Publish your first egghead lesson
There's a chance that you are a seasoned veteran that has recorded many screencasts in the past and will need very little direction to start recording egghead lessons. If that's the case, awesome, but if it isn't, don't worry. We've got your back!
Creating screencasts is hard. It's a learned skill. It can feel weird. You can get the feeling of stage fright sitting in the comfort of your own home office staring at your monitor with nobody else in the room.
The first few lessons might require some back and forth to get egghead style down. It can be frustrating.
These feelings thankfully fade over time as you learn the skill of creating bite-sized video lessons.
In order to give you an idea of how to build this skill, we are going to take a look at what makes a solid lesson. Later we will talk about these concepts in more depth, so don’t worry if it doesn’t click right away.
To get started, we want to see three things.
- Your example, the code, in its starting state as well as its finished state.
- A title for the lesson
- A short paragraph summarizing the lesson
Write the code example, from start to finish
The concept is closely tied to the example. If you're recording a lesson on a programming topic, that example is going to be some sort of code. It makes sense that the code would have two different states. A start and a finish.
The state it is in when you start could be a blank screen in some cases, or it could be a structured shell that you are going to add too. Whatever the case, your code has to begin so having that is an important step in the process.
When you are finished with your lesson, the code will reflect the concept that you've just explained. The difference between the start and finished state of your code directly defines the scope and complexity of the lesson.
If you've got this code diff before you start, it makes the process much easier.
It's important to keep in mind that there is always more to learn. Always. We can’t teach it all, and we especially can’t teach everything in a single lesson.
At egghead, we strive for laser focus on specific concepts. This is what we mean when we say "bite-sized" lessons. We want individual lessons to be as concise and as focused as possible, while showing the viewer all of the steps required.
Think of your code example like saying "hey, check this out" to a friend or coworker about some tool, trick, or technique you've used to get the job done. Respect their time and get to the point.
Once you've got the start and finish states of your example worked out, share it in Slack so we can begin discussing the next step.
Writing a Lesson Title and Summary
Naming things is hard. Naming things is vital.
There are thousands of lessons on egghead, and for many of those lessons the way your students will find them is via search. There is site search on egghead, but Google is the number one source of traffic on egghead.
You want people to find your lessons.
Starting with a lesson title that is robust and descriptive is the sharpest tool that you have to make this a reality.
A solid title will also help you stay focused and keep the scope in check. Having the code sample already makes the process of naming your lesson easier. Because you've defined the scope in code, you should have a clear understanding of what the lesson is all about. If not, the problem is likely with the example and we can refine that as needed.
To get an amazing title for your lesson, we will start by writing a short summary of the concepts that you plan to demonstrate. To do that we can look at the before and after of your code example, and described what has changed.
In this lesson you will learn how to use the map method from the Lodash library. Map is a powerful tool that can be used to transform collections of data into new collections, without mutating or altering the original data in any way.
Not quite a paragraph, but this describes a concept clearly and matches the scope of the code example that we intend to teach from. It's great, and includes the keywords that a student might use to discover the lesson when they want to learn about the specific topic. Now we can work on the title.
The title is a summary of the summary**, and should describe the context of what the viewer is about to learn. Imagine the stack of lesson titles on egghead, with thousands of lessons. Each title should let the viewer know what they are about to learn so they can easily decide if this lesson is appropriate for their current goals.
Transform data collections using Lodash map
The title and the summary are what will be displayed in search results, and guide the viewer towards your lessons and courses.
They are very important, but don't worry, we’re here to help! For your first lesson, we don't want you to worry about perfection or feel like you’re "spinning your wheels" too much. Just do your best, and we will help you shape your title and summary as needed.
Share your title and summary in Slack for feedback.
Now record a rough draft
Imagine that you are sitting next to a coworker, and want to show them a cool new piece of technology that you just learned.
Would you make them a Powerpoint presentation?
Would you read from a script?
Or would you just sit down, fire up a browser and your favorite text editor and actually show them what you've built, and why it is interesting?
That's what we are looking for with a draft lesson. You've built a cool example, let's take a look at it. Tell us how you built it, and what makes it interesting.
For now, don't worry about audio or video quality. We will send you professional audio recording gear and explain the technical details about recording screencasts later on.
Make mistakes! This might be new, and screencasting is a learned skill that gets easier with practice. Your video isn't a live presentation, and this draft won't be shared with the world. Mistakes and restarts are fine. Sometimes we need to cough, kids will run through, train will roll by, you name it, it happens to everybody.
Just pause for a couple of breaths.
Pause, and repeat where you were interrupted. Pauses are SO easy to edit out, and you should feel free to use them.
🔥 Pause a lot.
Take a deep breath. Speak with confidence! You are the expert. Everyone wants to hear what you have to say.
Upload Your Lesson
When your draft is complete, upload it to egghead.io. You’ll be able to update the video as edits are made based on the feedback you get. Your mentor knows what we are looking for! Ask your them to screen share with you for the editing process, so that you can get some guidance for the first pass. This can save you hours of trying to figure things out. 🙂
Once your mentor gives you a thumbs up, you can update your lesson video for final review and publication.
When you upload any lesson video it is automatically processed to make sure its audio is in stereo, the resolution is as expected, and that it is uploaded to the appropriate storage channels.
Sometimes this can take a few minutes. If an hour goes by and your lesson video still isn’t visible, let us know!
Lesson review and approval
Once the steps above are complete, your lesson is ready to be reviewed for approval. Reviewing means that an experienced egghead instructor will watch your lesson and provide feedback. It’s not uncommon that your lesson will require a couple of updates. You’ll receive feedback, record the required changes, and replace the lesson’s video on egghead.
After your lesson has been approved for publishing, it is placed in the lesson publishing queue.
The lesson publishing queue (visible to instructors that are logged in) automatically publishes lessons from top to bottom. The publishing schedule ranges from daily to a few times per week, depending on how many lessons are in the queue. This way we can ensure that there is a steady flow of new content being released. After publishing, lessons are added to the social media sharing queue, leading to your newly published content being shared across egghead social media accounts. This drives a ton of eyes to your video!
Stuck? Can't think of anything to record?
This is normal.
As far as coming up with your first topic goes, just think about something that would be useful to a developer. Think of a tool, a technique, or a practice that you've used in the past.
Please note that there is no need to worry about repeating content that might exist on egghead already. We aren't concerned with repetition at all! Often people learning new concepts appreciate seeing the same content taught with multiple approaches.
We also don't worry about pre-requisites-- if we did, every topic would need at least 30 lessons to cover completely. You can start by assuming the viewer has a certain level of knowledge, and the viewer can assume that more lessons will be made later to fill in holes or go into more depth.
The most important thing we like to express to new instructors is:
Keep the lesson focused on a single concept.
We've got plenty of time to explain the rest!