Introducing MOOCs: Udemy

3 May
Udemy holds a special place in my heart. It was the first platform for online courses that I discovered. Although it has been around since 2010, I was first introduced to Udemy by a Brazilian-focused blog I followed which noted that Brazil for Beginners was about to begin. Udemy is a bit different from the other MOOCs that I’ve reviewed here. In fact, it isn’t really a MOOC. It is more of a platform, in which instructors can provide videos, presentations, and PDFs to potential students. It successfully raised a lot of money, too. All in all, despite my early introduction to Udemy, it just can’t compare to Udacity and Coursera. The reason for this is simple: It seems like Udemy doesn’t have any quality control, and is a random collection of online courses. Some of them are just taken from other sites, such as iTunes U or Khan Academy, and some are specifically made for the Udemy platform.
Whereas Udacity and Coursera courses are created by university professors and the quality is tightly controlled, it seems like Udemy was thrown together quickly by internet entrepreneurs  and was then populated quickly by whatever material could be found (or by whoever found Udemy and decided to put content on there). Udemy is only a platform, and seems to have no relation to the people who publish content there, so like any other open marketplace there is good quality stuff a lot of crap that you must sift through. Udemy classes seem to be all over the place. For example, there is a class on how to use google adwordshow to use wordpressa Tai Chi class, and a class called An Introduction to basic Hand Balancing. Now, I would certainly enjoy learning all of these things if I had enough time for it, but I am concerned about the quality of the courses offered on Udemy.

Some of Udemy’s courses are free, and some of the courses must be paid for. Each class is independent of all other classes. They lack the structure that Coursera has, and there are no quizzes or tests. Many of the classes seem to focus on internet marketing and SEO. I assume that the passive income crowd and bloggers are using Udemy as a source of income, but I have no doubt that in the long run it will earn much less than Udacity or Coursera.
The open nature of Udemy also causes it to lack focus. This isn’t inherently a bad thing: lots of great things come from diversity, but I fear that as a business model Udemy won’t reach the heights of the major players in online education. Whereas MRU is highly focused, and Udacity is fairly focused, Udemy has no focus whatsoever. It is merely a platform, in which people put up their own classes. Again, I want to stress that this doesn’t mean that they are all bad. I took Brazil for Beginners from Udemy, and it was my first venture into serious online education. It was nice: I got a good introduction to Brazil. Also, it is specific enough that if I had to wait for Stanford or Yale to put up a class on Brazil, I probably would have had to wait for several years. So although it is nice to have the official stamp of a well-known university on the course that I am taking, there are also benefits to allowing other actors to provide course material. However, the class consisted of only video lectures. There wasn’t any interaction with other students in forums, and there were no writing assignments, quizzes, or tests.
Regardless, if you want to learn how to market yourself on the internet and how to build a good blog, you will probably learn far more at Udemy then at any other MOOC platform. Coursera doesn’t offer any marketing courses, but Udemy is full of them. Udacity won’t teach you how to do SEO for goolge, but you can find that on Udemy.

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