If you’ve heard of MOOCs (massive open online courses), then you must've heard of edX. It’s one of the most popular providers of MOOCs, with an extensive database of university-level online courses.
edX is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2012 by experts from leading universities: Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Their courses are accessed across the globe by millions of users at different academic levels.
This review will help you decide whether edX suits your academic needs.
Ease of Use
When you visit any website, the first thing you see is what forms your first impression on the content and its legitimacy. That’s why edX provides a User Interface that’s well-organized and can easily be navigated through.
On the main page, you can immediately see all the different sections of the wide array of courses that they offer. You can also use the search bar to search for specific programs or courses, which is made easy using the filters that they provide.
Once you click on a course page, you’ll find all the information you need on the About page, such as a description of the course, an introductory video, course length, price, and language.
To access the programs and the courses offered on edX, you’ll simply need to sign up by making an account from scratch. You could also sign up using any of your social media accounts (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etc.)
Enrolling in a Course or Program
On edX you can either enroll in individual courses or a program, which is a group of related courses that you must complete. All courses will be displayed in the course catalog.
To enroll, simply choose the course or program that you’d like to study and click “Enroll Now” when the About page loads. To book a program, you choose any of its provided courses.
People who wish to register in a course or program will be pleasantly surprised to find that there are five different programs and 20 different individual-courses categories that they can choose from.
70% of the courses are science/technology, social sciences, and other related subjects, while 20% are IT/computer science-oriented and 10% are business-oriented courses.
The programs offered provide academic content, as well as professional development training.
You can choose between:
Designed by top universities, they’re a series of graduate-level courses that provide advanced learning on a certain career field. Employers around the world recognize them for their relevance to a real job.
Students enrolled in this program can apply to the university offering this certificate and take up a lower-priced Master’s Degree, if accepted.
Professional Certificate Programs
This series of courses work on enhancing and polishing your skills to match those that are currently in demand in the job market.
Online Master’s Degree
edX offers Master’s degrees that are completely online and affordable from the top-ranking universities of the world.
Global Freshman Academy
edX has partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to create this credit-eligible course that provides individuals with the same academic experience (same courses from the same faculty) as an on-campus ASU student.
A series of courses designed by top universities to provide a deeper understanding and knowledge of fun and interesting topics. A certificate of achievement will reflect this knowledge.
Courses are provided in the form of videos, that can be accessed through Youtube or can be downloaded for offline use. Most courses offered are in English, but many universities now provide subtitles in other languages.
Students can also interact with each other or their mentors through discussion forums.
Open Source Technology
edX is an Open Source Project, which means that other partner institutions have access to the platform’s software, thus can make changes and design their course platform accordingly. This feature is offered on OpenEdX.
It’s a two-sided coin since alternative platforms as such can be extremely beneficial to the audience, but can sometimes become confusing.
This is because each course or class may have a different setup that will need acquaintance (to the supported audio and video formats).
- The website is easy to navigate and user-friendly
- Courses are provided by top-ranking universities and leading institutions
- Courses are interesting and knowledgeable, can be practically applied in the work field
- Discussion forums allow global communication between learners
- Only offers 8 accredited degrees, which is less than other online education platforms
- Certified courses cost a fee, which can be expensive for some individuals
- Certificates are rewarded through the university providing the course, thus, it may take a long time to be received
- Course availability can be confusing
User reviews that we’ve seen regarding the quality of the content they receive on this learning platform have been highly conflicting.
A percentage of users found their experience with edX to be fulfilling. They were satisfied with the material, felt like they learned everything they needed, and received good value for the money they invested (paid certificate courses).
On the other hand, the percentage that was unsatisfied with their edX experience said that the course material was limited and that they faced technical difficulties with the platform itself. They also found it hard to get feedback from their mentors or teaching assistants (TAs).
Other issues include crashing of the platform itself, especially for iOS users.
Up until recently, the year 2016 to be exact, edX was the only remaining platform that offered certificates for free. Currently, however, the price you pay (if any) depends on the type of course you choose.
You can choose between verified and unverified courses. Verified courses usually cost between $50 and $300, which is…pretty expensive. This is because you’ll be rewarded with a certificate as proof that you’ve taken this course.
If you choose to audit an unverified course, it’ll be free of charge but no certificate will be received. You’ll still mention the course in your resume, which will also make you stand out from other applicants in the job market.
edX is a widely-known MOOC platform used by millions of users around the globe. You can choose to audit many of the courses and programs that they provide for free, as a way of testing it out. That'll help you see whether this type of educational platform is fit for you.