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Dylan Carlson making a big impression on the Texas League for the Cardinals

Dylan Carlson making a big impression on the Texas League for the Cardinals

By Kary Booher (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Photo courtesy Mark Harrell

All the attention could be overwhelming, perhaps even go to his head. That’s the natural fear.

After all, in the past few weeks alone, let’s see: two big-league sports writers with a combined 55 years’ experience on the MLB scene have come calling, while Cardinals fans of the Ozarks – either chasing autographs or just his time — have dropped knowledge about his backstory, not solely his impressive stat line.

“And we had a kids’ camp the other day and the kids were saying, ‘I love watching you play,’” prospect hitter Dylan Carlson explained, his eyes opening wide as his head shook in disbelief. “I was like, ‘That’s really cool.’”

Truth is, what’s cool is that, despite it all, Carlson has handled the attention like a seasoned veteran, not a 20-year-old.

Which helps explain why all eyes should be on Carlson as the Double-A Springfield Cardinals charge through the second half of the season. In short, he has solidified his place as arguably the organization’s top prospect and certainly its top hitting prospect (as a switch-hitter).

But more on all that in a second.

Maturity from the journey

For media looking to see a prospect who thumps his chest or creates unnecessary headlines with outrageous quotes, keep walking elsewhere. But for those hoping for a nice conversation – with some smiles about the funny moments of life in the minors, about the seriousness of fine-tuning his craft and a straightforward journey – Carlson checks a lot of boxes.

Credit the Cardinals’ scouting department, which traditionally has found high-character players – not simply those with talent. (Carlson was the 33rd overall selection the 2016 draft and signed for $1.35 million, according to Baseball America.)

For instance, just before the recent TL All-Star break, during a TV interview, it was as if movie character Durham Bulls catcher Crash Davis had found his way to Springfield and sought out Carlson as his disciple to shepherd through the season.

Asked about his sensational burst through the first half of the summer, Carlson deflected to teammates. Asked about highlights, he pointed to others who had enjoyable moments.

Then again, perhaps it’s to be expected. You see, Carlson is the son of a California high school baseball coach and, just as important, counted older players as mentors, such as big-leaguer J.D. Davis (Mets).

“I was really fortunate growing up because I was around great high school players in the Sacramento area,” Carlson said. “Luckily for me, my parents brought me up to be a hard worker and appreciate all of my blessings.”

However, unlike many other California players, Carlson refused to specialize. He played three sports in high school and didn’t play much travel ball – which now makes him all the more intriguing.

That’s not to say he arrived to the farm system overly raw. After all, he’s a coach’s son.

“For me, just being able to be around the game and to be around people who played the game the right way – and to lean on somebody who knew about the game – I’m really grateful,” Carlson said. “And we had that coach-player relationship.”

Season so far

It’s probably no surprise that Carlson has won over Springfield manager Joe Kruzel.

“In spring training (in a big-league game), he popped up straight to the catcher and I told Shildt,” Kruzel said, referring to St. Louis manager Mike Shildt, “that he was going to have a big year.”

Why?

“It was the way he went about it,” Kruzel said.

Carlson has supported Kruzel’s theory, despite being one of the youngest players in the Texas League, a cutthroat circuit where prospects can fade.

For instance, Carlson reached the recent Texas League All-Star break leading all of Double-A baseball – that’s 30 teams covering the Texas, Southern and Eastern leagues – with 53 runs scored.

This is where he ranked in other categories in Double-A:

Tied for fourth-most in extra-base hits (31) and total bases (132), eighth in hits (75) and 13th in RBI (42). Additionally, he his .493 slugging percentage and .856 OPS are 17th and 18th, respectively.

Overall, he was batting .253 with 10 home runs, 15 doubles and six triples. He has struck out 58 times in 275 at-bats.

Scouts have said, however, that Carlson needs work on handling secondary pitches.

“He just needs to go play,” Kruzel said. “And in all fairness, he’s handled it all well.”

Carlson says he’s benefitted from mentoring under Jim Edmonds, Willie McGee and St. Louis center fielder Harrison Bader during spring training and also has gained valuable insight from Brandon Allen, the Springfield hitting coach who played four seasons in the big leagues from 2009 to 2012 with the Diamondbacks, Athletics and Rays.

That said, don’t discount Carlson’s recent experience of the Texas League All-Star Game. Edmonds, McGee and Bader’s words came months ago. Playing the All-Star Game will serve as inspiration, too, especially after approaching several other all-stars.

“I just picked their brains to see what they look for in their game,” Carlson said. “It does get your juices flowing and gives you something to look forward to in the second half.”

Across the Nation: Louisiana VBS marketplace, New England longtime ministers and more quick takes

Across the Nation: Louisiana VBS marketplace, New England longtime ministers and more quick takes

Across the Nation is our monthly rundown of news briefs, links and quotes from Churches of Christ across the U.S. Got an idea for this column? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at [email protected]

Featured photo (above)

VBS marketplace a hit in Louisiana: Children pick out colorful yarn as part of a Vacation Bible School marketplace experience offered by the Forsythe Church of Christ in Monroe, La.

“About 40 members of our church pulled together to bless 65 children,” minister John Dobbs said of the four-night event.

Associate minister Daniel Kirkendall organized the VBS, which featured Bible stories as well as shops and crafts tied to Old Testament stories. 

The full photo, as published in the July 2019 print edition of The Christian Chronicle, can be viewed below.

Children enjoy Vacation Bible School at the Forsythe Church of Christ in Monroe, La.

Spotlight

Special honors for longtime New England ministers: More than 300 Christians from nearly a dozen states gathered for the recent New England Lectureship, which featured the theme “Understanding New Testament Leadership.”

At the annual event in Marlborough, Mass., ministers who have served the New England area for 20 or more years were recognized.

David Tarbet, John Kurpriel, Mark Craigwell, Park Linscomb, Mike Mullen and Herschel Walker

The honorees were:

David Tarbet of the New Milford Church of Christ in Connecticut;

John Kurpriel of the Lawrence Church of Christ in Massachusetts;

Mark Craigwell of the Roxbury Church of Christ in Massachusetts;

Park Linscomb of the Manchester Church of Christ in New Hampshire;

Mike Mullen of the Fall River Church of Christ in Massachusetts;

• Herschel Walker of the Blue Hill Church of Christ in Dorchester, Mass.

The 2020 New England Lectureship will be May 1-3 in Mansfield, Mass. For more information, call Maurice Davis at (617) 274-2409 or see newenglandlectureship.org.

Quick takes

ALABAMA

ATMORE — A man convicted of using a sword and a knife to kill a rural Church of Christ preacher in 1991 was executed recently.

Christopher Lee Price, 46, was killed by lethal injection, The Associated Press reported. Price was convicted of killing Bill Lynn in Fayette County on Dec. 22, 1991.

DECATUR — Two Churches of Christ with about 150 members each have decided to consolidate. The Austinville and Grant Street congregations will meet together as one body starting Aug. 4. They will be known as the Decatur Church of Christ, evangelist Tony Edwards said.

“Grant Street was about to spend a large sum of money on building a new building, and they were questioning within themselves what would be the best use of the Lord’s money,” Edwards said. “The options were to build a building or consolidate with a sister church and use that money to reach the lost.

Tony Edwards

He said the merger will bring together two strong congregations: “We both had a large contribution and steady membership. This was all based on how much more good we could do if came together.”

NEW MEXICO

PORTALES — Domingo Reyes, minister for the Greenbank Church of Christ in Wilmington, Del., served as the keynote speaker for the first Living Jesus Bible Conference.

The conference, hosted by the Third and Kilgore Church of Christ, aimed “to engage as many people in our community as possible in Bible classes, hearing committed Christian speakers and keynote addresses centered around the theme of living as Jesus lived,” member Lora Chandler said.

“We all feel that Jesus was lifted up, and people were encouraged.”

About 150 to 200 people participated.

Chandler characterized the conference as a first-of-its-kind effort in eastern New Mexico and said church members did “whatever they could to make it a success.”

“We are located in a rural community, and that may have contributed to smaller numbers in attendance,” she added. “However, for a first-time effort, we all feel that Jesus was lifted up, and people were encouraged. Next year, we’re confident that more will come. People are hungry for the truth Christ offers!”

TENNESSEE

MT. JULIET — How can Christians show the love of Christ to single mothers?

The Mt. Juliet Church of Christ does so with an annual Single Mother Car Care Clinic, said deacons Joe Cowan, Daniel Johnson and Clay Bailey.

Update: Our spots have all been filled! Thank you for spreading the word!

Posted by Mt. Juliet Church of Christ on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The clinic offers each mother a vehicle inspection, oil change, wash and detail, Cowan said. The recent event involved roughly 100 volunteers, ranging in age from 8 to 80, who served about 25 to 30 mothers.

“While the cars are serviced, mothers are treated to snacks, manicures, massages, a bag of home goods and a bag of groceries,” he said. “Ladies from the congregation use this time with the mothers to review available church programs, talk about Bible classes and the youth program, provide an opportunity to sign children up for VBS and work to establish a time to conduct a Bible study or additional follow-up time.”


Kenneth Hearrell, right, is the “disaster deacon” for the Crosstown Church of Christ in Tulsa, Okla. He’s pictured with Mark Guilds, an American Red Cross volunteer from Albany, N.Y.

Quote of the month

“I do it because I can.” — Kenneth Hearrell, 87-year-old “disaster deacon” for the Crosstown Church of Christ in Tulsa, Okla., on why he feels compelled to help. Read the full story.

After UFC Minneapolis, Francis Ngannou attributes renewed success to having fun again

After UFC Minneapolis, Francis Ngannou attributes renewed success to having fun again

MINNEAPOLIS – After back-to-back losses to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis, some fans and analysts were uncertain if Francis Ngannou could bounce back. It turns out they may have been wrong.

Ngannou (14-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) has three straight knockouts in a row in a combined fight time of just 2:22. On Saturday, he took out former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos at the 1:11 mark of the first round of the UFC on ESPN 3 main event in Minneapolis. It’s safe to say he’s back.

So what’s the secret to his recent success? Ngannou said he’s simply having fun again.

“The difference for the last three fights was maybe me having fun, finding myself,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie at the post-fight news conference at Target Center. “Because after my two losses, I was trying to figure out why I was doing this. Then I realized at the beginning (of my career), I didn’t even want to do MMA. I didn’t expect to do a professional career in MMA. But since I was having fun training, I was like, ‘OK, let’s do it – it’s fun.’ So that’s why I started.

“Then at some point, I kind of forgot that. So in the last three fights, I put that in the line and tried to focus on it – just to have fun.”

Ngannou took some criticism after his two losses, most notably from UFC president Dana White. He gassed out in his title fight against Miocic and put on a lackluster performance against Lewis, which is not what people have come to expect from the knockout artist.

Ngannou however, said he thinks it was more mental than a lack of effort.

“There’s nothing more frustrating and painful than getting out in the octagon and feel like you didn’t give it your all,” Ngannou said. “I think that’s the biggest loss ever.”

Since his most recent three fights all ended by first-round knockout, some wonder if there still are unanswered questions about Ngannou’s ground game.

But two of his three recent wins have come over standout wrestlers in Curtis Blaydes and Cain Velasquez, and Ngannou said he thinks that should prove enough.

“I don’t need to convince people, I just have to go out there and fight,” he sai. “How did I convince people that I beat Junior tonight? The only thing that convinced people was the result.”

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 3, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

‘Red State Revolt’ offers an inside look at the recent wave of teacher strikes

‘Red State Revolt’ offers an inside look at the recent wave of teacher strikes

Embed from Getty Images

West Virginia teachers, who stunned the nation with their historic 2018 strike, staged a two-day walkout in February and are continuing to battle their Republican-dominated state government this summer. While the immediate issues this time are legislators’ attempts to introduce charter schools and impose stiffer penalties on strikers, the need for greater public funding of education remains the core of the struggle.

In the new book “Red State Revolt,” author Eric Blanc describes the origins of this strike and the wave of subsequent strikes it ignited across the country by giving a play-by-play account of the action — offering lessons that apply to future strikes, as well as other kinds of nonviolent action.  

Blanc was well placed to observe the strikes. Sent to cover them by Jacobin magazine, his approach could be described as a participant observer — in that he not only wrote about the strikes, but also helped organize national solidarity actions. As a former high school teacher himself, he became a trusted confidant, interviewing service personnel, students, union staffers, and various officials to get their take.

Despite admitting to an “unabashedly partisan account,” Blanc insists that he “tried to remain scrupulously committed to the facts” and expects that no one will fully agree with his conclusions. Overall, it is clear from his approach that Blanc is more interested in showing the effectiveness of certain strategies and tactics — as well as explaining the relevance of the strikes to broader political issues — than in promoting the account of any individual or group.

The backdrop

West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona were unlikely candidates for state-wide strikes in 2018. All three are so-called right-to-work states, meaning that non-union workers do not pay fees to unions for representing them in collective bargaining. What’s more, all three states are dominated by conservative Republican legislators and governors, which support laws that make it illegal — as it is in most states — for teachers to go on strike. Given this environment, teachers’ unions have long been cautious, when it comes to bargaining for pay, benefits and improved working conditions.

Previous Coverage
  • Labor organizer Jane McAlevey on why strikes are the only way out of our current crisis
  • This non-militant, “service” model of unions emerged as a result of deindustrialization, the immensely damaging outcome of the air traffic controllers strike of the early 1980s, and the closer association of unions with reformist advocacy groups, as well as the centrist Democratic party.

    Nationwide, long-term declines in education budgets have also led to lower teacher salaries — relative to the cost of living — plus increased class sizes, outdated textbooks and an overall greater difficulty in delivering the quality education they seek for their students. For example, one in five teachers has a second job and many are forced to purchase instructional materials for their classrooms.

    Enter the militant minority

    After years of relative passivity and accumulating grievances, it took a militant group of teachers in West Virginia with a “class struggle orientation” to organize their colleagues and prepare to strike. These teachers traced their activism back to the Bernie Sanders primary campaign of 2016, which spurred the founding of several Democratic Socialists of America chapters. Teachers from some of these chapters started to think seriously about taking collective action after forming a study group during the summer of 2017 to teach themselves about labor activism.

    When the new school year started, these teachers were ready to organize their colleagues around the state. Helping matters along was the state’s announcement that dues would be increased for the public employees’ health insurance plan and that teachers would be required to wear invasive body monitoring devices. The militants created a Facebook page to widen discussions among teachers and other public sector workers. From there, momentum built steadily, as the teachers organized and engaged in actions of increasing size and risk in order to build greater support. When the time for the strike came, 80 percent of the state’s teachers voted to walk out.

    The pivotal moment in the West Virginia strike occurred about halfway through the nine-day labor stoppage, when the official teachers’ unions announced an agreement with the state legislature and governor. In short, because it had failed to solve the health insurance funding issue and they were not asked to vote on it, the teachers decided to publicly oppose the agreement and continue the strike. Gathering at the capitol in Charlestown, they chanted “Fix it now,” “Back to the table” and “We are the union bosses,” asserting their voice over that of the three established unions.

    Previous Coverage
  • How free lunch and daycare are bolstering the Oklahoma teachers’ walkout
  • Spurred by the success in West Virginia, militant teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona were able to spark major actions in a matter of weeks. In Oklahoma, there was huge energy, with massive strikes taking place at the state capitol for days on end. However, there was relatively little teacher-to-teacher organizing within the schools. Instead, self-appointed leaders managing a teachers’ Facebook page were at the center of much of the communication, and there was little democratic decision-making.

    In the end, despite winning average pay increases of $6,000 per teacher and modest new funding for education, the Oklahoma teachers strike dissolved after the union called on teachers to go back to work. The problem, according to Blanc, was that Oklahoma’s teachers were “insufficiently organized to overcome the hesitancy of their union leaders” in contrast to West Virginia, where the teachers went “wildcat,” taking it upon themselves to continue the strike without the union’s blessing.

    The Arizona case was similar to that of West Virginia. A militant group of teachers understood the importance of face-to-face organizing and had liaisons in nearly every school. For Blanc, one of the most impressive aspects of the Arizona strike was that it occurred in the most difficult environment: a very conservative, anti-union state with a government beholden to the Charles Koch Institute and American Legislative Exchange Council.

    As in the other two states, Arizona militants set up a Facebook page that quickly became very popular. But, in contrast to Oklahoma, key organizers in Arizona recognized that it was critical to build from the base and made sure they had enough organizational strength to call for a strike. They also established a consultative process that encouraged input from below in decision making through what was called a “site liaison network.”

    What the strikes won

    In all three states, teachers won significant pay increases — some immediate, others to kick in later. They also won increased funding for schools and students, although those increases were small compared to the budget cuts of the past decade. A big issue in all states, still largely unresolved, is how to pay for the increased education funding.

    Beyond the specific gains by teachers and schools, however, the strikes established a foundation for further union building. Blanc quotes teachers who talked about how their participation in the intense struggle gave them a new sense of personal efficacy and collective power. As one Arizona teacher noted, “Rallying at the capitol was one of the few moments in my lifetime where I felt I stood exactly where one ought to — it was unequivocally purposeful, courageous and joyful.”

    Blanc’s overall assessment of the strikes is multi-layered. Although the immediate gains for teachers, other public sector workers, and people living in those three states were meaningful, they were by no means transformative because they did not disrupt overall power relations. While further struggles are needed to defend and entrench their gains, he argues the teachers’ movements — on a broader level — amounted to a “frontal challenge to austerity and neoliberalism.” Blanc thinks they also appear to clearly portend “a dramatic increase in working-class consciousness and organization, setting the stage for the conquest of further victories in the months and years ahead.”

    Lessons learned

    The red state revolts took place in settings different from standard labor action, where workers join unions and then engage in struggle through those unions. In the 2018 cases, unions were constrained because they could not legally call for strikes. In addition — like many unions these days — they were focused on member services, rather than fights with the bosses. That meant it was largely up to the teachers to do the hard work of organizing their colleagues and preparing for strikes. The unions did provide important logistical and financial support, which teachers recognized as crucial to their ultimate success. But the strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, were ultimately led by the teachers themselves. Teachers in other states — including Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia — also took it upon themselves to mount one-day walkouts.

    Not being able to organize within a formal union structure was a definite challenge, seen most clearly in Oklahoma, where the lack of grassroots organizing amounted to a significant weakness that ultimately led to the strike’s collapse. In contrast, in the 2012 Chicago strike and the Los Angeles strike of early 2019, all organizing was done within the union framework and benefited from union largesse, as well as an experienced, militant leadership. These more typical cases took years to develop, whereas the red state revolts built within a matter of weeks.

    Another notable difference between these two types of teacher strikes, was the role of social media in the red state revolts. Despite his initial skepticism about Facebook, Blanc ultimately concluded that without it the teachers would not have been able to organize so quickly. That being said, Facebook organizing was something of a shortcut, particularly in Oklahoma, where teachers saw what happened in West Virginia and believed that they could do the same thing using Facebook and word of mouth.

    In the end, they did indeed prove that advanced communications tools, along with very strong grievances, were enough to pull off a massive strike that actually sustained itself for several days. But that structure was built on a weak foundation that ultimately led to dissolution. The general lesson for organizers should be that social media provides excellent tools for dialogue and communications, but cannot replace the hard organizing work and democratic decision-making infrastructure necessary for a lasting social movement.  

    It is also significant that teachers are particularly well-placed to engage in strikes. Although they cannot disrupt the economy directly the way industrial workers can, they are still able to upend daily life. Students need to go to school, where low-income kids are fed one or two meals a day, and parents need to go to their full-time jobs. To use the leverage of disruption effectively, teachers have realized that they must stay on the side of their students and their communities.

    Everywhere teachers strike, they clearly articulate the objective of helping students achieve their educational goals. They also work assiduously to deliver food to students and organize temporary daycare centers in order to minimize the disruption to low-income families. In all three states, there was overwhelming support from the community, which understood all too well the deteriorating state of their schools and implicitly trusted the teachers from day one.

    This support insulated the teachers from government repression. Although state officials threatened teachers before the strikes, there was little they could do when such overwhelming numbers walked out. Blanc quotes various officials saying they knew that if they were to arrest teachers or coerce them with threats of fines, they would face a huge backlash that would only strengthen the teachers’ political standing and resolve. For their part, the teachers understood early on that if they walked out in large numbers, there was nothing the authorities could do.

    The strikes can also be seen as confirming key elements of nonviolent direct action. Teachers in West Virginia and Arizona carefully studied their strengths and weaknesses relative to their opponents in the state governments. That understanding was used to build their movements deliberately, ensuring accountability and important aspects of democratic decision making. The teachers recognized and empowered their allies — their kids and their kids’ families — and were adept at communicating their goals to society in general.

    Finally, the teachers realized the importance of building solid structures from the ground up. Yet, events moved so quickly that there were limits to how far those communications channels and self-help networks could be institutionalized.

    While “Red State Revolt” was about the teacher strikes of 2018, it tells the story of what, in essence, were progressive social movements resisting the politics of austerity imposed by hard-line conservative forces. For activists seeking to build progressive power, whether through labor activism or by organizing racial and economic justice coalitions, “Red State Revolt” is full of helpful practical and theoretical insights.

    How to Make Money Selling Online Courses on Udemy

    How to Make Money Selling Online Courses on Udemy

    Author Jessica Brody taught writing courses at libraries and conferences for years. Although she enjoyed teaching, it started to get exhausting. She had to travel to each location, and she often taught the same material over and over again. Brody started looking for an alternative.

    “My husband was researching online teaching platforms, and we decided to create a short writing class as a test course for Udemy to see if it’d work,” she said. “We earned $1,000 in the first week after releasing it.”

    If you’re like Brody and looking for a source of extra income, you could teach classes through Udemy too. Find out how the platform works and Brody’s tips for getting started.

    What is Udemy?

    Udemy is an online marketplace for users all over the world. Home to thousands of classes, Udemy allows instructors to record video courses and sell them to interested students of all ages.

    For people looking to earn extra income, Udemy can be a great tool. If you’re an expert in your field or have expertise in a specific niche, you can create a course and sell it online. You’ll earn money for every student who enrolls.

    Anyone can teach a class on Udemy, even with no prior teaching experience. When you sign up to become an instructor, Udemy will ask about your experience, your comfort level with video, and whether you have an established audience interested in your materials. Udemy offers robust resources to help you get started based on your answers.

    How much do Udemy instructors earn?

    Brody currently offers five courses on different aspects of writing. Her courses are popular; over 7,000 people have taken her classes on Udemy. Her earnings from teaching online are substantial.

    “I make between $1,500 and $3,000 per month with Udemy,” said Brody. “I use that extra money for things like travel or big purchases.”

    With Udemy, your earning potential is unlimited. You decide how much to charge for your course. Some courses are free or cost as little as $1, while others cost hundreds. How much you make depends on the price you set and the demand for your course.

    One of the best features of selling classes on Udemy is the fact that it can become an excellent source of passive income. Once you create and post a course, it can earn you money for a long time without additional work from you.

    According to Udemy, there are over 65,000 classes on the platform. There are courses on almost every subject imaginable, including dog grooming, making gift baskets, computer programming, and editing photos. Although some of the best-selling courses focus on graphic design and programming, you can make lots of money teaching any subject. It just might take more work to market your course to potential students.

    5 tips to create and sell online courses

    Although Udemy can be a good source of extra income, it takes more than just throwing together a course to be successful. Brody offered the following five tips to help you get started.

    1. Use Udemy resources

    Udemy publishes many free resources for instructors, both beginners and seasoned teachers. It offers guides on how to create a course, build an audience, and use video. You can even submit a test video and get feedback on your performance from Udemy experts. There’s also a community where instructors can learn about and share best practices.

    Brody stressed how useful these resources are and encouraged new instructors to take advantage of them.

    “Udemy does a lot to help you,” she said. “If you can sell your course and prove there is demand, they’ll also help you market your course.”

    2. Focus on your most in-demand skills

    When you’re thinking about what to teach, Brody recommended focusing on your most in-demand skills. Doing so will help you find an audience for your courses.

    “I tell people to think about what their friends ask them about,” she said.

    For example, Brody said people often asked her about how she managed to write several books a year. Those questions prompted her to create a course on productivity hacks for writers. Now, over 3,700 students have taken that class.

    3. Invest in good equipment

    Although you don’t need professional-grade equipment, Brody recommended investing your earnings in some upgrades.

    “When I started, I just had PowerPoint slides and audio,” she said. “Then, I used that money to invest in more equipment, like a higher-quality camera and teleprompter.”

    You might be fine with only slides and audio; some courses follow that format and are quite successful. However, Brody said you should consider investing in a good microphone, which can cost between $50 and $100. She also recommended using an excellent screen-capturing program. She uses Camtasia because it’s easy and even allows her to edit video.

    If you’re short on cash, consider taking out a low-interest personal loan to purchase the essentials and create quality courses. Going into debt isn’t ideal, but a small investment now can help you earn more money later.

    4. Script your course

    Some Udemy instructors use a casual format and teach courses off the top of their head instead of following a script. According to Brody, that’s a mistake.

    “It’s important to remember that this isn’t YouTube,” she said. “People are handing over their money and expect a polished and professional course.”

    Instead, Brody recommended coming up with a script ahead of time. Writing a script and sticking to it can prevent you from rambling or going off on tangents, making your course more engaging and focused.

    5. Give away your knowledge

    Brody said one of the biggest mistakes she sees is instructors who are afraid to give away too much information.

    “Some instructors hold back,” she said. “They’re afraid if they give away all of their secrets, they’ll create their own competition.”

    Brody stressed how important it is to share your secrets for success to make your courses valuable and useful. Otherwise, the courses won’t be effective, and you won’t get as many students.

    Earn extra money

    If you want to make money without setting aside time every day, Udemy might be a good option for you. By teaching classes online, you can create a course once, and it can continue to earn money for you months or even years after you post it.

    If you’re ready to share your expertise and start making money online, sign up to become a Udemy instructor today.

    Looking for other ways to make money? Check out our list of the best side hustle opportunities.

    Interested in refinancing student loans?

    Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!

    Lender Variable APR Eligible Degrees  
    Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
    1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

    Earnest Disclosures

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    Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.48% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.82% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.43% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.21% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

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    The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

    © 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

    2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

    SoFi Disclosures

    1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.490% APR to 8.074% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.430% APR to 6.590% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.430% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.43% plus 0.04% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.  
    2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

    3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

    Laurel Road Disclosures

    FIXED APR
    Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.50% per year to 5.55% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.00% per year for a 7-year term, 4.30% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 4.60% per year to 6.80% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.05% per year to 7.02% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan). The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.50% per year to 5.55% per year for a 5-year term would be from $184.00 to $193.00. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.00% per year to 6.00% per year for a 7-year term would be from $138 to $148. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.30% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104 to $115. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.60% per year to 6.80% per year for a 15-year term would be from $79 to $91. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.05% per year to 7.02% per year for a 20-year term would be from $68 to $80.

    However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

    VARIABLE APR
    Variable rate options consist of a range from 2.43% per year to 6.05% per year for a 5-year term, 3.75% per year to 6.10% per year for a 7-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.15% per year for a 10-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.25% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 1.50% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 1.75% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.00% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.25% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 2.43% per year to 6.05% per year for a 5-year term would be from $179 to $195. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.75% per year to 6.10% per year for a 7-year term would be from $137 to $148. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.00% per year to 6.15% per year for a 10-year term would be from $103 to $114. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 15-year term would be from $77 to $88. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 20-year term would be from $65 to $77.

    However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

    All credit products are subject to credit approval.

    Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

    4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

    LendKey Disclosures

    Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.

    5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

    CommonBond Disclosures

    Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.  All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.45% effective May 10, 2019.

    6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

    Citizens Bank Disclosures

    1. Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of July 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.40%. Variable interest rates range from 2.60%-9.64% (2.60%-9.64% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 3.59%-9.99% (3.59%-9.99% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan. 
    2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at hensbttp://www.citizank.com/EdRefinance,including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
    3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or with no degree must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
    4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
    5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
    6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply. Borrowers whose loans were funded prior to reaching the age of majority may not be eligible for co-signer release. Note: co-signer release is not available on the Student Loan for Parents or Education Refinance Loan for Parents.
    7. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan and Education Refinance Loan for Parents Eligibility: : Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree, or with no degree, must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. For the Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan and Education Refinance Loan for Parents, primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not reached the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required and may not be eligible for co-signer release. Citizens Bank observes the right to modify or discontinue these benefits at any time. Both Education Refinance Loans and Education Refinance Loan for Parents are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned or affordability, as applicable. The minimum student loan refinance amount is $10,000. Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. Resources are available to help the borrower make a decision, including a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits, at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/federal-vs-private.
    2.43% – 7.21%1 Undergrad & Graduate

    Visit Earnest

    2.43% – 6.59%2 Undergrad & Graduate

    Visit SoFi

    2.43% – 6.65%3 Undergrad & Graduate

    Visit Laurel Road

    2.44% – 6.87%4 Undergrad & Graduate

    Visit Lendkey

    2.43% – 6.59%5 Undergrad & Graduate

    Visit CommonBond

    2.60% – 9.64%6 Undergrad & Graduate

    Visit Citizens


    Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.