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- The Good
- Large catalog of higher education courses
- Open-source platform
- Affordable price
- The Bad
- Course gaps
- Outdated discussion panel
There are about 420 courses available on edX, with the majority of those being in the sciences. While the courses have depth, the overall catalog lacks diversity, especially when compared to competitors such as Coursera. However, all the courses are free with optional course credit or course verification, which gives this nonprofit an edge.
- Free for Non-Credit
While you can take edX courses for free, if you want credit, you need to pay a fee. For example, in order receive credit for a course, you would need to enroll in the university’s extension course for which fees can be hefty. Alternatively, you can purchase a verified certificate for $50 that confirms you completed the course through an identity check.
- Course Types
- Art & Culture
- Computer Science
- Economics and Finance
EdX also offers courses across a wider range of categories than listed above, such as biology & life sciences, business management, design, education, chemistry, ethics, music and more. Courses can be broken down by levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced, which makes it much easier to sort through the courses to find those at the right level for your current background. For some courses, you may want to start at the introductory level, while for others, you can jump ahead to intermediate or advanced.
- Class Features
- Video clips
- Quizzes and tests
- Peer Review
Classes through edX are conducted by pre-taped lecture and video clips and reinforced by discussion, peer review, and quizzes and tests. Many of the courses have practice questions to help you assess your own learning. Some courses may be completed in an afternoon, while others take weeks to complete. Also, you can expect some professors to assign homework.
- Harvard University
- The University of Queensland
- Georgetown University
- Qualified professors
EdX partners with major universities to bring free, online education to people across the globe. The professors are highly qualified and from some of the most prestigious universities in the United States, which gives these free courses even more value. The courses in themselves are of high quality in everything from video production to assessment material and other course material.
EdX: User Reviews
EdX was founded by the faculty at MIT and Harvard to offer free, online, quality education by partnering with other colleges and universities. It is considered a collection of MOOCs, which stands for “massive open online courses.” Anyone can take a course on edX as long as they have access to a computer and the internet. Compared to other online portals, the course catalog isn’t exactly “massive,” but the courses are of high quality.
Overall, the courses focus heavily on academics, particularly the sciences, and leave gaps where some other categories are concerned. Currently, several million students are enrolled in edX and using its online learning portal for free or a reduced fee for verification for credit.
How Does EdX Work?
To create an account with edX and start taking advantage of its free courses, you can register on the home page. You’ll fill out a short form that includes your name, email address and the country where you live. You can also answer some optional questions about gender, past schooling and why you are interested in taking courses with edX. At this point, you can start taking courses with some of the world’s most respected professors and connect with other learners from around the world.
What Makes EdX Stand Out?
What makes edX unique is its free access to quality, online courses taught by respected professors from top-notch universities. In this way, edX is similar to Coursera. However, edX’s courses tend to focus on the sciences more than any other learning category, and edX offers both course verification and/or course credit for an affordable fee.
Common Reviews of EdX
Overall, the reviews of edX are favorable. People were pleased with the quality of the courses, especially since they are all free. One customer said: “EdX can open doors for anyone who wants to learn. My dream is to reach a million youth around the world and share with them the advanced learning opportunities edX courses provide. EdX can open doors for anyone who wants to learn, with basic access to the internet.”
Another customer went on to praise his experience taking courses with edX: “I have done 3 courses from edX and the experience has been great. Apart from being free, the courses cover the subject matter thoroughly and provide video lectures delivered by professors from some of the best universities in the world. You also get a certificate of completion at the end (for which you have to pay sometimes but is totally worth it) which can be a decent boost for your resume.”
Students also liked the peer review assessment. They found that it motivated interaction among the students while providing an easy and quick way to get work assessed, although others felt that it was lacking in direction by professors or their teacher assistants at times.
On the other hand, there are some negative reviews. One customer complained that there aren’t enough self-paced courses. Others complained that there wasn’t enough feedback throughout the courses and hoped there would be more interaction with professors or their teacher assistants. Another complaint focused on the individual course dashboard. The customer found having all your past, present and future classes on the same page confusing. The negative reviews were very few compared to the positive reviews about edX.
Is EdX for Me?
When trying to decide which online educational portal is right for you, there are a few questions you can ask yourself, such as:
- Why do I want to use an online portal? For personal or professional development? Or both?
- Am I looking for something to replace a traditional college?
- Am I taking classes just for fun, or do I need verification or college credit?
- What is my budget for taking online courses?
- Do I require courses taught by industry experts and/or professors?
- Am I business owner searching for a free or affordable professional development platform for my employees?
EdX is an online learning portal that can fulfill almost any need. While it cannot replace a traditional university or college, you can get credit for courses, which will give your college application an edge. Here are other reasons edX may be right for you:
- You run a business or organization that wants to offer continued learning to volunteers and employees without a hefty price tag.
- You are interested in a new career.
- You have a burning curiosity to learn about a particular subject.
- You are trying to decide on a major and want to explore courses to help you get a better understanding of various subject matter.
- You are an entrepreneur who wants to hone your skills.
- You are interested in learning about finance and planning for your retirement.
- You are a college student who needs to supplement a course to better understand it.
- You want to make your bio and resume more competitive by listing courses you have completed through edX.
If you’re thinking about trying edX out, there is nothing to lose. The courses are free, and there are plenty to choose from, especially in the sciences. If you are more interested in creative courses such as photography or personal development, edX may not be the best choice as it tends to lean toward courses of more traditional academic standing. For this reason, you can expect high quality and high value from every course taken at edX.