Last week I received an e-mail from a guy at a company called Udemy. He had stumbled across a post about Automation Direct from about a year ago and thought I might be interested in the infographic above.
Sometimes when people ask what I do for a living it can be difficult to describe without using a lot of acronyms and buzzwords. PLCs, or Programmable Logic Controllers are one of those things that take a bit of explanation. This graphic does this in a more fun way than some dry engineering description; now if someone asks me what a PLC is I have a graphic I can point to that a typical non-technical person can easily understand, right here on my site!
So, now a bit on Udemy itself. From their website:
Udemy is an online education marketplace with over 7 million students. Our course content and instructor community are constantly growing, with more than 30,000 courses taught by 16,000 instructors. We offer students the ability to learn as they go and succeed on their own terms, while instructors have a way to share their knowledge with the world. For companies, Udemy offers a subscription to our best business courses as well as an easy-to-use platform to create proprietary courses. Founded in 2010, privately owned Udemy is funded by the Stripes Group, Norwest Venture Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Lightbank, MHS Capital, Learn Capital, among others. Udemy is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in Dublin, Ireland, and Ankara, Turkey.
I was also offered a link to a coupon on their site that would offer a special price on a PLC class for people referred from my blog. This brought up a bit of a dilemma for me. As many of you know, I teach PLC and HMI programming classes for Automation Training, a Canadian company. Since they also sell videos and online courses for PLCs and HMIs, I can’t in good conscience link to the coupon or promote Udemy’s PLC and HMI classes without creating a conflict of interest. At the same time, the classes are easy enough to find by simply browsing the website.
What I found even more intriguing is Udemy’s pitch to create classes on whatever subject you have expertise in. As many of my readers know, I wrote a book a couple of years ago called Industrial Automation: Hands On. For those interested in knowing how the book is doing, sales have increased every quarter since the book came out and it has gotten some pretty good reviews. About half of the sales come from overseas though, and the growth seems to mostly be coming from Asian countries such as Malaysia and India. While this is very cool, it is unlikely that I will ever get to teach a class there, mostly due to logistic issues with equipment and computers.
Which brings up an idea I have been thinking about that I may pursue. It would be quite easy to create a video class with the book as a textbook. The class would be very general and broad in scope (as is the book), mostly geared towards people in management that want to know more about the plant or industry that they work for. I could also easily elaborate on certain areas or chapters such as Six Sigma, robotics, and pneumatics; techniques such as sensor specification, CAD and custom machine design, etc. with further classes. Before doing this however, I need to discuss it with my good friends at Automation Training to make sure there are no problems.
Meanwhile, I hope you like the cool infographic, and maybe the Udemy website might inspire some of you to take a course or even create one yourself. Check it out!