When HeatSpring students purchase a course, they get access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after their class session ends. After the year of access expires, students can optionally extend access to the course materials with a HeatSpring Membership. Membership currently costs $19/month and one membership subscription unlocks access to all the student’s past courses. It also provides access to certificates of completion for free courses and access to a few courses that are free for members only.
We developed HeatSpring Membership because, while we have always stated in our terms that course materials are only available for one year, we started experimenting with allowing students to continue to access the materials after the year expired. We found that many students continued to access their course(s), months or even years after taking them. While we loved that students were doing this as it is a testament to the value of the courses, we noticed that this ongoing use was costing us a lot of money over time.
As you might imagine, with tens of thousands of past students since 2007, our total operating costs continue to grow for variable costs like bandwith, hosting, video streaming, course material file hosting and downloads as more students use the courses. A student who paid a one time enrollment fee in 2007, may still want to watch course videos or download materials today. Offering HeatSpring Membership as a solution has worked quite well as the membership fees cover the cost of students want to contiue to use their course materials long after their year of access has expired. Students now have the option to exend access with a membership which they can cancel anytime.
It is important to note that only students who have paid to enroll in a course can then access that material with a HeatSpring membership after their one year of access has expired. HeatSpring will never provide access to these materials unless a student has paid to enroll in that course and their included year of access to the materials has expired.
We directly share the membership fees collected with our instructors based on our revenue share percentage for that course. So the instructor passively earns a percentage of that recurring monthly membership fee.
This is still an evolving feature and we would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as we continue to grow HeatSpring Membership.