Tag Archives: udemy

Sympoz Craftsy

With $35 million in fresh funding Sympoz is powering the Gig Economy

Sympoz, the startup behind craft centered how to course site Craftsy, is quite a fascinating player in the edtech space. Though it has raised $56 million in total funding, with the latest round of $35 million in December, it has not received that much coverage.

Probably because the craft space does not seem to be that relevant in the overall picture of revolutionizing education and preparing people for a new world in which everyone needs to know how to code. Well, as you might guess already, I beg to differ.

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Udemy

Udemy’s new Commission Structure: 50% or Nothing

Udemy

Yesterday Udemy’s founder and CEO Eren Bali sent out an email to the instructors using the course marketplace to inform them about upcoming changes in the revenue share structure. From November 1st on the revenue share is going to be based on the source the student comes from. If Udemy brings a student to a course, the revenue share for instructors drops from currently 70% to 50%. If the student comes through the instructor, the revenue share increases from currently 85% to 100% for the instructor.

The reasoning behind these changes are growth. Bali and the team at Udemy believe that through the new structure they are going to be able to invest more resources into marketing, the platform and an affiliate network.

Is 50% commission fair to instructors?

Coming from the instructor’s side of the table I had my fair share of ranting about high commissions on platforms in the past. On the other hand, I totally understand that a platform like Udemy needs to make enough revenue to not only cover cost but to grow, especially when it raised significant venture funding.

And Udemy did something really clever here. I think, it was in the first interview I ever did for EDUKWEST in which Jon Bischke, back then founder & CEO of eduFire, said that marketplaces are a shared effort. The marketplace and its sellers need to work together in order to get customers. And that’s OK as long as the marketplace is actually delivering its promise of promoting the courses / lessons of its instructors in the first place and not relying on their instructors to do all the work themselves.

Attracting top instructors

This led to a killer argument: if you are doing all the work anyway, you can also host and sell your courses on your own. And that’s what top instructors usually did – or they sold their courses to platforms like Lynda.com that offered cash in advance. Udemy’s new revenue structure leaves top instructors who do their own marketing with no good reason not to use Udemy, to the contrary.

Besides getting 100% of the revenue for every student they point to their own courses there is a good chance of winning new customers through the platform and still earning 50%. Instructors also don’t need to care about setting up and maintaining a LMS on their own, don’t need to worry about the payment methods and they get a customer care team for free, as well. Sounds like a pretty compelling offer to me.

The new revenue share also leaves additional percentage points that Udemy can use to attract more affiliates who are generally used to commission between 50% to 75%. But the problem is that at the moment the really interesting courses don’t seem to be on the affiliate list. I dug into the vast back catalog, which is a daunting task in itself due to the huge amount of courses offered on Udemy, yet wasn’t able to find the courses I would be interested to promote.

Issues to solve

Maybe more quality courses will show up in the affiliate section when the new revenue share kicks in but this brings us to the biggest problem Udemy is facing to my mind: quality control. There is a certain waypoint in a marketplace when crappy content outnumbers the good or great one. I feel Udemy is past that point and it gets harder and harder to find good courses via the platform itself. Sure, if the entry point is the website or social profile of an instructor, the way to purchase is pretty straight forward. But if they land on Udemy and have to skim through tons of courses on the same topic, read the ratings and compare the prices it’s a different situation.

But that’s what Udemy needs to achieve, especially under the new revenue share model. Students who buy one course through a lead coming from an instructor need to buy at least one more course from another instructor on the marketplace for Udemy to generate revenue. That’s the advantage of controlled platforms like Lynda.com. They have control over the inventory, all courses have a certain standard of quality and there are not dozens of courses about the same topic.

Other marketplaces like eBay had to deal with this problem and came up with intelligent filters that learn about your preferences and only show you relevant content at a glance from which you can dig deeper if you like. I feel Udemy either needs to implement quality guidelines and curation before courses go live or work on filters that trim down the noise and come up with the courses that are most relevant to a student or affiliate.

And then there is still the question whether Udemy will be able to break out of its core market and enter new verticals, another essential step in order to reach their goal of teaching 10 million students, let alone 100 million. I feel, the team needs to go back in the trenches and seed new verticals like they did in the early days of their marketplace, getting in touch with instructors outside of the tech / startup ecosystem.

udemy online course creator

How much does an Online Course Creator earn? Up to $450k on Udemy

udemy online course creator

As education startups are private companies and therefore don’t have to disclose their revenue publicly like companies that are traded at the stock exchange, it is often hard to estimate how well they are actually doing.

Usually you get a press release stating the startup has hit a major milestone by making it to break even or you get a revenue in the six or seven digit space. Therefore it is always great if someone shares some real numbers we can chew on and that’s what Udemy did today.

And though Udemy isn’t telling us exactly how much revenue the platform is making at a whole, it got their top 10 performing instructors to share what they earned with their courses. And it’s actually pretty impressive, I have to say.

The top 10 instructors earned a combined $5 million with their courses on Udemy, ranging from $44k to a pretty nice $450k. Most of those courses were launched in July 2011, the latest to make it in the top 10 in July 2012.

These are some telling numbers in several ways.

First of all, these numbers show that people are willing to pay for Internet based on demand video courses. Probably not that much of an eye-opener as Lynda.com has proven this for years, already. Of course, Udemy tends to make clear that their business model is totally different, they offer a better share for content creators and that Udemy therefore has the better content. Hard for me to tell, that is basically how the PR game goes.

Secondly, it once again underlines my point that platforms like Udemy or Skillshare are growing in a very homogenous environment, usually big cities and within those more specifically the community of well connected and tech savvy Gen-Yers. They are all urban education platforms. If you take a look at the topics of the top 10 earners it gets pretty clear.

  • Web Development – Victor Bastos $452,985.78; 7,502 students (teaching since 11/11)
  • IT Certifications and Training – Chris Bryant $260,822; 13,000 students (teaching since 7/11)
  • Video, Animation, and Multimedia – Miguel Hernandez $146,512.81; 2,882 students (teaching since 7/11)
  • Business Software – Huw Collingbourne $128,729.83; 4,214 students (teaching since 7/11)
  • Photography – Ken Schultz $65,003.37; 4,157 students (teaching since 6/12)
  • Writing and Content Development – Len Smith $59,532.72; 2,926 students (teaching since 1/12)
  • Yoga – Dashama $43,599.59; 981 students (teaching since 7/12)
  • Graphic Design – Tara Roskell $30,371.92; 3,702 students (teaching since 7/12)

Udemy is born in the Bay Area and Gagan Biyani and the early marketing team did a great job to make the startup known among other startup people. The courses clearly show the trend of lifelong learners who invest in their career by adding new skills for their tech based jobs. Of course, health is also a big topic which shows the entrance of a Yoga course in 9th place.

This again leaves open the question if Udemy and others will be able to grow in other verticals as fast as they did in the tech and skills verticals. Or does this show that people are simply not willing to pay for courses outside of these topics because there are cheaper / free alternatives like Duolingo in the language learning space.


Picture LicenseAttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by Thomas Hawk

Udemy

The Winner takes it all? Udemy raises $12 million

Udemy

About a year after their $3 million Series A round Udemy announced the completion of a $12 million Series B round earlier today. This round brings the total funding to $16 million.

One might argue that this is a sign of times given to the hype of MOOCs and the big rounds Udacity, Coursera and edX received right from the start. But we must not forget that up to this point the team at Udemy has been pretty clever about spending their funding, investing in people and their product.

And, probably even more important, Udemy is generating revenue for itself and the experts who publish their courses on the platform. Back in May Udemy shared that its top 10 instructors collectively earned more than $1.6 million and in November we learned that 25% of all approved teachers on the platform earn $10k or more.

I always like to point out that Udemy is clearly a niche service at the moment and that most of this revenue is probably tied to a tech audience that knows it needs to invest in critical skills like coding, design or social media skills in order to get better jobs. I am not sure if the same success can be recreated in other verticals like let’s say language learning or more classic topics like business administration.

And that’s what Udemy and its new COO Dennis Yang are now going to test, I suppose. According to the press release, which you can find below, Udemy is planning to expand the range and types of its content offerings as well as expanding across new platforms. Udemy just released an iPad app and I am pretty sure that Android and Windows 8 apps will follow, soon.

For a dash of nostalgia, here is my interview with Gagan Biyani, co-founder of Udemy who took care of business development and PR in the very early days of Udemy.

It’s kind of sad that the early stories of hustling tend to fade away in the burning light of VC investment announcements. Who remembers that the Udemy team and some interns spent the whole summer vacation to curate and catalog tons of free video lectures in order to offer people something to learn on the platform?

But that’s exactly what made Udemy into what it is today. The hustle and the initial content the team put on the platform. There were enough other players in the space before Udemy started, yet they seem to be the winners in the race for now.

Press Release

Udemy, the leading online education marketplace, today announced the completion of a $12 million Series B financing round led by Insight Venture Partners, with additional support from existing investors Lightbank and MHS Capital, bringing Udemy’s total funding to $16 million The new capital will be used primarily for expanding the range and types of Udemy’s content offerings as well as extending the content catalog across new platforms. Udemy will continue to bring on the best content from the world’s leading experts, publishers and universities. In addition, the company announced the hiring of Dennis Yang as president and chief operating officer.

Launched in early 2010, Udemy is democratizing education by making top-quality content from the world’s experts dramatically more affordable for anyone, anywhere. The site currently offers over 5,000 courses – with over 400 courses added in October 2012 alone – covering a wide range of subjects, including professional, business, technical, academic, creative and lifestyle. Courses are delivered on demand, so adult learners in particular can take them at their own pace when and where it is convenient for them. Those teaching via Udemy are able to build a curriculum based on videos, slide presentations, PDFs, documents, articles, links, photos and live conferences with their students.

Yang, who previously served as executive advisor to a number of start-ups and held leadership roles with 4INFO and Good Technology, will lead Udemy’s business and operations-related activities, working closely with chief executive officer and co-founder Eren Bali.

“Our marketplace model has allowed us to double our course offerings in just 12 months, grow our user base to over 500,000 students, and increase our revenue 400% over last year,” noted Yang. “Udemy is already a top destination for online learning. This round of funding will allow us to continue to build the most amazing and unique content library in the world, expand our content and platform offerings and capitalize on the disruptive market dynamics of MOOCs and other online learning platforms.”

The Series B investment is Udemy’s third round of financing, having previously raised $3 million in October 2011 and $1 million in August 2010. The company recently announced a strategic partnership with The Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University to offer online leadership development solutions, and last month launched an iPad app, making its content even more accessible to students who want to learn anytime, anywhere. In May 2012, Udemy reported that its top 10 instructors collectively earned over $1.6 million.

ENT Audio Podcast

Student Dept and Leadership Pay – ENT #14 05-18-2012 (Audio)

ENT Audio Podcast

Ed News Ticker #14

Student Dept and Leadership Pay

  • recorded: May 18th 2012
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ENT is brought to you by Mingoville Fun Clock. – Mingoville Fun Clock is an educational game that will teach you kid to tell time. Fun Clock is created by the award winning educational company Mingoville and available for Android and iOS devices. Visit mingovillefunclock.com and follow them on Twitter @Mingoville.

Tech & Startups

Pearson Buys Certiport For $140M To Beef Up Its IT Testing Business Globally

Pearson made a move to beef up its international professional IT testing business: it announced that it is buying Certiport, a developer, marketer and distributor of certification exams and practice tests for IT and digital literacy skills, for $140 million in cash from the private equity firm Spire Capital Partners.

The deal will give Pearson’s VUE unit, where Certiport will sit, much further reach into the retail distribution of testing services in markets outside of the U.S. and UK: Certiport currently sells its certifications and assessments through a network of 12,000 testing centers operated by 70 partners in 150 countries, serving the range of skills in the world of IT. In all, it delivers 225,000 exams in 27 languages every month, and generated revenues of $48 million in 2011.

Source: TechCrunch


Backed By Mark Cuban, WhiteyBoard Launches v2 Of Its Paint That Turns Walls Into Whiteboards

Two years ago, WhiteyBoard founders Saachi Cywinski, Sherwin Kim and Jason Wilk set out to re-think those clunky, inflexible whiteboards found in classrooms and offices around the country. They developed a portable, flexible alternative: An inexpensive, “instant” plastic board that weighs less than two pounds and adheres to any surface without screws.

A new product called WhiteyPaint has since found an eager audience, leading to the fortunate problem of demand quickly outpacing supply. Struggling to finance demand on a bootstrapped budget, the founders reached out to Dallas Mavericks owner, Shark Tank investor, and HDNet Co-founder Mark Cuban. The startup officially announced that it has raised an undisclosed round of seed financing from the billionaire entrepreneur.

Source: TechCrunch


Teachers Are Making Money On The Web

Udemy, a web platform that allows anyone to host and take online classes, this morning announced that its top ten instructors earned a combined $1.6 million over the last 12 months.
Of the top ten, all made over $50K in the last year, with highest earner at over $200K.

TeacherspayTeachers passed $7 million in earnings last week, with the highest earner (a kindergarten teacher from Georgia named Deanna Jump) having made a total of $700K on the platform. She’s currently earning $60K per month.

Source: TechCrunch


K12 & Higher Ed

Wiping Out $90,000 in Student Loans in 7 Months

Faced with $90,000 in student debt from his days at Harvard Business School, Joe Mihalic vowed last August to eliminate every penny by this summer. He did — three months early.
The 29-year-old from Austin, Texas, is now becoming an Internet celebrity of sorts as financial advisers and young Americans link to his blog,NoMoreHarvardDebt.com, which had 180,000 hits as of Thursday morning. His story is touching a nerve at a time when young Americans are more indebted than ever.

So how did he cut through $90,000 in seven months? It helps to have a low-six-figure salary, as Mihalic does working for Dell Inc. But he also recommends getting roommates, a second job (in his case, landscaping), forgoing all restaurant dining (even McDonald’s), selling all unnecessary items around the house — and getting a flask. Mihalic said he spent months taking a flask of liquor to bars so he could continue to go out drinking with friends without running up a tab.

Source: WSJ


As student loans grow, so does university leadership pay

While students languish in debt, many university presidents enjoy lofty paychecks. Since 1991, salaries of university presidents at at public and private universities have roughly doubled, says Andrew Hacker, co-author of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids – and What We can Do About It.

At public universities, the median compensation for presidents was $375,442 in 2009-2010, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s latest figures. The top 10 highest paid boasted compensation ranging from $1.8 million to $728,350.

Source: Fortune


Study & Research

Text messaging is a surprisingly good way to get accurate answers to sensitive questions

Text messaging is a surprisingly good way to get candid responses to sensitive questions, according to a new study to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

“The preliminary results of our study suggest that people are more likely to disclose sensitive information via text messages than in voice interviews,” says Fred Conrad, a cognitive psychologist and Director of the Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).

“This is sort of surprising,” says Conrad, “since many people thought that texting would decrease the likelihood of disclosing sensitive information because it creates a persistent, visual record of questions and answers that others might see on your phone and in the cloud.”

Source: Science Daily

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nomoney

Student Dept and Leadership Pay – ENT #14 05-18-2012

ENT - The Ed News Ticker

Subscribe to ENT Subscribe to ENT Video via RSS Subscribe to ENT Audio via RSS
Subscribe to ENT Audio via iTunes
Download Episode Download Episode Video Download Episode Audio
Mingoville Fun Clock

ENT is brought to you by Mingoville Fun Clock. - Mingoville Fun Clock is an educational game that will teach you kid to tell time. Fun Clock is created by the award winning educational company Mingoville and available for Android and iOS devices. Visit mingovillefunclock.com and follow them on Twitter @Mingoville.

Tech & Startups

Pearson Buys Certiport For $140M To Beef Up Its IT Testing Business Globally

Pearson made a move to beef up its international professional IT testing business: it announced that it is buying Certiport, a developer, marketer and distributor of certification exams and practice tests for IT and digital literacy skills, for $140 million in cash from the private equity firm Spire Capital Partners.

The deal will give Pearson’s VUE unit, where Certiport will sit, much further reach into the retail distribution of testing services in markets outside of the U.S. and UK: Certiport currently sells its certifications and assessments through a network of 12,000 testing centers operated by 70 partners in 150 countries, serving the range of skills in the world of IT. In all, it delivers 225,000 exams in 27 languages every month, and generated revenues of $48 million in 2011.

Source: TechCrunch


Backed By Mark Cuban, WhiteyBoard Launches v2 Of Its Paint That Turns Walls Into Whiteboards

Two years ago, WhiteyBoard founders Saachi Cywinski, Sherwin Kim and Jason Wilk set out to re-think those clunky, inflexible whiteboards found in classrooms and offices around the country. They developed a portable, flexible alternative: An inexpensive, “instant” plastic board that weighs less than two pounds and adheres to any surface without screws.

A new product called WhiteyPaint has since found an eager audience, leading to the fortunate problem of demand quickly outpacing supply. Struggling to finance demand on a bootstrapped budget, the founders reached out to Dallas Mavericks owner, Shark Tank investor, and HDNet Co-founder Mark Cuban. The startup officially announced that it has raised an undisclosed round of seed financing from the billionaire entrepreneur.

Source: TechCrunch


Teachers Are Making Money On The Web

Udemy, a web platform that allows anyone to host and take online classes, this morning announced that its top ten instructors earned a combined $1.6 million over the last 12 months.
Of the top ten, all made over $50K in the last year, with highest earner at over $200K.

TeacherspayTeachers passed $7 million in earnings last week, with the highest earner (a kindergarten teacher from Georgia named Deanna Jump) having made a total of $700K on the platform. She’s currently earning $60K per month.

Source: TechCrunch


K12 & Higher Ed

Wiping Out $90,000 in Student Loans in 7 Months

Faced with $90,000 in student debt from his days at Harvard Business School, Joe Mihalic vowed last August to eliminate every penny by this summer. He did — three months early.
The 29-year-old from Austin, Texas, is now becoming an Internet celebrity of sorts as financial advisers and young Americans link to his blog,NoMoreHarvardDebt.com, which had 180,000 hits as of Thursday morning. His story is touching a nerve at a time when young Americans are more indebted than ever.

So how did he cut through $90,000 in seven months? It helps to have a low-six-figure salary, as Mihalic does working for Dell Inc. But he also recommends getting roommates, a second job (in his case, landscaping), forgoing all restaurant dining (even McDonald’s), selling all unnecessary items around the house — and getting a flask. Mihalic said he spent months taking a flask of liquor to bars so he could continue to go out drinking with friends without running up a tab.

Source: WSJ


As student loans grow, so does university leadership pay

While students languish in debt, many university presidents enjoy lofty paychecks. Since 1991, salaries of university presidents at at public and private universities have roughly doubled, says Andrew Hacker, co-author of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids – and What We can Do About It.

At public universities, the median compensation for presidents was $375,442 in 2009-2010, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s latest figures. The top 10 highest paid boasted compensation ranging from $1.8 million to $728,350.

Source: Fortune


Study & Research

Text messaging is a surprisingly good way to get accurate answers to sensitive questions

Text messaging is a surprisingly good way to get candid responses to sensitive questions, according to a new study to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

“The preliminary results of our study suggest that people are more likely to disclose sensitive information via text messages than in voice interviews,” says Fred Conrad, a cognitive psychologist and Director of the Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).

“This is sort of surprising,” says Conrad, “since many people thought that texting would decrease the likelihood of disclosing sensitive information because it creates a persistent, visual record of questions and answers that others might see on your phone and in the cloud.”

Source: Science Daily

PlayPlay
review:ed Audio Podcast

review:ed #13 Hidden Bombs (Audio)

review:ed Audio Podcast

review:ed Episode #13

“Hidden Bombs”

  • recorded: January 27th 2012
Subscribe to review:ed Subscribe to review:ed Audio via RSS Subscribe to review:ed Audio via iTunes
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Einztein - The Social Learning Network This Interview is sponsored by Einztein – The Social Learning Network

Einztein is the social learning network for higher education and lifelong learners. Einztein brings the power of social networking to learning and enables anyone to create an online learning community for resource sharing, collaboration and discussion.

Show Notes

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