Udemy Instructor Spotlight: Amani Abbas

A passionate teacher and coder, Amani Abbas has five courses on Udemy with nearly 2,000 students, but, as you’ll read below, her ambition and impact go far beyond our platform. She’s using her expertise to help more Arab women learn about programming and launch their own careers.

Name: Amani Abbas
Location: Amman, Jordan

When did you join Udemy?
I joined Udemy in 2014 as a student, then in the same year as an instructor. I was looking for online learning websites, and, specifically, I was looking for online courses for teachers.

Did you have any prior on- or offline teaching experience prior to publishing your first Udemy course?
I was an Arabic teacher for one year, then a TESOL teacher for two years in an international school in Saudi Arabia. I also shared teaching tips and strategies as a presenter at the Teachers of Young Children (TOYC) conference for two years and was a teacher coach at a private school in Saudi Arabia as well. I started teaching online when I was teaching Arabic, and one of my courses is about the Arabic language for non-Arabs. After receiving the Ideal Teacher Award when I was a TESOL teacher, I created my second course so I could share my helpful tips and strategies with teachers everywhere.

Why did you decide to teach on Udemy? What were your goals?
Well, I love teaching, and I love sharing, and I learned that when you share information or knowledge, you never forget it. You gain more than what you give.

Udemy is a great website: It is user-friendly for both instructor and student, and the standards for course quality are high, so it is trustworthy. Also, the Udemy team is very helpful, and the instructors community is absolutely amazing for discussing our issues and challenges and getting help. No matter what your learning goals, you will find Udemy courses taught by professionals from everywhere in the world.

My goals as an instructor were to share my knowledge, make friends with people who have the same interests as me, and have a lifelong source of money where I can afford the courses on my wish list. I love being able to teach anyone, anywhere, anytime; there are no boundaries. I never thought I would be one of the top 10% most engaging instructors on Udemy, but I did it and it was a very happy surprise.

Describe your experience creating your first course.
It wasn’t easy, to be honest. I don’t have professional equipment; I use my mobile phone to shoot and record. At the beginning, it was a little hard to find the right applications for optimizing audio and video and also planning content for a full course, but things got easier as I gained experience and received tons of helpful feedback from the Udemy team and other instructors. Also, the Udemy series on how to create a professional course helped me a lot.

What have you been able to achieve with Udemy that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Recently, I started an initiative called Female Arab Coders to teach Arab women how to code online for free and support them till they become freelancers or professionals in a specific area in programming. I use Google Forms to get applications from interested women, and I created a Facebook page to promote the initiative and a Facebook group for talking to these women (our trainees) on weekly basis, making announcements, and helping them throughout their learning journey.

I used Udemy to create the courses, the lectures, the quizzes, and the assignments, and I created coupons so women can enroll for free. Any money I earn goes back into promoting the initiative and giving more women the opportunity to join and learn. These are the three courses I made for FACoders: Introduction to Git and GitHub; Introduction to Python; and Build Your First Website: Introduction to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

I want to continue expanding FACoders on Udemy and will open registration for the second round very soon (check the Facebook page!). I am also planning to make more courses about teaching, probably about online teaching and how to create a professional, successful online course in the Arabic language.

Have you had any memorable student interactions?
There have been many memorable moments and memorable students that really make me happy, proud, and grateful. For example, one student told me that all of the teachers in her school are taking my course at the same time and discussing it during their lunch break. Another student told me that my courses changed her life and made her start to think not just about the people that she takes care of but also about herself, her goals, and her dreams. We still keep in touch, and she is studying now and planning to become a web developer in the next year.

How has teaching online impacted your life, professionally and personally?
I now have a lot of friends from many different countries, and we keep on touch on social media. They are like my big family. I’ve even gotten offers from schools to join their teaching faculty. Unfortunately, all of them have been far from where I live, but I am so proud that I am now attracting these opportunities.

Anything else you want to add?
Online learning has become essential in the world now. Information and knowledge are growing faster than schools and universities can develop new curricula. We need many more creative teachers who can deliver information from behind computer screens, so if you have the skill and expertise, do not hesitate to teach it to others. There is always someone who needs it and is looking for it.