November 13, 2015: Friday News Roundup

Happy Friday the 13th! Here’s hoping no bad luck befalls you. And now, onto the roundup. If you only have time to read one article today, skip to the last item (in truth, it’s a video, not an article, but it’s not to be missed).

The Digital Revolution in Higher Education has Already Happened. No One Noticed.
First up, an interesting perspective from writer and thinker Clay Shirky on online learning and how it’s hardly a “new” or “futuristic” development. He writes, “the dramatic expansion of online classes has been largely ignored because it’s been driven by non-traditional students, which is to say students who are older and have more responsibilities than the well-off adolescents college has always stood ready to serve.”

Why ‘Leaning In’ Won’t Help Women Get Equal Pay
Well, this is rather disheartening. It turns out that, as women acquire more advanced degrees and rise up the corporate ladder, the wage gap actually increases. “Women who’ve earned PhDs and spots in the executive suite face the greatest wage discrimination of all.”

The Ever-Growing Edtech Market
Here’s a look at the state of the K-12 edtech market, now valued at more than $8 billion annually. According to the article, “the testing and assessment market, which raked in $2.5 billion during the reported year, was the single largest category of any segment.”

3 Challenges Online Education Helps Adult Learners Overcome
Nothing in here we didn’t already know, but it’s great to see mainstream media touting the advantages of online learning for working adults — flexibility, convenience, and equal access.

Minecraft for Parents
Meet Cody and Erica Wagner, 13-year-old home-schooled twins from the Denver area. Their mom, Taffy Wagner, is a prolific Udemy instructor herself, and now Cody and Erica have launched a course to help adults understand the popular game Minecraft that so many kids are obsessed with. Watch how poised and mature these teens are in this TV interview! We’ll have more on the Wagner family’s Udemy story coming soon.

XML Tutorial: Getting Started with XML

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Helping middle-schoolers spark their talents

Guest post by Lauren Rosenfield, Udemy Instructor Account Development Associate

If you stop by Udemy’s San Francisco office on a Wednesday afternoon around 4:15 pm, you might be surprised to find 20 seventh and eighth graders from Roosevelt Middle School making a beeline straight to the snacks. Middle-schoolers aren’t any different from the rest of us, and who doesn’t like free snacks, right?

But don’t get the wrong idea. Despite the initial rush to the kitchen, these students come to Udemy for more than an easy way to spoil their dinners. They’ve got a weekly date with their Udemy Spark mentors. Spark is a national nonprofit that re-engages underserved seventh- and eighth-grade students by bringing them from the classroom to the workplace for project-based mentoring.

IMG_4453Having joined Udemy a few months ago from another Bay Area educational nonprofit, I was worried about becoming disconnected from the day-to-day educational work I’d previously enjoyed so much. But I quickly discovered my Udemy coworkers are just as driven to make a real difference in people’s lives through education. In fact, almost 15 percent of Udemy employees in San Francisco, including me, are participating as Spark mentors this semester. It’s just another example of “how much our employees believe in the mission of improving educational outcomes,” according to Udemy’s business operations manager and Spark mentor Monica Chellam.

Other Udemy mentors have been motivated to join the program by their own personal experiences. Community associate Che Harvey explains, “I had a mentor when I was younger, someone who treated me like a real person and not an obligation.” For Che, his fellow Udemy employees’ commitment to the Spark program shows that “we couldn’t have made it to where we are today without the help of others. Everything is a collaborative effort with positive encouragement.”

And the learning hasn’t been a one-way street either, as the middle-schoolers have taught us plenty during our interactions. For example, my mentee LaNaie told me at our first meeting she felt uncomfortable speaking in front of others and wanted to master this skill during her apprenticeship. We decided LaNaie’s project would be teaching a Udemy course on hip-hop dance for beginners. LaNaie seemed nervous at the prospect of appearing in videos for her course, but as soon as the camera started rolling, she was absolutely stellar! It turned out she was great at public speaking but had never been given the right opportunity to discover her strength. “Sometimes they just need the right questions or puzzles to solve” before they realize what they’re good at,” says associate creative director Danny Chung. Witnessing LaNaie’s success, I was reminded how important it is to dive head-first into the things that scare me the most so I, too, can explore my own unknown strengths.


Sure, it’s true office snacks are a big incentive for the students to show up every Wednesday, but it’s their hunger for knowledge that really keeps them coming back. The connections they’re making with Udemy employees and the skills they’re learning will stick with them long after the semester is over. Knowing that, I can’t imagine any better way to spend my Wednesday afternoons.

November 6, 2015: Friday News Roundup

This was a huge week for Udemy and Udemy for Business — lots of events, lots of media coverage — so you’ll understand if the roundup is a little self-centered this week.

Corporate Learning in the World of Hypergrowth Companies
First up, a recap of our most recent HR Innovators gathering written by Josh Bersin, a leading voice in the HR space (as well as a Udemy instructor). Josh did the honors as the evening’s host, and in this article he summarizes some of the key themes that emerged, including the importance of effective onboarding, the challenges of training managers, the value of mentoring, and why “performance consulting” is gaining acceptance in HR circles. We’ll be sharing more HR Innovators news and content soon, so watch this space. And if you’re in the New York area, make a date to join us at our next HR Innovators event on Thursday, November 12!

Why Ed Tech Is Currently “The Wild Wild West”
In case you didn’t catch the blog post earlier this week, check out this coverage of Udemy CEO Dennis Yang at the 2015 Fortune Global Forum here in San Francisco. Dennis was on a panel with the president/cofounder of Coursera and an academic from USC to talk about how technology is shaping education and the way people prepare for the workforce.

Benefits of hiring a multigenerational workforce
As debate rages around the lack of gender and racial diversity in tech companies, fewer people are talking about age diversity in the workplace, even though the tech industry is notorious for being a youth-centric culture. Folks still love repeating Mark Zuckerberg’s comment, made in 2007, that “young people are smarter,” even though the Facebook CEO himself is now in his 30s and expecting his first child. This post from Glassdoor explains how companies benefit when they bring a range of ages and levels of experience together.

Will a robot take your job?
If you’ve been asking yourself that question, this interactive tool from the BBC is at least a fun way to find out the answer. But be prepared — the prediction for your future may be grim, as “About 35% of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte.”

Programmers: Stop calling yourselves engineers
We’ll end things on a provocative note. This author, who’s also a game designer and professor of interactive computing, suggests that software programmers have hijacked and “cheapened” the title of engineer, which should really be reserved for those who “are regulated, certified, and subject to apprenticeship and continuing education. Engineering claims an explicit responsibility to public safety and reliability.” Just some food for thought as you get ready for your weekend.

Udemy in Singapore


That would be word to describe the Singapore training landscape during from now through 2020 and beyond. Udemy is proud to be part of the launch of the iN.LEARN 2020 strategy and the opening of the iN.LAB on 28 Oct 2015. The Guest of Honour, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Education and Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ms. Low Yen Ling, unveiled the roadmap, iN.LEARN 2020, for Singapore training providers over the next 4 years. The government will drive innovative learning approaches through funding and facilities; training professionals can now meet in a 2-story facility, iN.LAB, to ideate and develop new products for the local and global training community.


The photograph shows Ms Low Yen Ling in the middle and Mr Rich Qiu, Vice-President of Global Business Development, Udemy to her left and Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) next to Rich. Dr Michael Choy from Dioworks Learning is to the right of Ms Low.

Udemy has been actively engaging training organizations and government bodies in Singapore over the past year to align Udemy’s platform and online course offering with key initiatives and plans, such as SkillsFuture, a government-driven program to increase and improve lifelong learning for adult learners in Singapore. Together with Udemy’s local partner in Singapore, Dioworks Learning, Udemy is reaching out to the Singapore workforce to enable upskilling efforts.

Going forward, Dioworks Learning will also be running masterclasses and practitioners’ sharing sessions for the Singapore training community. The good news for experts who are selling their courses on Udemy is that with the government making a concerted effort to promote online learning among the workforce, more learners from Singapore are expected to purchase courses on Udemy for their own professional development.

We’re excited to help Singaporeans reach their professional goals with online training!

Udemy experts who are interested in participating or running these masterclasses in Singapore should email Bryan ( for more details.

Udemy CEO takes to the Fortune Global Forum stage

Panelists Daphne Koller (Coursera), Alan Arkatov (USC), Dennis Yang (Udemy) and moderator Susanna Schrobsdorff (assistant managing editor, TIME) at Fortune Global Forum 2015. Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Global Forum

Panelists Daphne Koller (Coursera), Alan Arkatov (USC), Dennis Yang (Udemy) and moderator Susanna Schrobsdorff (assistant managing editor, TIME) at Fortune Global Forum 2015.
Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Global Forum

Our CEO Dennis Yang traded his customary Udemy fleece for a suit and tie and mingled with big names at the 2015 Fortune Global Forum here in San Francisco. The exclusive, invite-only event brings together Global 500 CEOs, innovators, technologists, investors, and other experts to discuss topics around the theme of “Winning in the Disruptive Century.” We were pretty excited that Dennis was included in this high-profile group of leaders from 32 countries and dozens of industries.

Dennis shared the stage for a panel on “Digital Learning: Tech Meets Education” with Daphne Koller, president and cofounder of Coursera, and Alan Arkatov, Katzman/Ernst Chair in Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Innovation, Rossier School of Education at USC. Their lively conversation, moderated by TIME Magazine’s assistant managing editor Susanna Schrobsdoff, covered how technology will reshape the way individuals prepare for the workforce and continue learning in their jobs.

Among the other sessions attracting attention was a talk featuring Marc Andreessen of VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Some sparks flew between Andreessen and Fortune editor Alan Murray when the conversation got onto whether technology is fueling economic inequality, but everyone basically agreed that technology is and will continue to be a power for good in broadening access to quality education. Dennis will help move that dialog along when he participates in Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, CO, next summer.

Dennis is going to have to stay in business attire for a while longer. Next week he’ll be in New York City for another invitation-only event: the RBC Capital Markets’ 2015 Technology, Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference.

Udemy for Business: On the road and on the web

It’s been an eventful and exciting couple of weeks for the Udemy for Business team. They attended an important conference, picked up a sweet award, and launched a new website. And they’re not slowing down. In fact, stay tuned for a recap of tomorrow’s HR Innovators event, which we’ll be sharing in days to come!

HR Tech conference
IMG_0127First, the team hit Las Vegas for the HR Technology Conference & Exhibition, known to insiders as the “Super Bowl” of HR events. It was a great opportunity for networking, brand building, and learning about trends and challenges in the HR department. For example, did you know that HR technology alone is a $12 billion industry? And it’s growing — fast.

One of our favorite sessions was led by Josh Bersin of Deloitte, a top influencer in the corporate learning & development community and a Udemy instructor. He talked about how learning in the workplace has changed, with constant interruptions and distractions competing for attention, and how this has affected the way employees want to learn. Essentially, today’s employees want more autonomy over how, when, and where they receive training — and their employers are scrambling to respond.

Other key learnings from HR Tech 2015:

  • HR is ready for a revolution. There was lots of discussion around the notion that traditional HR may be “dead,” but it is being reborn as a more strategic business function. Get familiar with the term HCM — human capital management.
  • Just as big data has emerged as a powerful force in other segments, advanced analytics is also a hot topic in HR tech circles — lots of exhibits and presentations on trending topics like predictive analytics, machine learning, and mobile technology. As in other parts of the business, consumer tech is driving HR tech.
  • Technology for HR practitioners is expanding from just providing value to HR teams to empowering employees and managers to “upskill” so they can perform their jobs more effectively.
  • HR as a discipline is moving from serving organizations to serving team leaders, who want performance management, LMS, engagement, etc., all rolled into a single solution. The future of HR IT lies with comprehensive dashboards where managers can easily access a wealth of data.
  • HR doesn’t just need more data; it needs real-time, reliable data. Too much HR data today is of the “garbage in, garbage out” variety.

Brand Velocity award
Screenshot 2015-10-22 15.58.20InfluenceHR was a one-day event held in Vegas in conjunction with the HR Tech conference, where the InfluenceHR Marketing Awards were given out to the best HCM brands. Udemy for Business snagged the Brand Velocity award in the Learning category, which recognizes vendors whose brands are “emerging rapidly and in alignment with leading industry trends.”

The team will maintain this momentum in 2016 and is planning to attend and/or sponsor many more events in the next calendar year. That includes more dates around the country for our HR Innovators series, which has been hugely popular and keeps attracting bigger crowds.

New website

Just in time for all the new connections the team is making, we also launched the brand new Udemy for Business website this week. It’s a great place to learn how the Udemy for Business platform has been helping companies of all kinds deliver a better training solution with real employee engagement.

Congratulations to the Udemy for Business team! Keep up the great work!

October 30, 2015: Friday News Roundup

Boo! We’re getting into the full Halloween spirit around here and looking forward to a weekend of gorging on Twix bars. Doesn’t get much scarier than that. Happy Halloween, folks!

Can coding bootcamps replace a computer science degree?

The answer, according to this article, is probably not. The author examines the appeal of bootcamps and talks to some graduates who talk about the value they got from the programs — and why they still felt the need to get their bachelor’s degree.

Everyone agrees: millennials have a lot to learn at work

Everyone might also agree that we’re getting a little tired of millennial-bashing… The difference here is that researchers at the Center for Creative Leadership asked millennials themselves, not their employers or older coworkers, what skills they believe they need to improve.

Why Oracle is building a public high school on its campus

In the midst of Oracle OpenWorld this week, the company announced its plans to build a STEM-focused public school to groom future generations for the demands of the 21st century workplace. Apparently, it’s been part of Larry Ellison’s vision for years, and Oracle employees will volunteer to spend time with students.

Keep learning and stay relevant

The shrinking length of time spent in a job before jumping to the next one is yet another trend contributing to the skills gap. This Gen X writer describes how being a lifelong learner is helping him keep his skill set relevant and marketable in a workplace he couldn’t have imagined at the start of his career.

10 edtech companies you need to know about

Guess who’s the first company listed in this roundup article? You got it — Udemy! We get high marks for being a marketplace that empowers anyone to create a course as well as for the customized training available through Udemy for Business.


Happy instructors = Music to our ears

When we say the lunches rock at Udemy, we’re not just talking about the catering! Recently, we were treated to a lunchtime concert by rock and blues guitarist Jimmy Dillon, who teaches our Ultimate Acoustic Blues course. Over the span of a long and successful career, Jimmy’s shared the stage with such music luminaries as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, B.B. King, and Carlos Santana. We love welcoming instructors and students to our office and were thrilled to get this private performance. Check out the video below. Thanks, Jimmy!


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October 23, 2015: Friday News Roundup

If it’s Friday, it must be roundup time! Check out this week’s notable articles.

Why women in the workplace are screwed in 7 charts

“At the current pace of progress, we are more than 100 years away from gender equality in the C-suite.” This quote from Sheryl Sandberg got a lot of attention this week and rightfully so. Here’s an overview of survey results that show the glass ceiling is real and not getting any easier to crack.

5 ways to know if joining a startup is worth the risk

Going to work at a startup is exciting, challenging, and full of opportunity. But it can also feel risky to cast your lot with an unproven entity with an uncertain future. Here are a few suggestions before you take that leap.

A listener perspective on online learning

Online learning doesn’t have to start with college. In this Youth Radio contribution, a 15-year-old explains why she likes combining regular classroom studies with self-paced learning on the Internet.

What degrees are actually worth the cost of college?

Here’s another radio piece, this time discussing the high cost of higher ed. Guest Peter Cappelli, director of The Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources, explains how certain majors may seem like sure-fire career boosters but you have to hit the market at just the right time.

How to get your dream job when you can’t afford an unpaid internship

One thing that hasn’t changed in the new tech-driven economy — new grads still have a tough time getting jobs when they don’t have experience. To get relevant experience and skills on your resume, the author suggests online learning, volunteering, finding a mentor, or starting at a nonprofit.

Meet the millionaire maths teacher turned entrepreneur who works for half an hour a day

Instructor Rob Percival is a true Udemy success story. Read on to find out how his life has changed since he published his first web development course more than a year ago.