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Udemy Instructor Spotlight: Alicia Paz

Alicia Paz, M.A. is a therapist, DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) coach, and Udemy instructor. She’s no newbie to the platform, as Alicia has been teaching on Udemy since 2013. Her dedication to providing students access to mental health coping skills goes so far as finishing the script for her second Udemy course while in a Target parking lot with her two-month-old son in the backseat.

Name: Alicia Paz

Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

When did you join Udemy?

I started teaching on Udemy in 2013. I was looking for a website to provide structure to all the ideas I had floating in my head and had jotted down on paper for months. Since I joined, I have taken more than a dozen course on Udemy as a student and connected with thousands of instructors.

Did you have any prior on- or offline teaching experience prior to publishing your first Udemy course?

As a Masters-level counselor I have taught small groups in person, primarily in a prison. When I started teaching on Udemy, I was familiar with teaching coping skills and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to intimate groups, but definitely not to a worldwide audience.

Why did you decide to teach on Udemy?

After signing up to teach a course on Udemy, I quickly joined the instructor community and saw so much passion among the instructors. That’s when I decided the online teaching community was one I wanted to be part of, and my first Udemy course went live a few weeks later.

Describe your experience creating your first course.

It was kind of a mess! I had never used a camera, let alone lighting and audio gear. I had a camera and used Youtube videos to figure out where to start. Luckily, I had a partner at the time who was excited about editing and filming and handled the setup while I worked on the scripting. Because we were so new, it took 100 hours of filming and editing to make the first course, plus 50 hours of marketing. 150 hours later, I had a four-hour course!

Any tips for people going to create a course for the first time?

Just start! If you are considering making a course, or have spent countless hours preparing, now is the time to start filming.

What’s your favorite Udemy course?

I decided to return to school next fall in pursuit of second Masters Degree in Public Health and was looking for ways to get my feet wet in the field before applying to schools. I took the amazing course, “Global Health – The Essentials” by Vageesh Jain, MBBS, MPH, which pushed me to take the leap and finally apply for my MPH.

What have you been able to achieve with Udemy that you wouldn’t have otherwise?

I left a stressful job after eight months of teaching on Udemy and now stay at home with my newborn son.

What are the most rewarding aspects of teaching on Udemy?

I have received some amazing feedback from students who told me I saved their lives, gave them hope, or improved their mental health. I am more grateful for my students than they could ever be for my course!

Student feedback has, at times, given me chills and brought me to tears. I am humbled to help people in need all over the world on Udemy.

Any happy surprises during this experience?

I’ve been surprised by all the interesting places students have come from. One student told me he listens to my courses via slow-speed internet while goats walk by, while others tell me they listen to my course to help them make decisions in their careers; I’m always amazed by the students on Udemy.

What are your future goals/plans for teaching on Udemy?

Tomorrow, I will get the keys to my first home where I plan to build a home studio. Soon after, I will begin my second course on DBT. My goal from five years ago remains the same: to bring access to mental health coping skills to everyone!

Anything else you want to add?

I was back to teaching on Udemy ten days after giving birth to my son. I felt great and was ready to return to work. I drove around so he would nap in the car, then I pulled into parking spots in empty parking lots to get Udemy work done. I finished scripting and marketing my second course while sitting in a Target parking lot with my two-month-old son asleep in the backseat and a Starbucks coffee in my hand!