Teaching, learning, and sketching together

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.08.19 AMWe’ve written before about Udemy employees who’ve published courses on their own. They help us better understand how instructors go through the process of course creation and how best to support students over the long haul while also having some fun sharing what they know. Now, we have another Udemy insider getting creative and exploring new ways of delivering a rich learning experience.

We were all incredibly sad when Pablo Stanley decided to leave Udemy after a few years at the company, but the sting was lessened when he told us a) he’s working just across the street; b) he’s continuing to teach Udemy courses; and c) he’s hosting “Sketch Together” workshops at our office, filming them, and will use the video to expand and update his current course material.

Pablo is a pretty exceptional person, and while most instructors won’t be able to take advantage of these exact opportunities, there are a few pieces of inspiration all of us can take away.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.10.43 AMDo it because you love it.
For now, Pablo’s workshops are free to anyone – as in no payment whatsoever. He’s not motivated by money-making potential; he wants to create a space for helping other people improve their skills. He gets to connect with students who share his interests and spend more time living his passions (design, illustration, user experience, cartooning). We all have to pay the bills, but the most successful instructors start with a genuine love of their subject and love teaching it.

There’s room for innovation.
Pablo’s definitely not the only Udemy instructor who’s finding innovative ways to build upon their course material by organizing local events, offering additional tutoring, and adding updates for a richer online experience. Pablo took the extra step of contacting a few software vendors and asking if they’d offer student discounts; the companies happily took him up on the idea.

Have a specific audience in mind.
Pablo’s well-connected in the Bay Area UX/design scene and already knew the best sites to reach target attendees for his workshops. He created a website and a Meetup group to get the word out, outlined the group’s purpose clearly, and explained who’d benefit from participating and basic knowledge level required. Rather than try to be everything to everyone, Pablo is ensuring he attracts the students he feels best equipped to teach, while students have clear expectations of what the workshops will deliver.

Teachers should learn too.
Another reason Pablo’s not charging for his workshops is that, since he’s doing this for the first time, he’ll be learning as much as he’s teaching. He realized while working at Udemy that mentoring is one of his greatest passions, and the workshops will let him explore how to work one-on-one with students in person and in real time. Being an online instructor isn’t just about publishing a course and then sitting back to watch the magic happen; the experience is more rewarding for everyone when instructors are active participants who are also open to trying new things.

With the first workshop under his belt, Pablo’s getting the mentoring experience he wanted and his students are coming away with valuable skills. How else can instructors round out their course offerings to help students learn even more? We’re betting this will be a hot topic of discussion at Udemy LIVE this summer!