The secret to a good online course (Hint: It's not technology)

By Sarah Lacy , written on April 24, 2013

From The News Desk

In our second installment of our Skype sit down with founder Lynda Weinman, I asked a simple question: What makes a good online course?

In the current frenzy around online education and MOOCs, we spend a lot of time focused on the science of what technology can enable -- and less on the art about what may actually make an online course good.

While doesn't score high marks on interactivity or whiz-bang technology, its over $100 million in annual revenues say a lot about the quality of its courses. In fact, students have always flocked to Weinman's courses -- whether they were in person, via books or online. Even in's first year of business, the bootstrapped company did nearly $1.7 million in revenue.

What's her secret? It's pretty simple: Be a good teacher. Teaching is teaching, she says, no matter what medium it's delivered over. "If you are good at explaining things, people are going to like what you do," she says.

In this clip, we also talk about Lynda's approach to teaching creative subjects like design and photography that are more subjective than a lot of the math and coding classes competitors are putting online today.