Anyone Can Code
I am positive that anyone can become a web developer and it doesn’t matter what he knows, who he is or where he comes from.
To prove this, I decided two years ago to create an online course, where I would learn total beginners all they need to know to build their own web application, a discussion platform with private messaging and groups.
I didn’t want to deliver a bloated course everybody would enroll because it’s so long but nobody would finish because it’s so long.
It took me almost a year to write the script and another year to produce the video content, hand-made slides, and voiceover recordings. It took me another two months to put it all together, cut irrelevant and useless passages, create quizzes and upload it all to Udemy.
Finally, after two years in production, Total Web Development Course is ready and waiting for its first students.
I tried to make this course as short as possible because I didn’t want to overwhelm students with unnecessary stuff. I didn’t want to deliver a bloated course everybody would enroll because it’s so long but nobody would finish because it’s so long.
I know this too well from my own experience as a student of many 30+ hour courses I have never finished. Most of them are outdated now anyway, so I won’t even bother to return back to them.
Even though I had to cut heavily, I was able to make it to the final 12 hours and 48 minutes. I believe this is doable. If a student really wants too, he can finish this course in a single day and walk away with a lot of new experience.
Teaching is hard and fun
Even though this was not my first online course, I realized something really interesting during the production of this one. In some cases, it was really hard to come up with the right explanation. At the same time, I was constantly asking myself: Is this obvious enough? Does this need some more visual aid to make sense? I hope I was able to find out the sweet spot so the course will make sense for the beginner but doesn’t make him look totally stupid. Overall, I must say that I enjoyed this project, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
From slow to fast
I really tried to think and breathe as a total beginner. You can immediately see what I’m talking about if you watch the first and one the last lecture. In the beginning, my narration is so slow I doubted it’s a good idea, but on the other hand, I wanted to make a newbie really comfortable with his first unsure steps. Then I gradually shift the gears and make things flow faster and faster until finally, it might look it’s too fast. I guess only the feedback will tell me if this was a good idea or not 🙂
Udemy & marketing
As of writing this article, I have some 40.000 students on Udemy, but the funny fact this, that I have no way to reach them. You see, unaware of the consequences (my bad) I made almost all my current course available for free because they are mostly quite old and I was thinking that people will have a chance to get to know me as an instructor and when I publish this new course, I let them know and based on their previous experience, they might decide to enroll or not.
The question is if people who got the course for free behave the same way as people who pAID for IT.
Well, I won’t let them know. Again, this is not about Udemy rules, which I respect, this is about me being dumb and not reading the rules. The problem is that once you change your course from free to paid and back again more than once, which I definitely did, you won’t be able to send promotional announcements to the students of these courses. So even though I have 40.000 students, I wasn’t able to let them know that there’s a new course available.
Now I see, that it makes sense. Udemy wants you to play fair, if you make your course free, people enroll in huge numbers because, well, it’s for free, thus you would create a lot of audience for your paid course, which is something Udemy doesn’t like. The question is if people who got the course for free behave the same way as people who paid for it.
My guess is that free riders wouldn’t buy my new course anyway so what’s good is an army of 40.000 free riders if all they expect is another free course and they don’t even bother with the paid course.
I set the price of this course to $199.99 after considering this whole issue for quite a long time. You see, it’s been two years in production, yes, I only worked on it when I had time, which was like 20 minutes per day, so to be perfectly honest, it’s not like I was bleeding from my hands for the last 700 days. If that was the case, the course would be not 13 hours, but 50 days long! 🙂
Anyway, I put a lot of effort into it. And frankly, I am pretty sure that if a total beginner enrolls and complete the course, he will get the knowledge which is worth $200. Yes, this is only my own opinion and I don’t try to sell anything here, but trying to be as objective as I totally can’t be anyway – I would pay for such course $200 if it gives me such knowledge.
On the other hand, I don’t mind making it available for free, after all, it was first and foremost fun. I loved waking up early in the morning to sit down and work on this course and frankly, now I kind of miss this ritual I made after 2 years with this course and I am already thinking about creating a new one.
So the question is, should I make it for free, will people appreciate it and actually dive into it or will it become just another item on the long list of never-opened free courses?