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What I’ve learnt from 7,847 enrollments and 136 reviews

Udemy accepted ‘Your custom React component’ video course 618 days ago which is my very first video course. It’s a one hour, free tutorial talking about component creation with the React.js JavaScript library. It took about 6 months to create the course while I learnt some important lessons about myself I want to share with you in this article. I belive you can gain from my experience if you want to be an instructor.

What were my biggest challenges while I was making the course

  • choosing the right style
  • explain exactly how something works
  • video and sound editing in general
  • making the right scripts
  • English speaking (English is not my native language)

#1 mistake — too small font size

As you can see there are some problems in my first course even though I tried to give my best. The most annoying problem is poor video quality. The problem is not with the video resolution but the too small font size. I didn’t realize that I should increase my normally used font size in order to be readable in a video. That was one of the most useful feedback I got from my students. Always check the result on mobile devices too!

#2 mistake — too many omissions in the explanation

At the beginning of the process, you have to choose a style what you can apply during the course. It defines the form of your screen casts or whether you appear in the video or not. Also, you need to decide whether to record the explanation first or fit it to the video afterwards. After trying to record my explanation live a few times, I realized that it is much harder to focus on solving the example task and its enjoyable explanation at the same time. Therefore, I chose the style of first recording the solution to the task on the video and then later fitting my explanation to it.

In order to avoid annoying mistakes, I wrote the script for each chapter in advance. That sounds good, but it has a huge downside. When I tried to fit the pre-recorded screen-cast and the post-recorded explanation, it turned out that the pre-recorded text had been terminated much shorter than the given video excerpt. As a result, I was left with two options. The first is to fill in the blank with additional text, the second is to leave it as it is. I didn’t have a good idea of exactly how I could fill in the blanks, so I chose the second option. This can be annoying to the viewer as it can have the effect of having your earphones broken down from one moment to the next.

I learned a lot from this, in my next course I will consider whether the pre-written text roughly fills in the video section presented. If I think this is not true, I will expand it.

Who I was before I created this one-hour course

From my profession point of view I was a senior full-stack software engineer with serious professional experience behind me. I held some classroom trainings before, but not online. Creating an online course is more different than any other form of teaching. So I was an engineer without any online teaching experience.

Who I became after I created my first course

After I got experience in online teaching, I became a much better engineer. What is the connection between becaming a better engineer and teaching others? The better you can explain (and teach) something the more advanced your knowledge is. What I’ve got from the whole process?

  • improved teaching skills
  • better English language usage
  • improved presentational skills
  • the skill of scripting a whole course or describe things

To sum up: despite all the mistakes, I am very proud of the first online course of my life. It was a hard, but wonderful adventure. If you want to develop not only your hard skills but also your soft skills, I highly recommend you create some online courses.

Senior Full-Stack Software Engineer and Instructor

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