Document 360: #1 Knowledge Base Software
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Document 360: #1 Knowledge Base Software

Question: How long has your API doc course been available?

by Tom Johnson on Sep 29, 2015 •
categories: api-doc

I'm developing an online course for documenting REST APIs. I'm not quite done, and I'm trying to figure out the best freemium delivery model.

A reader notes:

I only just today discovered your API Doc Course. Well done! Thanks very much for this. How long has this course been available? Are you still working on the material?

I’ve been working on this material for the past several months. It’s gone through several iterations. From presentations and short workshops on API documentation over the past year, the material has evolved and grown, and I’m trying to add more detail and polish to the content in order to convert it into an online learning course. Exactly how I’ll deliver that course, I’m not sure.

I’ve been playing around with several delivery models. One that I like is to keep the text free but charge for videos related to the content. This would allow the content to surface in search results but also adds another layer with revenue potential if people prefer more instruction. (I actually saw this model mostly recently on Learn Code the Hard Way — the text if free, but videos and other add-ons cost money.)

I think it makes sense to provide content this way. I’m hesitant to pay money for a Udemy course unless I see the value of the content. It’s hard to get a realistic preview of online content through those channels. However, once I’m persuaded that the content is of high value, I’m more than willing to pay for enhanced content on the same topics.

The trick is figuring out an online payment gateway that provides partial access to content. Maybe some kind of password to videos on Vimeo, with the password delivered through (which delivers digital assets upon payment)? I’m not really sure. At any rate, I’m still developing the content now. I’m probably 3 months away from finishing.

I’m also currently giving a series of API workshops to a group in the Bay area privately. These workshops have been extremely helpful in pushing me to finish and develop this content.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.