Saturday, December 28, 2019

How to Create Online Courses for FREE in 2020

I have been telling my readers and fellow programmers to create an online course in 2020, and many of them have already started about planning their courses. Though, one question which keeps coming to me is how you can create an online course free? This is an obvious question, and after answering many of my readers over facebook chats and emails, I decided to write a blog post about it so that everyone else who wants to create an online course for free without any investment except time and passion can benefit. Before answering this question, let me first congratulate you on making an excellent decision to create an online course, my typical win-win situation where everybody involved in this process wins.

Students win because they get valuable knowledge and also with the convenience of their office or home and course creators win because they can now teach many people without any extra effort and can also earn a lot of money, which wasn't possible earlier teaching one to one or teaching in a class.

Now, let's start thinking about how to create an online course without spending a single dollar. First of all, it's possible, and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, I suggest you first start with this free process itself.

This will not only encourage you to create your first online course, which is the most challenging thing but also see the success from your own eye, which will further motivate you to create better courses.

To create an online course and most importantly to sell it online, there are a couple of main tasks like

1. Filming your course
2. Creating a website to sell your course

Here, I am assuming that you know your stuff and expert in your field, which you are going to teach. Some research on the latest development in your area is not harmful either, and you can spend some time on that, plus organizing and structuring your course keeping your audience in mind is also a good idea.

For example, if you are creating a course for a beginner, make it as simple as possible. Start by explaining what are you going to teach, why it's beneficial, and how you will show you. Let's say, If I start a course on teaching Java, I would first give an introduction of Java, how it's used in the software development industry and how it can help you to get a job or doing freelancing stuff, creating your own application, etc.

You should also explain each and every step like installing and setup necessary software, creating their own development environment, etc. as a beginner may find it very difficult on their own.

When you create an online course for the intermediate or expert programmer, you can skip these parts because they already know that. They are also interested in learning new things and have very little attention, so you need to keep them engaged all the time.

Anyway, let's get back to those two main tasks of creating your online course for free.




How to film your online course for free?

Most of the online courses, particularly in programming and technology, require you to share screens or share some slides. This all can be recorded using free screen recording software on Windows and Mac. The real challenge comes to the audio because audio is really very important for a professional quality online course.

Though many people will suggest you to go for a USB mic like Blue Yeti, you can still get quality audio by using your phone and the regular mic/headphone you get along with them.

The critical thing to remember is using free stuff at their full potential. For example, while recording your video, if you happen to register yourself, make perfect use of natural light.

I totally believe that you don't need any additional studio-quality lighting equipment for online courses, natural light is more than enough. Just make sure you record your class in a well-lit room, and you face the sun rather than facing shadow. Simple tips like this go a long way in creating a quality learning experience.

Coming to audio, I suggest you clap every time you record a new session because when you edit your sound using any software later, those claps will help you to identify the beginning because they will create a sharp waveform.

If, for some reason, your audio quality is not right, then remove the original audio and do a voice-over, many free apps like iMovie on iPhone support this kind of functions and really improve the quality of sound in your lecture.

The only thing remaining now is a video editing software, if you are on windows, then many people will suggest you use Camtasia, one of the best video editing software which also have a free trial. If you can leverage that, then it's excellent, but if a free trial is expired, then you need to look for some alternatives like CamStudio, Loom, or Free Cam. For Mac users, this is not a problem because iMovie is a great free alternative to Camtasia.

So, you can see that it's entirely possible for film and record your online course for free. All you need is time, which is a precious commodity in today's busy world and definitely a passion for teaching and helping.

If you want to learn more about filming and course creation, check out this online course creation guide from Phil Ebiner, one of the Udemy top 10 Instructors and also one of my favorite instructors on filming and online course creation.

How to create Online Courses for Free in 2020




How to sell your online course for free?

In order to sell your course online, you need a website. It could be your own WordPress powered website, or you can use many course builder websites like Thinkific or Teachable to create your own online school.

Both of them have excellent free plans, which allows you to upload your course and sell it online. For example, the Thinkific free program will enable you to create up to 3 courses and sell to an unlimited number of students. This is what many of you want.

Just film your course, create videos and course material, and upload it to Thinkific. It will not only take care of hosting your material but also provide all the technical support like video player, navigation, etc.

You can even brand your school as you want and all these for free. To be honest, we are sincerely lucky to have this kind of website, and we have options tool.

Like, you can also use a Teachable free plan, which allows you to create an unlimited course, but the number of students is limited. This is not bad for your first online course where you want to test your concept and validate the idea that you can create a course, sell it, and make money online.

Once you see income, you can always switch to their basic plan, which will cost you around $39 or a professional plan, which costs approximately $79 if build annually. A couple of my readers who has started with a free plan have already moved to a licensed plan because their course is now earning much more than that.

There is another option as well, put your course on Market places like Udemy and Educative. They allow you to host their course for free and also do the marketing for you, which means more sales and more money, but there is a catch.

They will own the students, and they will also take up to 50% of the cut from the sale. For starters, this is not a bad option as I have seen you see success on Udemy very early without much marketing on your site. I also suggest putting your course market places if you are not good at marketing.

And the best part is you can put your courses to multiple places, and you should definitely do this. For example, you can first create your own online school using Thinkific or Teachable and then just put your course on Udemy, Skillshare, and other places to earn more money. If you want to learn more about Sales and marketing your online courses, you can also check out How to create, sell and market online course on Udemy from Daniel Scott, one of my favorite guides.

How to sell online courses in 2020


That's all about how to create an online course for free in 2020. As I have said, it's really possible to create and sell your first online course entirely for free. All you need to invest is your time and do some hard work in terms of planning and recording your lessons. Once you have done that, you need to do a bit of marketing to get the ball rolling, and all of this can be done absolutely free of cost. Once you succeed, you will automatically find your way among tools like Teachable Professional Plan, which is essential to scale and grow like a real startup.


Further learning
Why Every Developer Should Create Online Courses in 2029
Teachable, Thinkific or Udemy - which is the best platform for course creators?
Top 5 Courses to learn how to create online courses which your student will love

Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like my idea of creating online courses for free in 2020, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback or facing any problem creating online courses, selling, or doing marketing, please drop a note below, and we'll try to answer your question our best.

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