Since free courses are often a new student’s first experience on Udemy, it’s important that these courses meet high quality standards. Students who enjoy their first courses are much more likely to take additional courses, and refer their friends and relatives to Udemy.
What is the Quality Standard for Free Courses?
All courses, both free and paid, are measured on an Average Rating. In an effort to emphasize reviews that have the most relevance to students and instructors, a course's Average Rating is calculated by considering factors like the recency of the rating, and the amount of the course that the student consumed before leaving their rating.
Free courses, however, are evaluated using their Average Rating and a ‘confidence rating’. The ‘confidence rating’ is not used to unduly hurt free courses. After all, a course with 1000 reviews and a 3.9 rating, is a very different situation than a course with 5 reviews and a 3.9 rating.
If a free course has an Average Rating of less than 4.1, then an “At Risk” signal will pop-up in your instructor dashboard.
If a free course has a Recent Review Rating less than 4.1 and is tagged with a ‘high degree of confidence’, however, then the course will immediately be hidden from Udemy’s search. The confidence rating is considered high when a substantial amount of reviews for a given course have been submitted by students. This confidence rating is low, however, if the course hasn't collected enough reviews to provide a comprehensive picture of what the student response has been. As a result, until a high confidence review score has been determined, no action will be taken to remove the free course from the search tool.
You will receive an email and see a notification in your dashboard if your course has been removed from search and discovery, or if it's at risk of being hidden.
What Happens to Free Courses Below the Standard?
When a free course has an Average Rating of less than 4.1, and is flagged with a ‘high degree of confidence’, then the course will be hidden from Udemy’s search. This means that students searching for the course on the website will not be able to find it, and the course will not be featured in Udemy’s promotions.
Students will still be able to access the course, however, through the course URL, and via its instructor’s profile link.
How to Return Flagged Courses Back Into the Marketplace?
If you have a free course that has fallen below the Average Rating quality standard, here are some techniques you can use to improve it:
Mine the Data in Your Reviews
Since student reviews can provide instructors with valuable feedback regarding your courses, they are a great source for changes you might want to consider implementing. Here are some tips on how you can mine the information in your reviews, and use it to improve our course:
- Export your reviews to CSV. You can filter reviews by star and tag reviews to determine trends. Spend some time really understanding what your students are saying.
- Reply to students. Want more information from a student who left a low star? Did one student give very helpful feedback and you want more? Reply to your reviews to better understand what students mean.
For more information on how to access your reviews and respond to them, please click here.
Perform a Self Evaluation
Go through your course using the student preview mode, and look at your content with a critical eye. What are you doing well? What is outdated in the course and could be updated? Here are some things to consider.
- Jump into the course quickly. Do you jump right into your course content after a brief introduction? Or do you have a long set-up lecture, a long personal introduction, and a long lecture about what this course is going to deliver? You may want to considering shortening the intro and diving right into the course content.
- Practicality: Is your course content applicable to your students’ lives? Are you teaching them theory, or how to actually apply their learning? Udemy students are practical learners - they need to know how your course will change their life. Make that clear for them.
- Know your category. What courses have high ratings in your category and subcategory? What are they doing that you could emulate? This is a great way to better understand what Udemy students want.
For additional information regarding the marketplace standards for free courses, you may find the answer you're looking for in the FAQ. For more information on Udemy’s quality standards, and course building tips, please click here.