Summer time is either the time when you leave it all behind and are not available for the rest of the world or the time when to get things done. Obviously the guys at Udemy chose to do the latter and quietly worked on the launch of Udemy Academic a platform that now offers nearly 600 courses with a total of about 12.000 video lectures of 18 top institutions.
According to an email of Gagan Biyani, Co-Founder of Udemy their platform is now even bigger than Academic Earth or VideoLectures.net.
Udemy Academic features courses from 18 institutions, including UC Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, Columbia, Khan Academy, and more. In total, there are nearly 12,000 free video lectures on Udemy organized into courses – sequential, on-demand content collections that allow anyone to take a University class online.
The most interesting part about this project is that Udemy will be giving away the course creating tool to all major universities which are interested in building their own OpenCourseWare but don’t have the funds or technical skills to do so.
OpenCourseWare can cost thousands of dollars per course, and Udemy wants to minimize those costs.
I think this is a very clever move of Udemy. One of the biggest problem for any platform that wants to get users to create content is to reach a critical mass where the ecosystem starts working. Customers only buy when there is enough choice and actually something going on, sellers only create content when there are enough potential customers on the platform. Hence the old chicken and egg problem.
Udemy have solved this now by initiating a “big bang”. With all these courses available, users have actually a reason to come back and consume content and therefore content creators, universities and independent teachers or schools, have a good reason to publish their content on Udemy. I think this might work out pretty well, I would actually be shocked if not.
The strength of Udemy is in this case their in-house developed platform and the social features that the system is offering around a course. Though the content might not be unique, as it is available for free on the internet via multiple channels, Udemy took the time to structure it, embed it into their system and to offer a easy way for other universities to bring their content alongside.