Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Reactions to Completely Free Classes

I've been offering online audiovisual classes for more than two years.  Most of my Udemy courses ( cost modest sums, $39 (with coupon) for the most expensive, in line with book prices.  (After all, they're oral books, practically speaking.) One offering is free with a coupon, another is absolutely free.

I've found that the hardest critics are the people taking the absolutely free course. The ones using a coupon to take a course for free are much like the ones paying for a course, in their ratings.  It's as though the free(loaders) are looking for TV, looking to be *entertained*; the poor ratings typically refer to production quality (which is not TV quality, no more than any classroom instruction), while the good ratings refer to the content.

The absolutely free course consists of videos from my free YouTube game design channel, which I state up front. I get fairly-rare criticism on the channel, but not like this offering on Udemy.

I'm told that in the business world, customers don't respect or value what they're given for free. Perhaps the same thing is happening here.

The moral? My intention to have no more free-without-coupon courses has been confirmed. There will be more collections (not really courses) from my Channel, but free by coupon only.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Marketing, or Teaching?

Teaching on Udemy can be a trial for an actual professional teacher (or a retired one, in my case).

Fundamentally, Udemy is run by marketers and the marketing mentality, not by teachers. The people in charge see metrics, they see dollars, they see number of users per month, they don’t see education, or even just training.

Though recently there have been turns for the better, such as banning some of the most egregiously questionable classes such as “Get rich quick” and weapons training.

Another place where this marketing orientation is obvious is in how they treat courses.  Courses must be approved. They focus on appearances rather than on quality of information. For example, the standard advice is to write a script for each video, which I think is really bad advice.

Thanks to 17,000 classroom hours of experience, I do fairly well recording screencast and voice together.  If I screw up sufficiently I'll cut it out or do it over.

But usually I don't have to edit anything.  Of course, I do not want to be television-slick, because that's not how the messy process of education works and not how the real world works. I’m not competing with television presenters.

We need to stop pretending that learning is easy, that it's much like rote memorization; conveying that to students is a LIE, unless you are only training people to follow steps.  That works only in the simplest kinds of problems.
"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest."Mark Twain
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exup'ery

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." Albert Einstein

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle