Free Online Tools For Academics to Earn an Extra $1,000/Month, Part 1: Udemy

In the last five years, opportunities for academics to earn money online have dramatically increased. Sites like Udemy feature video courses that any instructor can upload and sell. These sites have tens of thousands of courses and tens of millions of students, many willing to pay up to $97 a course. Some teachers make a six-figure annual income. Amazon allows anyone to publish ebooks. Dozens of professors and part-time PhD students have taken their books directly to the market, earning thousands of dollars a month on the side. TeacherspayTeachers is an open marketplace where instructors can upload their original lesson plans and other materials. Even tutoring websites like WizIQ and Liveperson connect academics with high school and college students in need of tutoring, paying $20-30 an hour.

Better yet, the market for online education is growing exponentially. Udemy started with nothing in 2010 and now has over 20,000 courses. Four million students are signed up and the number grows annually by double digits. Amazon sells millions of ebooks everyday, with 86% of its book sales coming from digital products. The market is hungry for new content.

Most importantly, the market is hungry for content from experts. That’s where you come in. There are opportunities like never before for adjuncts to take their knowledge, package it in video or book form, and sell it to the masses.

In this blog series we are going to be looking at the best free online tools for earning money on the side as an academic. All five are user friendly and their websites will guide you through the process of setting up an account. All five have huge marketplaces with consumers ready to buy. Since you are teaching classes anyway, you probably already have all the course materials at hand to upload to these sites and begin earning money. In no time at all, you will be earning an extra thousand dollars a month as an adjunct instructor.

The best part is that all of these earnings will be passive income. Create the product once and the money will continue to come in. Even during the summer, when adjuncts have to scramble for courses to teach, you can generate income from these websites by selling your knowledge.

The Product: Udemy

Udemy is a web-based platform for online learning where experts upload video courses. Unlike MOOCs, anyone can upload content. The courses are free or paid, with the average instructor earning $7,000 per course in sales. Some outliers have earned seven figures from their courses. Udemy takes 50% commission if people buy courses through their marketplace. If course creators bring in shoppers through their own marketing, they keep 97%. None of the courses are credentialed and most are focused on vocational skills such as programming or marketing. A rapidly growing number of courses have a social sciences and humanities focus, particularly philosophy, history, and foreign languages.

How To Use It

The vast majority of courses use audio and video. They are usually screen capture videos of instructors narrating a Powerpoint presentation.

To put up a course all you have to do is record yourself narrating approximately 10 powerpoint presentations. Each presentation should have 5-20 slides and be less than 20 minutes long. Then get screen capture software like Screenflow or Camtasia to take a video of you narrating the presentations. Get a microphone for your voiceover in order to get good audio, since your computer’s microphone will produce a tinny sound. A simple headset microphone will work, as will any USB microphone.

Once your videos are recorded, all you have to do is go over to Udemy and upload them. They even offer a free tutorial on how to upload, produce, and market your course.

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