When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

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When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

This is a question many instructors or soon-to-be instructors ask themselves at some point, and the answer might not be very obvious.

 

As many experienced instructors would probably tell you, a course might never be complete.  If you want your course to stay relevant, you will need to keep improving it over time, but I will focus mostly on the second part of the question here.

 

The decision of when to publish can have big consequences:  If you publish too soon, when the course and/or you are not really “ready”, you might risk wasting the opportunity that having a just-published course represents.

 

The first 90 days of your course are very important.

 

If your course is well received by the market and you do your part to promote it correctly, it will start getting students and reviews, and eventually earning some badges that would make it more appealing to potential students.  Also, the Udemy system will probably give your course a boost in searches and would make it more discoverable, which would, in turn, bring you more students, starting a virtuous cycle that could put your course on the path to success.

 

If, on the other hand, you publish a course of poor quality, with noticeable errors or missing content, it might get some students, but also some bad reviews, and that could be the beginning of the end for a new course from a new instructor, not because it is not possible to bring it back to life, but because most people will probably feel frustrated and will lose interest in devoting more time to something that appears to be a total failure.

 

But publishing too late is also dangerous.

 

If you keep repeating or re-doing things because you find very small mistakes or are never satisfied with what you have created, you might end up never actually publishing your course. 

Also, if you delay it too much, someone else might get ahead of you, publishing a course that covers the same topic, in a very similar manner, thus, taking advantage of an opportunity that could have been yours.

 

So, in light of this, here are some ideas of the things I would make sure to have covered before hitting the publish button (in no specific order).  Nothing more, and nothing less.

 

  • Your course content already covers all the main topics a student would need to learn to feel that they received value and that the course allows them to feel proficient on the topic, even if you still have some additional non-crucial content you would like to add.
  • You have a promo video, which was specifically created for that purpose, so that the system doesn’t need to set your first lecture as the promo.
  • You have a good course image ready (unless you plan to ask Udemy to create it for you).
  • You have carefully selected the lessons you will allow for free preview.
  • You have your bonus lesson ready.
  • You have uploaded all of the videos to the Udemy platform and have previewed (watched completely) all of them as a student, to make sure that everything works fine in all of the lessons, including the availability of resources and similar things.
  • You have reviewed and optimized your course landing page, to make sure it is appealing to potential students (but doesn’t mention anything that is not currently covered), and it includes the necessary keywords for it to be correctly searchable.
  • If you plan to enable captions from the beginning, you already have them ready, or at least have set some time apart to review and correct the ones the system will automatically generate.
  • You have the text for your automated messages ready, if you plan to use that feature.
  • You have at least a basic plan for your marketing.
  • You have completed the Instructor Identity Verification Process (only needed when publishing your first course).

 

Is there something else you would add?  Or maybe, there is something you would remove from this list?

 

Any additional suggestions or recommendations?

7 Replies
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Re: When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

Great post @CarlosDeLeon with some fantastic pointers!

I somehow always forget to select the free preview videos and do it when I get a notification that Udemy has done it automatically..... I'll remember next time!

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Re: When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

Great to know you found it useful, @GrahamNicholls .

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Re: When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

What a great post full of tips @CarlosDeLeon 
I think when we are a new instructor and we set out on the course creation process we all set out to make the "perfect" course. I certainly did. These days I produce the best 30-40 mins of course content before releasing. Then I always have more sections to add within the first 30 days ( I don't always achieve this). When I was new I found the  course creation process almost stopped me from creating a course. I'm also a great procrastinator. So my process of creating the small complete course has enabled me to get courses live. The small course though must be a complete course! My mantra is "done is better than perfect" or courses are always "a work in progress". 

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Re: When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

Something similar happened to me as well.

 

"Done is better than perfect".  I like that!

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Re: When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

That's a really wonderful checklist! I'm going to hit "Publish" on my first course in the next two weeks. Will surely use this one as my checklist. Thank you Carlos!

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Re: When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

That's great, Shruti!

 

Good luck with the launch your first course!

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Re: When do you consider a course "complete" and "ready to publish"?

This is a really, really useful list! I've recently (over the last couple of days) had my first course published, and I've learned a metric tonne of things during the process of putting it out.

Luckily I'd done nearly all of those (aside from the Bonus Lecture, but I suppose that's something I should pull together for my next course, so they can cross promote each other.

Thanks for the list Smiley Happy

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