#WhyITeach: Q&A with instructor Huzefa Kapadia
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Courses: Power 800 SAT Math
How does teaching on Udemy fit into your overall career and work?
It is currently part of my supplemental income, but I intend to make it my primary source of income. Udemy has shown me a way to make money from a true passion of mine, and while it has only netted a small amount of cash so far, I believe that once I perfect the art of making and marketing video courses, I will be able to support myself fully from it.
What first motivated you to teach an online course? What motivates you to continue now?
The impetus to make my first SAT course was a meeting I had with an employee of a test prep company. He encouraged me to make an SAT math course based on overall student demand; I then decided that a video course would be especially appropriate given my knowledge of video and music production. Now that I have seen how much fun making a course can be, I want to keep doing it. Moreover, I do believe that I can eventually turn this into a sustainable business with enough hard work.
Why did you choose to offer your course through Udemy?
I was initially going to post the course directly on my website, but a close friend of mine recommended I look at Udemy. After conducting some research, I decided that Udemy would be a great platform and would make my life substantially easier, allowing me to focus more on curriculum creation and video production as opposed to marketing and other aspects.
Were there any surprises as you got started with Udemy?
The course approval process was a little slower than I had expected for my first course, but other than that, no major surprises. I have noticed that Udemy does not seem to be the first place students look for test prep material, so that’s a bit of a challenge for me. I imagine, however, that as the site grows, more students will turn to Udemy for SAT and ACT curriculums.
What are the top lessons learned you’d want to share with new instructors?
I think I’m a bit too new to Udemy to have any major words of advice, especially since I have only made a few hundred dollars in sales, but one thing I’m striving for is to put quality above all else. I only have two courses so far, but I feel that they are polished and well made. We shall see if my attention to quality (as opposed to quantity) works in the long run, but my bottom line is to always put out courses that I am overwhelmingly proud of.
How have your teaching skills/approach changed since you started?
I initially planned to solely focus on math, but I have already decided to broaden my horizons and make a course on vocabulary and body language in the next few months.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of teaching on Udemy?
Having students write to me directly to tell me that my course helped them tremendously. I also tutor one on one, and seeing true appreciation from students is by far the most precious gift a teacher can receive.
What are the biggest challenges around teaching on Udemy?
Getting students in the door. I truly believe I have built a great SAT course that is on par with Kaplan and Princeton Review products, but spreading the word is very difficult. I am still trying to brainstorm ways to market my course to the public in a cost-effective manner.
Have you ever taken a course on Udemy or do you plan to? If so, was there anything about the student experience that prompted you to change the way you teach?
I have enrolled in several courses and have found that many aren’t as engaging as they could be (which is sometimes the case with some teachers and professors in classroom settings too). From my experience as a student, I have endeavored to make my lectures as engaging as possible by employing a great deal of visual cues and music. Also, I try to be as lively as possible when on camera.
What are your future plans for teaching/learning on Udemy (or elsewhere)?
I would like to produce an additional four courses on Udemy by the end of this year.