Thursday, October 8, 2020

Udemy review

As promised in a previous post, "My summer 2020," here is my detailed post about an online learning Web site I discovered over the summer called Udemy.

As I explained in that prior post about my summer, I recently decided to change course for my Ph.D. dissertation. Rather than studying and writing about organizational culture, I decided to return to my political science roots (political science was my major for my bachelor's degree) by exploring China in the context of international relations (IR). More specifically, I'm interested in China's artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, and how China's quest for dominance in this realm, among others, may lead to a significant shift in IR, including the possibility of a cold war that some experts predict. This change of course happened as the result of a couple in-depth, thought-provoking conversations I had in recent months with a former professor of mine from my political science studies as an undergrad.

Anyway, a couple months ago, back in August, as a part of my dive into international relations (IR), I discovered Now, I had seen quite a few ads and mentions about this site across the Internet in the past, but I suppose I never gave it much thought. Finally, one day in August, I caved in and decided to take a closer look to find out what this site is all about and what it has to offer. I'm really glad I did that. What a really neat site. 

So, what is Udemy?

In a nutshell, Udemy is an online learning platform that brings teachers and learners together from all around the world through video lectures, discussions, and downloadable resources like selected readings, notes, slides, and even e-books. Now, when I say "teachers," I use that term broadly here. I'm not talking specifically about licensed K-12 educators or university professors, although some of them certainly are. Many of those who are teaching on Udemy are professionals working in a particular field or industry. They possess expertise in a subject, and they're simply passionate about teaching that subject to others. They may be engineers, filmmakers, lawyers, photographers, Web developers and computer programmers, investment bankers and financial professionals, intelligence analysts, artists, architects, business executives, negotiators, Microsoft Excel pros, etc., etc., etc.

Even you can teach on Udemy, and earn income doing it. Here's how. 

How much do these courses cost? 

The vast majority of courses on Udemy have a cost. Some are free. The paid courses will get you a certificate of completion at the end, among other perks that we'll get to shortly. The free courses do not offer a certificate.

Now, if you browse through the site, you're going to see that many of these courses carry a price tag of $90-$100 or more. Don't be alarmed. The site often runs days-long sales at deep discounts. All the courses I've purchased so far were at these sale prices, ranging from $11.99-$13.99. 

What are the perks that come with the paid courses?

  • Online video content
  • Certificate of completion
  • Instructor Q&A 
  • Instructor direct message
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free access to the course for life, including any updates made, and no matter if you paid full price or a sale price
The free courses only come with the online video content.

My experience with Udemy so far

Since August, I've taken several courses, most of them taught by Ph.D. professors, on various aspects of international relations. So far, I've brushed up on U.S.-Russia relations, various IR theories, and NATO, all while continuing to explore China's rise. I've even taken a couple courses on intelligence analysis, taught by a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col.

I'm really impressed so far with Udemy's platform, and I highly recommend the site for anyone looking to build new skills or strengthen existing ones. The site's interface is clean and crisp, and everything is easy to find and navigate through. I can tell that the teachers I've had so far have really put forth a lot of time and effort into their courses. I've even connected with a couple of them on LinkedIn and Twitter. It's money well-spent, and all courses are backed by a guarantee.

There's so much to explore here. When I find some additional time one of these days, I have several other courses waiting for me to start. I purchased them all in another big sale recently. They include, among others, the art of negotiating, an intro to international security, the fundamentals of submarine engineering, and even a course designed by a business professor who promises the equivalent of a complete MBA degree's worth of education all in his one course. 

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