Org-mode course approved

Germany celebrates the reunion today and I can celebrate the approval of my first course on Udemy. The topic is of course my passion project, the Org-mode tutorial. Here is some background information on that course.

The idea to create a course on Udemy came practically when my company announced to close the local factory and as a consequence of this I will lose my job. The idea was to redo the YouTube tutorials that I did in 2016, now looking at the latest changes in Orgmode. I also checked the comments under each YouTube video so that I could spot areas where I can make a bettter explanation of the stuff.

The next idea was, that this course should be supplemented by a course book, some thing that explains the lessons in textual form and that you can also use as a reference manual. So I started writing this book and recording the first videos.

Because I didn’t want the audience to be distracted by the bookshelf in the background of my home office I purchased a green screen on Amazon which consists of a green tissue with 1.8 by 2.8 meters in size and a mounting system with 2 tripods.

Then I tried with the Greenscreen effect filter in OBS Studio and the result was not that good as I expected it to be. Here is a screenshot from one of the early videos:

Screenshot of the installation video

You see that the backround now doesn’t show my bookshelf but it looks a bit like Harry Potters invisible cloak in the movies. You see the folding of the tissue and it looks grey.

Neverthelesse, I caried on and now focussed on writing the course book first. Chapter by chapter it grew and I added some appendixes like a key combination reference for every section where I introduced new key combinations. When the book was finished it had more than 100 pages, nicely formatted thanks to LaTeX.

Now I switched back to recording. I needed to fix the greenscreen problem so my next invest was some video lights that should help so that the light does not come from my lamp at the ceiling of the home office. Those lights worked out very well, together with some laundry clamps to straighten the green tissue on my mounting system. And of course, I used a custom color in the green screen filter of OBS, which proved to be nearly perfect. So in the later videos you really just see my head in front of the Emacs window, as you can see below in the course promotion video.

The remaining problem that I couldn’t find a solution for is the annoying thing, that sometimes during recording my webcam video freezes. So I look a bit like Fozzy Bear on the Muppet Show sometimes, but at least the audio is working and the problem seems to occur more often when I’m in the intro phase where the webcam video is full screen.

I also swiched the background from grey to one picture of the bavarian forest which I took on holidays some years ago. The next thing was creating a course logo. I had the idea of a sort of checklist which I sketched in Krita.

Then it was time for post-processing the videos. Add a title to every video, fade-in after a few seconds and a fade out at the end. Also do some audio „normalizaton“. I used Kdenlive to do the post processing. So every processed video went into a folder finished.

It took me a while to record all 36 videos, especially because I encountered some problems, which meant that I need to change the section in the course book accordingly. One minor offense was that LaTeX transformed some of the lisp code in the verbatim envioronments so that when you copy paste it to your emacs init file, then the code won’t work. Eventually I found a solution for that so now every lisp code should work after copy and paste.

Then I uploaded the videos to Udemy, and worked on the course landing page. There I read, that Udemy does not want text in the course logos, so my „checklist“ logo would not be the best one. Since the Unicorn logo is GPL I decided to use this as a course logo for my course. But that meant: Replace the old logo in the title video on Kdenlive and render all 36 videos again. Took me some hourse late September, but at the end all videoes were uploadd again to Udemy. Then I recorded a small promotion video:

My coach that guides me through this time of unemployment and seeking for new opportunities advised me to offer that course at a price a bit higher than the lowest possible price. So I opted for 34,99€, that means every video is just one Euro. And you get the course book which consumed a lot of my time to write it.

This morning I got the mail that the course got approved. So now I’m an Udemy instructor. This means some more bureacracy, I already sent a mail to my tax lawyer to find out what I need to do here and it also looks like I have to submit a tax form to the IRS in the USA because they tax every money that Udemy is paying to the instructors.

And of course I do some advertising now. So if you want to buy the course, you can follow this link which will increase my revenue from 50% of the price to 97% according to the rules at Udemy. I will see how „rich“ I’ll get, but so far I can tell you that I learned a lot about doing online courses in the past months and of course it freshed up my knowledge on all things I can do with Orgmode. I also reorganized my own capture template system while I was doing the course. So I also benefited from doing this effort.

2 Gedanken zu „Org-mode course approved

  1. Congratulations on releasing the course, I just started watching your youtube series so I will instead purchase this course as it seems a great resoure. Many thanks.

    Out of curiousity, if you’re willing to say, what is your opinion on reunification? I have been reading a lot about this topic lately and am always curious to get first hand opinions.

    • Joshua, the reunion is a very difficult topic. Some people see Germany as one, other people still distinguish between „east“ and „west“ and as long as people think in those categories, you can’t call it „united“. A lot of bad things happened directly after reunion, the companies in the east got more or less sold out to investors from the west, even healthy companies got destroyed. This lead to high unemployment rates and young people „migrated“ in the western part because job opportunities were much better there. So now we have towns where the average age is really high and all what remained to live there were old people that were not flexible enough to move. Even 30 years after the Berlin wall went down its a difficult sitaution.

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