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Introduction

If you want to get ahead in 2021 and beyond, you might want to consider earning a master’s degree or a verified certificate – heck, even taking just a few classes! – to boost your credibility.

When you’re browsing among the many online degrees and MOOCs out there, you might be overwhelmed by all the options. Online learning is an industry that’s growing by the day – and if you want to expand your professional education or even earn a master’s degree, you’ll find plenty of platforms that will make this possible for you.

In this edX review, we’ve set out to review edX online courses and also to give you an idea of whether courses on edX are worth your time and money. Here’s what you need to know about this unique online learning platform – trust us, it really stands out among the competition.

 

Related reading: edX vs Coursera – The In-Depth Comparison

 

What is edX?

edX is an online learning platform that exists as an MOOC (massive open online course) server. Here, you’ll find all kinds of online courses to help you meet your personal and professional goals. These courses are offered in partnership with leading educational organizations. You might find an institution like Penn State, the University of Oxford, MIT, or the University of California on the roster of schools that work with this unique company.

The platform was created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and provides university-level classes in a wide range of disciplines. First launched in 2012, the company now works with more than 150 schools, companies, and nonprofit organizations to provide courses to students everywhere. It employs more than 6,000 instructors, too.

 

edX Pricing Model

edX Pricing

edX, like many other MOOCs, brings education to a subset of students who might not otherwise be able to take classes. While there are plenty of free courses on this platform, even those that require payment are still affordable and accessible, helping to reduce some of the inequality that exists in higher education.

With edX class, there are essentially two different pricing models for you to explore. You can take both verified and unverified classes. Unverified classes are free courses, offered completely free of charge and open at any time – you don’t have to wait for a particular time of year in order to sign up.

Courses in the verified track vary in their cost. You might pay anywhere from $50 to $300. You can also choose to audit a course so that you can learn the course material in your own time. However, you will not receive a certificate of completion after completing the class.

Degree and program prices, as you can see, vary quite a bit. It will depend quite a bit on what you’re looking for. However, some courses can be quite expensive.

 

edX Features

This online learning platform has several key features that are worthy of mention. Here’s what you need to know about pursuing professional education here.

 

Weekly Learning Segments

edX includes online courses that are set up in unique blocks. You’ll take weekly learning sequences that include short videos, interactive learning exercises, and more.

Courses often have tutorial videos that will provide you with the same kind of professional education and hands-on experiences that you might have if you were studying on-campus at an institution. You can post and review questions and comments and even interact with fellow students and teaching assistants.

 

Credentials

Some edX courses come with certificates of successful completion, while others are credit-eligible. This is up to the individual institution, but edX offers plenty of ways for you to learn. You can audit a course (something known as a verified course) or you can complete a bundled set of up to seven verified courses for a single subject.

 

Wide Array of Learning Options

With edX, you can choose from a variety of different kinds of courses and programs. There are one-off courses that you can take in your free time along with MicroMasters programs that will help you perfect your skills even more. There are professional certificates and even a global Freshman Academy that’s designed for first-year university students.

Want to gain a more in-depth understanding of a certain subject? edX has that too, with its unique XSeries Program. This program will allow you to explore a subject and gain a deeper understanding of an in-demand field. Some examples include things like “Astrophysics,” “The Civil War and Reconstruction,” and “Water Management.” With these classes, you’ll pay and sign up for a large chunk of courses that you take as a unit.

 

edX User Interface

One of the main things that most edX reviews touch upon is that the courses are incredibly flexible. There are both self-and instructor-paced courses, with instructor-paced courses following a set schedule with specific due dates for all tests, assignments, and quizzes. You’ll receive your course materials at pre-set times and complete the class within a set period.

You can study at your own pace and submit all assignments at any time.

The user experience, as you’ll hear mentioned in most edX course reviews, is simple and easy to navigate. Classes are taught in a variety of languages, including English (the majority of classes are in English, in fact), Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, and Chinese. There are subtitles in English available for all videos, too.

edX courses can be downloaded for offline viewing. That way, you can work on your mobile device, computer, and more. There is even an edX app that you can download for Android or iOS. Enroll in the verified track and you’ll be able to access your course materials even after the course has ended. If you’re auditing a course, you’ll only be able to access it for the number of weeks it is being offered, as specified on the enrollment page.

 

Content Quality

As with any online learning platform, the courses on edX vary in their quality and consistency. You get what you pay for – and that’s true when you’re earning a degree on any platform, including a degree on edX.

There are nearly 60 different MicroMasters programs you can choose from, which offer some of the best content quality when it comes to the long list of options on this platform. They take around a year to a year and a half to complete with the average course costing around $1,000. Anybody can take these courses. Despite being offered by some of the most prestigious universities in the country, there are no requirements for admission.

These certificates can be used to help fulfill some of the requirements for a complete master’s degree, too.

edX also offers MicroBachelor’s programs. These are relatively new to the platform and consist of a series of college courses that are offered in partnership with colleges, corporations, and universities. To date, there are five of these programs available: Marketing Essentials, Information Technology Career Framework, Professional Writing, Elements of Data Science, and Computer Science Fundamentals. Again, these are high-quality programs that last around three to six months and cost $1000 on average.

Of course, you can also pursue professional certificate programs, XSeries programs, and master’s degrees, too.

 

Ease of Use

Courses on edX are straightforward and easy to take. The platform is home to simple and easy-to-navigate features that don’t include unnecessary information or irritating pop-ups. You don’t have to spend tons of time navigating the platform to find what you’re looking for.

When you’re looking for a class, all you need to do is click on the “course” section. Here, you’ll be able to explore all the different categories, degrees, and programs that edX has to offer.

You’ll be able to check out all of the general information you need to know about a course, including an introductory video, a short description, and the main information about its length, price, and content.

There are also very detailed course descriptions for each class that will help you see what the class is all about. Some users actually complain about this feature, saying that the course descriptions are too long and force you to look at a large wall of text as soon as you check the page.

The same goes for the testimonial section on the website. It can be hard to read, but that’s a minor complaint when it comes to how easy the rest of the edX platform is to use.

 

User Learning Experience

Many people who review edX online courses report that they are incredibly satisfied with the learning experience. Of course, this is very case- and course-dependent.

Your experience could vary depending on what class you are taking and who the instructor is. It’s important to note, however, that edX does a much better job in screening its instructors than other platforms. You need to be employed at one of the partner institutions listed above in order to teach via edX, which is not true for similar online learning platforms.

 

What Type of Courses Does edX Offer?

edX Courses

edX courses vary in terms of their length, time commitment required, and in the subjects available. This platform offers more than 2,500 courses in a variety of subjects, including:

  • Food & Nutrition
  • Music
  • Literature
  • History
  • Law
  • Economics & Finance
  • Computer Science
  • Business & Management
  • Design
  • Energy & Earth Sciences

….and much more!

 

edX courses vary in their difficulty but most have no prerequisites. The vast majority require about 4-12 weeks of study with 4-8 hours of work each week. Each one has an end date which doesn’t matter much if you’re just auditing the course or taking it for fun. However, if you want to earn a certificate, you will need to complete all requirements and pass the class by that date.

 

edX Certificates

As an online learning platform, edX offers two different types of certificates. Each edX certificate value varies depending on the course you are taking.

One certificate type is the verified certificate for a single course. For a verified certificate, you’ll pay a fee (this isn’t set in stone but depends on the course you are taking). When you pass the class with the required grade in the verified track, you will receive a verified certificate.

Another kind of certificate offered by this online learning platform is a program certificate. You’ll earn a program certificate when you earn a verified certificate for every course in an XSeries, Professional Certificate, or MicroMasters program.

 

Pros and Cons of edX

 

The Advantages (Pros) of edX

 

Accredited Certificates

One of the biggest benefits of taking a class with edX is that you will be able to access accredited certificates that really mean something when it comes to work. You’ll be able to earn these certificates upon completing a course and you can use them to bolster your resume and show potential employers that you really know your stuff.

 

Range of Payment Options & Generous Refund Policy

With edX, you’ll be able to pay for a course that you can afford. You don’t have to worry about a monthly subscription fee because you’ll only pay for the courses you actually take and there are plenty of different options available for people of all budgets and lifestyles. There’s even financial aid available for students who might have trouble making the cost of tuition.

edX even has a generous refund policy that will allow you to get a full refund if you decide within 14 days of purchasing a verified course that you don’t want to continue.

 

Self-Paced Learning

Although there are plenty of instructor-paced and timed courses on edX, the vast majority are self-paced. Because of this, you can move through the material at a pace that’s right for you without having to worry about going through topics too quickly.

 

Prestigious Partnerships

edX offers classes with a variety of prestigious organizations, companies, and universities, including Berkeley, Microsoft, and Harvard. You’ll be able to study from instructors who really know their stuff – and are at the top of their respective fields – while also earning an incredibly well-respected credential.

 

The Disadvantages (Cons) of edX

 

Limited Topics

Because edX courses are offered by various higher education institutions, you won’t find quite as wide of a range of topics as you might on other online learning platforms, like Udemy (a platform that offers all kinds of personal development classes in things like filmmaking, dog training, baking, and more).

 

No Set Structure

Unlike certain course platforms that require instructors to stick to a certain format when designing their courses, this is not a feature of edX. Instead, courses are put together by partners who have the freedom to create classes as they see fit. This can cause some courses to be inconsistent.

 

Some “Messy” Website Features

Some users report that the user interface of edX is clunky and difficult to use, particularly when it comes to the course descriptions or similar features.

 

edX Alternatives

There are several different alternatives to edX that you should know about. Here are some of the most noteworthy.

 

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is best for students who are looking for K-12 educational programs or supplements to their regular school schedules. It is free to use but not geared toward adult learners, as edX is.

 

Coursera

Coursera offers more options for corporate customers than edX, although this is something that the later company has recently begun to explore as well. Coursera also offers much of its content free of charge. However, the classes aren’t always as collegiate in nature. edX offers more classes in the natural sciences and humanities while Coursera focuses more on professional education in things like business and computer science. Both offer certificates and an easy-to-navigate, user-friendly website.

 

Udemy

Udemy is another platform that you might consider using. This one is great for people who want to learn from a more diverse body of instructors, including those who might just be regular folks with passions to share! You don’t have to work at a prestigious institution in order to teach at Udemy – you just have to be passionate. This makes it a great online course platform to consider if you are interested in making some money by teaching an online course, too.

 

edX Review Conclusion

Hopefully, our edX review has been helpful when it comes to making the decision about which online learning platform is right for you. Whether you choose to pursue a verified certification or earn a complete master’s degree with edX – or with another one of the many MOOCs we have reviewed – pursuing additional education is a great way to advance your career, make yourself more marketable, and explore new ideas.

 

FAQ

 

Are edX Certificates Worth It?

edX certificates are absolutely worth it. Although most courses on edX can be taken for free, earning a certificate is a good way to show employers and educational institutions that you’re serious about your career or your education. Adding an edX certificate to your resume is a good way to attract potential employers, something that you’ll see mentioned in more than one edX review.

The edX certificate value simply can’t be overlooked. Even though it might not necessarily get you admitted into a college program, it’s a helpful tool when it comes to making yourself more marketable for universities and employers.

 

Is edX Legit?

Founded by scientists from Harvard and MIT, edX has connections with universities from around the world. Although you’re sure to find some negative edX course reviews, this isn’t something exclusive to edX. All online learning options have their own associated pros and cons. Nevertheless, edX is a legit, well-established platform that was established by two leading educational organizations – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

 

Is edX Good for Learning?

edX is one of the most widely and universally recommended online learning platforms. Not only can you learn new skills to benefit you personally and professionally but you can also take university-level classes taught by some of the world’s best instructors. You’ll also benefit from a variety of features and an easy-to-navigate platform.

 

Are edX Courses Certified?

Unfortunately, most courses on edX do not offer academic credit. There are some credit-eligible classes you can take after which you can purchase the credits and apply them toward a university degree.

In order to do this, you will need to select the “verified” track when you enroll and complete all course requirements within a year. That said, all master’s degrees through edX are credit-eligible and fully accredited.

 

Are edX Qualifications Recognised?

edX qualifications are recognized by a vast majority of employers and educational institutions. Although verified certificates are an option for most MOOCs, you don’t have to take them on – you can take free courses just for fun. However, if you choose to pay for these qualifications, you’ll benefit from additional recognition when it comes time to search for a job.

 

Can I Put edX Courses on My Resume?

Whether you took an edX MicroMasters or just a single course, it’s a good idea to put it on your resume. This will help show employers that you’re serious about your career – and that you work hard to train yourself in all of its nuances and new developments.

 

Why is edX So Expensive?

edX certificates can be quite costly. While the quality is definitely there, it’s hard to ignore the fact that you’re going to pay a pretty penny in order to complete a course here. However, let’s not forget who’s offering those courses.

Most classes on edX are taught by instructors at top-tier universities, like Harvard and Oxford, so you’ll be learning from some of the leading minds in the country.

 

Can I Get edX Financial Aid?

edX offers 90% discounts for people who cannot afford to pay the full price for verified certificates. You can apply up to five times in a year for financial aid

 

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Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce is a writer with a B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. She has worked both as a college admissions counselor as well as a high school English teacher and has also written extensively on topics related to educational technology and the college selection process.

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