Announcing the Instructor Council + Other Exciting Updates

As a vibrant community of 9,000 passionate instructors educating more than 3 million hungry students in 190 different countries, you are truly teaching the world on Udemy.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re eager to learn from you as well. With that in mind, we’re announcing the formation of the Udemy Instructor Council, as well as the first few new developments to come out of that initiative.

Building a Better Udemy: Announcing the Instructor Council

The team here at Udemy is forever on the hunt for ways that we can make our instructors more successful and give our students extra tools to achieve their goals. And no one has a better pulse on what’s important than you. So, it’s time for you to speak up and for Udemy to listen.

As a part of our constant efforts to improve transparency and communications, Udemy has developed a formal channel for instructors to take an active role in everything from formulating community policies to improving product features. The Udemy Instructor Council will be a volunteer collection of instructors that we’ll work with on an ongoing basis to gather critical feedback and incorporate that into our company roadmap.

While we won’t be able to include every one of our 9,000 instructors in each initiative, that certainly won’t stop us from trying. Communication with the Instructor Council will consist of a combination of intimate discussions, small panels, surveying and beta testing of product features, webinar-style community updates, and even the occasional in-person event.

Udemy instructors are a dynamic, global community that come from all walks of life — we’ll aim to represent that diversity in the makeup of the Instructor Council, and we’ll need you to make that happen. Anyone can volunteer to be a part of the Instructor Council by completing the form here.

Revenue Share Improvements, Superb Support & Deeper Discovery

We can’t wait to hear your what’s most important to you via the Instructor Council. And, in fact, we haven’t waited.

Feedback from the pilot Instructor Council sessions has already been invaluable in helping us identify and address several key issues affecting Udemy instructors. Here are a few of the most important developments to come out of those discussions:

Simplification of the Instructor Revenue Share

When Udemy announced a change to its revenue share agreement in fall of 2013, the goal was straightforward: reward instructors for being expert instructors and active marketers and give Udemy room to aggressively grow a sustainable marketplace.

But after speaking with many of you and with our newly formed Instructor Council, we also realized that we made things too complicated. So we’re simplifying.

Effective July 1, instructors will receive a 97% share of ALL course sales that you make with your instructor coupon. This includes both sales made to your own audience (e.g., via your website or email list) and sales made to students in your paid courses via Udemy’s Promotional Announcement tool. This change eliminates the complicated “Student Source” versus “Traffic Source” distinction, and gets back to basics. The bottom line is that this is an exciting change that ensures that when you promote your course, you will be handsomely rewarded.

The sole exception here applies only to instructors opted into Udemy’s optional Affiliate Program. An instructor coupon sale would not capture 97% if the sale was made by a Udemy affiliate within the 7-day affiliate cookie window. We expect this to be a relatively rare case, but it is a necessary exception to maintain a thriving affiliate channel for instructors. As always, instructors can change their decision to participate in Udemy’s Affiliate Program at any time in their Premium Instructor Settings.

Along with the newly simplified revenue share structure, we’ll also be clarifying Udemy’s Community Guidelines. One important change is that Promotional Announcements on free courses will no longer be allowed. Free courses are tremendously valuable to students, so we love them. However, allowing active promotion on free courses would likely lead to a proliferation of free courses in the marketplace. This, in turn, would result in reduced conversion and revenues for all instructors. As you know, we believe deeply in a sustainable marketplace, and maintaining a healthy balance of free and paid courses (that balance is currently 20% free and 80% paid) is a key piece of that vision. You’ll still be able to communicate with your students via Discussions and send educational material via Course Announcements.

As the new Community Guidelines take effect, we’re here to help you be marketplace ready. Our team has been hard at work dissecting the science of what makes a high-converting course marketing page. We’re revising our Community Guidelines on what will and won’t be allowed on course landing pages, and our recommendations have been proven to boost conversion rates by as much as 25 percent! To make sure that your course is good to go, or to request some help from our team to turbo charge your landing page conversion, head here.

If you have any questions about the details around Udemy’s revenue share or the rules for Course and Promotional Announcements, please check out the support article here or take a look at Udemy’s standard terms for instructors.

And last but not least, a shiny new revenue share deserves a shiny new Instructor Revenue Report. Thanks to feedback from Udemy instructors, we’ve redesigned your Payment Report to be easier to read, and to provide more actionable feedback to drive results.

Be sure to check out Udemy’s new guide to successful course promotions, and happy marketing!

Udemy Categorization: Deepening Discovery

Discovery is another opportunity for improvement that we’ve focused on with the pilot Instructor Council. With 17,000 courses and counting, we’re constantly working to improve students’ ability to find the right course for them, and boost instructors’ ability to be discovered.

Beyond constantly refining search to make it more powerful and harnessing data to provide precise, personalized recommendations to students, Udemy is rethinking the browsing experience and site navigation. The goal, of course, is to make both students and instructors more successful.

We’ll be starting by upgrading our course category structure. While most of this work will be behind the scenes, over the next couple weeks you may notice new features such as search filters for students, as well as new category pages and tagging. We’ll be working hard to optimize your course’s number of impressions and conversion, but ultimately you’re the expert. If you feel that your course has been misplaced, please let us know by emailing with the subject line “Course Category Question.”

Instructor Resources: You Deserve the Best

Udemy instructors move heaven and earth to make their students successful. So, we’re following your lead. We’ll be building out our instructor resources to make your life just a little easier. You may have already noticed our new and improved Udemy Support channel and revamped free course on How To Create a Udemy Course, and we’ll be adding new community features in the coming weeks to help you keep apprised of Udemy developments, platform updates and bugs, and extra resources. Plus, we’re already sprinkling in a few goodies for your students such as Chromecast integration and Google login.

Onward & Upward

We hope that you’re as excited about these updates as we are, and we’re thrilled to leverage the Instructor Council to reflect your voice in the next wave of growth at Udemy.

See something that’s missing or have a question? Let us know.

We’re here for you, and because of you, after all. There’s so much that we can learn from you, our valued instructors. So, here’s your chance to speak up!

We’re listening.

~ Udemy Instructor Team