow for considerable hours. For instance, a communications major may develop expertise in the art of public speaking, while an English major may hone the ability to write in a variety of formats.
Turning these skills into cash endowing activities is something within your grasp. There are a number of online teaching forums that seek out instructors with your skill-set. The two online venues we will be focusing on in this write-up include Udemy and lynda.com.
lynda.com Submission Process
I recently applied to become a lynda.com author, as, unlike Udemy, lynda.com has an audition process where you create a three to five minute video that is subject to approval. You can use whatever camera and microphone you have, as the staff at lynda.com will eventually fly you down to the United States to record you live, once you have your script intact, and only after your audition passes the test.
lynda.com: Professional or Not?
I opted to use my expensive Canon XA20 camera and wireless microphone, which I was fortunate to have. I was given less than a week to submit my audition, and I scurried to make it the best product possible. When I actually submitted it, three days later, I was told that my contact would look at it within half a week to a week. One week passed. No response. So, I sent an email and got a vague reply saying that there was a delay. Two weeks passed. No response. I sent a number of emails, to which I didn’t receive any reply whatsoever. I even requested access to the membership portal, which was supposed to be part of the parcel for making a submission, but they didn’t respond once again. Three weeks passed. After fretting and sending lots of emails with no return response, roughly three weeks in, the lynda.com contact said he finally had reviewed my submission, and the content looked excellent but it appeared that I was addressing a much younger audience than intended, so he rejected my submission outright.
On a Positive Note
On the bright side, I didn’t go through the process with a lazy contact and end up flying to the U.S., unsure if the contact would respond to any of my emails if I ran into problems. Also on a positive note, the experience showed me that I could come up with a video tutorial lesson in roughly three days?script, lighting, sound, filming, and all. Lastly, and most upbeat of all, I discovered that Udemy has authors making reams of money from their courses and that you don’t necessarily need approvals to post your course (although there are benefits to getting approvals).
Three Options You Have with Making Your Courses
You have three, well four, options for making your Udemy course.
Option 1: PowerPoint Exclusively
For one, you can get a Yeti USB microphone (I bought mine at Chapters bookstore’s Apple store or you can get one on Amazon) and just do a voice over in newer versions of PowerPoint. If you don’t have a newer version of PowerPoint, you can access one in the cloud for a monthly fee of approximately $8 on the Microsoft site. There are even features to edit over your PowerPoint. This is probably the least ideal of the options for making your course.
Option 2: Screen Capture Software
The second option is to use screen capture software, such as Camtasia, which costs around $250 to own. Your student access to lynda.com through Athabasca’s Student’s Union offers some instructional vides on how to use Camtasia. This software basically records exactly what you see on your computer screen while also capturing your voice, assuming you bought a microphone.
Option 3: Both screen capture software and PowerPoint
The third option is to use screen capture software in accompaniment with a PowerPoint slideshow that you show directly on your screen as you record. Of course, you use the USB powered Yeti or similar brand of microphone for recording your voice.
Option 4: Video
The fourth option is to go directly with video and use a professional microphone. It is good to get some insight into filmmaking before venturing out in this direction, such as knowing the rule of thirds, for instance, but that can be easily gleaned through books. You will also want to get special lighting, which you can do makeshift with some light stands at home and some paper covering the lights (but far enough away that they aren’t set on fire by the lights, of course) to soften the lights. Or, you could go out and buy a professional kit for a thousand dollars (or maybe a bit less), if you are truly ambitious and a bit spendthrift.
You will also want to invest in Adobe Premiere, and perhaps even Adobe After Effects, which is a more advanced program that integrates with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. The learning curve for Adobe Premiere is best done by accessing lynda.com’s tutorials while reading the Adobe Visual Quickstart Guide book on sale at Chapters or Amazon. You can purchase a student edition of Adobe Cloud, which gives you access to everything Adobe, for approximately $30 a month.
As for me, the video route is not ideal, as I tend to smile a lot in a sort of motherly, coddling fashion, but whatever works for you is on the path you should go.
Audacity or Adobe Audition
If you are using a microphone, which you inevitably will, you will likely want to access some audio editing software, and a free version of an audio editor is called Audacity. It has online support and guidance, and is relatively easy to use. Another option is to gain access to that Adobe Cloud membership I told you about above, and get learn how to use it from the lynda.com library. It is a steeper learning curve, but rather intuitive, once you get the swing of some of the basics.
Outline Your Course
One of the first things you will want to do is to build an outline of your topics that you are going to cover. Break it down into sections under which you lump related video topics. Harrop and Drum (2014) recommend you look at For Dummy’s books? outlines for inspiration. For more on a strategic path for making Udemy videos, please consult the book titled The Power Of Udemy: An Avenue for Traffic & Massive Exposure by Amy Harrop and Debbie Drum.
Payment in Udemy Versus Payment at lynda.com
I should make a final note that the key difference between Udemy and lynda.com is that Udemy pays the student as a percentage based on the number of student enrolees, whereas lynda.com offers a lifetime subscription to their service plus monthly royalty payments that they don’t reveal, but suggest are derived from “a calculation model based not only on the success of your course, but on the success of the library as a whole” (lynda.com, Becoming a lynda.com author, p. 3). Personally, the Udemy payment system is more transparent and appears to be potentially more lucrative as well. The lynda.com route is more for gaining credibility as an expert, but Udemy can offer that feature as well.
Harrp, Amy, & Drum, Debbie. (2014) The Power of Udemy: An Avenue for Traffic & Massive Exposure. U.S: Createspace.
lynda.com. (n.d). Becoming a lynda.com Author. PDF.