Online education marketplace Udemy is announcing that its Teach2013 initiative has signed 15,000 experts within the past 60 days. Among those notable within the company’s “create your own course” program, is legendary reporter Dan Rather, and acclaimed directors Randal Kleiser and George Lucas.

Since its debut in January, Udemy has set out to create a program where anyone can create their own course. The company says that it created this initiative because it was looking to help encourage and empower experts and leaders to “step up” and not only create courses, but teach them.

Udemy’s Vice President of Marketing Dinesh Thiru tells us that that so far, Teach2013 has accumulated 1,000 courses from its Teach2013 applicants. He says:

It’s amazing what a good instructor can do with an HD camera, a mic, and some basic video editing software.  We live in a new world where experts are building incredibly high-quality online courses with technology that often costs less than $200. You couldn’t empower millions of experts to teach the world before this happened – the barriers to teaching online were too high. But that’s all changed now and that’s why 2013 is going to be the year of the online instructor.

To date, the company has over 600,000 students signed up to learn from a variety of courses and the addition of well-known personalities such as Rather, Kleiser, and Lucas might even impress more to participate. Interestingly enough, Thiru says that having Rather as an instructor was a result of networking with one of his managers enthusiastic about online education and Udemy. As for Kleiser and Lucas, both approached the company on their own and had their Cinematic Arts course already produced.

“I wish there had been online education when I was in school,” says Kleiser. “I’m thrilled that by creating the ‘Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors‘ on Udemy, we will allow this brilliant artist’s teachings to reach people all over the world.”

Udemy allows anyone with significant expertise in a subject, whether it’s gardening, entrepreneurship, foreign language, playing the guitar, or anything else, to apply as a course instructor. If they are accepted, Udemy says that it will provide instructors will tools and resources to craft a curriculum that meet its course quality standards.

Thiru says that the company has seen its subjects become rather diverse, with courses in yoga, photography, cake decoration, and even in accent reduction being taught. Udemy shared that one in four instructors have made over $10,000 through the service. Course fees are based on whatever the instructor wishes to charge — if there is a cost, Udemy takes 30 percent of the revenue. Instructors retain full control over the course content and copyrights.

Tools that are made available include access to Udemy’s Course Creation Platform and its online instructor community called “The Udemy Studio”. The company says that it will also give some experts production assistance to develop their videos.

Previous instructors that have already been signed up include Lean Startups author Eric Ries, Photoshop educator David Cross, photographer Don Giannatti, Mixergy founder Andrew Warner, yoga instructor Dashama Konah, #DOMINATEFUND managing partner Ben Parr, the Founder Institute, social media strategist Damien Franco, I Will Teach You To Be Rich author Ramit Sethi, Clarity founder Dan Martell, Contently’s Director of Community Erica Swallow, and dozens of other professionals.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images