Hello Instructor Community!
We are excited to bring you our first Community Champion Spotlight. Over the next few months, you will get to know some of the community’s most active instructors on a more professional and personal level.
This week we are putting the spotlight on Frank Kane who has been with Udemy since 2015 and a Community Champion since the inception of the program in 2019. Frank teaches machine learning, “big data” & data analytics.
Get to know more about Frank in our interview below:
Who is Frank Kane?
Frank is a veteran instructor based in central Florida. On Udemy he's taught over 500,000 students around the world valuable skills in machine learning and data analytics. Prior to Udemy Frank was a senior manager at Amazon.com in Seattle, where he helped develop some of Amazon's early product recommendation systems and later led the technology team for IMDb.com.
What is your teaching style?
No-nonsense and concise. I try to explain technical topics in plain English, avoiding jargon and notation as much as possible. My goal is to demystify this stuff, because at its core it's not really that complicated.
What is one thing you wish that every NEW Udemy Instructor knew?
Don't just make a course in your favorite topic without first checking the Marketplace Insights tool! It's important to have appropriate expectations, and perhaps refine your topic to one that will attract a larger audience.
Can you share your favorite experience/interaction with a student?
This happened years ago, but the first time I encountered a student "in the wild" was quite the experience! I'm an amateur astronomer, and had my telescope out at a park one night showing people views of Saturn and stuff. One person actually recognized me in the dark just based on my voice! That's when it really sunk in what sort of impact you can have with Udemy.
If you didn't teach on Udemy what would you be doing?
I probably would have crawled back to Amazon by now had Udemy not worked out!
What is your favorite thing about being an online instructor?
Hard to pick just one! Knowing the impact you're making on so many lives is rewarding, but personally the freedom that comes with being your own boss has to be my favorite thing.
Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
The correct answer is my wife! But if you're looking for a public figure... I think I'd have a lot to talk about with Elon Musk. Plus, he'd probably make a rocket out of a palm tree to get us back to civilization.
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Teleportation! There's so much of the world to see, but it's often hard to find time for travel.
Have a question for Frank? Ask him in the comments below!
Thanks for the great story and info, Frank! Really inspiring.
I was wondering - I know you automate parts of your automation (especially Q&A). At what stage did you begin doing that? How many students / courses did you have when you began with this automation?
I think I only had a couple of courses when I started using a TA to help with Q&A, but one of them was a top-seller and was generating enough questions every day to eat up at least an hour of my time. I was probably at around 50K students at that point if I had to guess. An hour a day doesn't sound bad, but it's weekends, holidays, and vacations too - so at that level it starts to wear on you and you need to enlist some help. Plus my courses are technical, so answers usually aren't easy.
I don't think it's really a function of how many courses and students you have; it's a function of how much time you are spending every day supporting those courses and whether it is starting to cut into your productivity in creating new content, or worse still if it is starting to become frustrating. Creating courses should be enjoyable, and if it's not - it's time to outsource what's preventing that.
Dear Frank, thank you so much for sharing this information, instructors like you tells me that its possible to reach any feet in this platform through hard work and consistency. God bless you and the family.