This post was most recently updated on April 25th, 2019
It seems that Skillshare are re-working their review system.
In the past, Skillshare reviews were limited to a simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down“, along with the option to leave a short text comment.
Under the new system, Skillshare will be asking class students for much more information when they leave a review, but is that a good thing?
The review system has been changed several times over the years. A while ago, free students could take a premium class using a free coupon and leave a review. When that changed, I seem to remember at the time it was called a “bug” that free students couldn’t leave reviews. However, it was never “fixed”, so it seems like it’s now policy that free students can’t leave reviews.
(update: free students can now leave reviews, but only for free classes, not premium classes)
Another change was when some reviews were reported to have disappeared, or not be published. It then emerged that if Skillshare considered there to be a relationship between the teacher and the student, or that the review didn’t accurately reflect students’ opinions of the class, the review may not be shown.
Now, the whole system is getting an overhaul…
The New Skillshare Class Review System
Apparently, each class will have a “Reviews” tab where students can leave a review and view feedback the community has provided about the class. Students will be asked several things when leaving a review, such as…
- What level is the class? [Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / All levels]
- What did you most like about the class? [Audio and Video Quality / Organization of Lessons / Actionable Steps / Clarity Of Instruction / Engaging Teacher / Helpful Examples]
- What could be improved? [Audio quality / Organization of Lessons / More Actionable / More Examples and Tips / Clarity Of Instruction / Video Quality]
- Did the class meet your expectations? [Exceeded / Yes / Somewhat / Not really]
Students who left older reviews will be able to update them into the new system, otherwise their reviews will be in an “archive” section at the bottom of the new reviews tab.
Teachers will initially be able to set the Class Level, but when enough students have rated the class, their feedback will be “factored in“, with presumably the possibility of the Class Level changing from what the teacher set.
My Concerns About The New Skillshare Review System…
I have some concerns about this…
Have all the old reviews been invalidated…? I hope not, but saying students can “update” their “old” reviews “into the new system” sound like the old ones are no longer valid.
Effectively deleting all the old reviews would be a big problem for teachers who had accrued a lot of positive reviews, and would also lead to confusion for students picking which classes to watch with very few new reviews being in the system.
While more detailed reviews would be great, it will probably result in a lot fewer reviews. People simply do not take the time to leave long reviews. Asking, “what did you most like”, “did it exceed expectations”, “what experience level would you rate it” and “what would you improve”… is probably asking for too much information to get a good number of reviews… especially when Skillshare students are used to a “thumbs up/down”.
Students will be able to select from a “list of options” what constructive feedback to send the teacher. I’m not sure a simple list of options, including “audio quality” and “video quality” would really help me improve my classes, as a teacher getting the feedback. Will students be able to leave personalised comments, such as “the audio is missing from lesson 4, or “the video goes blurry in lesson 8”? That would be useful.
Premium Members Only?
In the early days of Skillshare, free account holders could leave reviews. That was changed several months ago, so that only premium members could leave reviews. Whether or not this new, re-worked, review system will allow free members to leave reviews is currently unknown. If you’d like a premium account, we wrote a blog post about how you can get a two months free trial of Skillshare Premium, here.
Update: March 2019: It seems that free Skillshare members can only review free classes on the platform, not premium ones.
What do you think
Getting more feedback from students sounds good in theory, but if it leads to a large decline in the amount of reviews, is it worthwhile?
I actually thought the simple “thumbs up/down” was a very clever part of Skillshare because it made leaving a review very quick and easy. It may not have been hugely insightful, but if thousands of people took a class, and it had a balance of 90% positive reviews, it was probably a good class. If students wanted to leave a quick comment, they could do that too.
I thought it was a good system, but now it’s changing…