Hello, I was planning to create my first course and provide it for free to gain access to an initial student community. But I am a bit confused on whether my course is going to show up in the search results or not. A few months back, when I was searching for courses (as a student), I saw a filter which said 'Free/Paid'. That filter is no longer visible. Today, I searched for a particular topic, got close to a hundred pages of results, I browsed through ALL pages in the results, but couldn't find a single free course listed in the results. I am pretty sure there were scores of free courses for this topic when I searched a few months back. So my question is: If I post my first course for free, how would students be able to view it, as it will never show up in the search results, not even the 100th page! Could you please help me out here?
We are always looking for ways to optimize our search and course discovery experience for students. Accordingly, we run tests in an effort to more effectively match students up with courses that meet their learning needs, and in turn, increase enrollments.
At this time, you may find that free courses are harder to find than others while these tests are running, and we apologize for the inconvenience. Please note you will always be able to find and share your course with others through the course URL.
Free courses now will not show in search results or anywhere on the site other than instructor profiles.
I don’t recommend offering your course for free. While it does bring in registrations, most of those students will never reach the end of your course to leave a good review. People can tell that when there is a large number of registrations but very few reviews, that your course was populated with free students.
It has been my experience that making a paid course and offering a coupon for free entry gets you better students, i.e., ones that actually have an interest in your subject matter.
In last few months since my free course was published, I have noticed this phenomenon many times that price filter is not available for some days. Then it becomes available again. Have noticed that this usually coincides with the time of the year when promotions (read discounts) are on their peak e.g. Black Friday, New Year, Diwali (Indian Festival) and so on.
I even wrote to Udemy regarding this and got standard reply that they constantly look ways to optimise their search and course discovery. And when asked for help or timelines, or ways in which students can discover my free courses, got reply that I can share course link with students directly.
While these answers didn't really solve my concerns, let me tell you that you can be rest assured that barring few days, the price filter is available on most other days.
I also post link to my free course on Facebook and other media sites and I constantly see students enrolling even during days when the price filter is not available. However, yes, the ones who mostly complete my course are the ones who discover and enrol into the course on their own.
Trust this answer helps address your concern.
With that my suggestion is to go ahead, build your course and spread your knowledge with others.