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EdX Logo.PNG
Web address www.edx.org
Commercial? No
Type of site Online education
Registration Required
Available language(s) English, Mandarin, French, Hindi, Spanish
Users more than 2.1 million (April 2014) [1]
Content license Copyright of edX [2]
Owner MIT & Harvard University
Created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University
Launched May 2012
Alexa rank Increase 5,565 (April 2014)[3]
Current status Active

EdX is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in May 2012 to host online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience at no charge and to conduct research into learning. EdX has more than 2 million users. The two institutions have each contributed $30 million of resources to the nonprofit project. The prototype course, Circuits and Electronics, began in December 2011, through MITx, the massive open online program at MIT.[4] There are currently 47 schools, nonprofits, corporations, and international organizations that offer or plan to offer courses on the edX website.[5]

Functionality and organization[edit]

In addition to educational offerings the project is utilized for research into learning and distance education by collecting learners' clicks and analyzing the data, as well as collecting demographics from each registrant.[6][7][8][9] A team of researchers at Harvard and MIT, led by David Pritchard and Lori Breslow, recently released their initial findings.[10] EdX member schools and organizations also conduct their own research using data collected from their courses.[11] Research focuses on improving retention, course completion and learning outcomes in traditional campus courses and online.[12]

EdX has engaged in a number of partnerships with educational institutions in the United States, China, Mongolia, India, and more to utilize edX courses in "blended classrooms."[11] In blended learning models, traditional classes include an online interactive component. San Jose State University (SJSU) partnered with edX to offer 6.00xL Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, as a blended course at SJSU and released an initial report on the project in February 2013. Initial results showed a decrease in failure rates from previous semesters. The percentage of students required to retake the course dropped from 41% under the traditional format to 9% for those taking the edX blended course.[13] A recent offshoot of MOOCs is SPOCs (small private online course).

The edX platform uses online learning software that uses interactive experiences. Each week, a new learning sequence is released in an edX course. The learning sequence is composed of short (an average of 10 minutes each) videos interspersed with active learning exercises where students can immediately practice the concepts from the videos. Through the learning sequence design, the professor delivers the course material. They can include illustrations, often on a tablet or slide. There is a sidebar showing the text; the student can follow the text, and scroll up or down it. The courses also often include tutorial videos that are similar to small-group on-campus discussion groups, an online textbook, and an online discussion forum where students can post and review questions and comments to each other and teaching assistants. Where applicable, online laboratories are incorporated into the course. For example, in edX's first MOOC—a circuits and electronics course—students built virtual circuits in an online lab.[14]

EdX offers certificates of successful completion, but does not offer course credit. Whether or not a college or university offers credit for an online course is within the sole discretion of the school.[6] EdX offers a variety of ways to take courses, including verified courses where students have the option to audit the course (no cost) or to work toward an edX verified certificate (fees vary by course), honor code courses where students can either audit (no cost) or work toward an honor code certificate (no cost). In addition, in the fall of 2013, edX launched a pilot project to offer a special certificate in a subject area (called "XSeries Certificate") after completing a bundled set of 3-4 verified courses in that subject (cost varies depending on the courses).[15]

The "learning platform" has been developed as open-source software and made available to other institutions of higher learning that want to make similar offerings. EdX was open sourced on June 1, 2013. The source code can be found on GitHub.[6][16] Major contributors to the open source platform (called Open edX) development include Stanford University and Google. Stanford will integrate features of its existing Class2Go platform into the edX platform, use the integration as an internal platform for online coursework for on-campus and distance learners, and work collaboratively with edX and other institutions to further develop the edX platform.[17] Google and edX will collaborate to build out and operate MOOC.org, a site for non-edX universities, institutions, businesses, governments and teachers to build and host their courses for a global audience. This site will be powered by the jointly developed Open edX platform.[18]

In late 2013, several countries and private entities announced their adoption of the edX open source platform. Ten Chinese universities joined together to form an online education initiative in China, called XuetangX.[19] 120 higher education institutions in France joined under the direction of the French Ministry of Education to offer online courses throughout France,[20] the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) created Edraak as the first MOOC portal of for the Arab world,[21] the International Monetary Fund is using the edX platform to pilot online training courses in economics and finance,[22] and Tenaris corporation is using the platform to expand its corporate training and education for its employees.[23]

In late March or 2014, EdX announced that it had appointed Wendy Cebula, former COO of Vista Print, as its new president and chief operating officer. Former president and current CEO Anant Agarwal of MIT stated that Cebula would bring "an entrepreneurial aspect" and help the non-profit to access "commercial opportunities."[24] Alan M. Garber, Provost of Harvard University, assisted by Michael D. Smith, a computer scientist who is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, handle Harvard contributions. The design of a viable business model for sustainability of the enterprise is in progress.[8]


External audio
Interview with edX President Anant Agarwal [17:47] on the first anniversary of edX, Degree of Freedom[25]

The low-cost online education industry was pioneered by several major players, including ALISON (company) founded in 2007 by Mike Feerick and cited as the first MOOC,[26] the for-profit university Udacity (at the time, Know Labs), founded by David Stavens and Sebastian Thrun, which launched a course mirroring the Stanford AI course in the fall of 2011. Coursera, a VC-backed commercial venture, was launched shortly after Udacity, initially with two Stanford courses, and now offers courses from many universities. In addition, edX follows a number of non-certificate-granting programs, including Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseWare, and Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative.

Earlier projects offering university level courses online, "Fathom" developed by Columbia University, failed in 2003 and AllLearn in 2006.[9] The AllLearn project was a consortium of Stanford, Yale and Oxford Universities. This was an ambitious online learning project which provided 110 high-quality enrichment courses from Oxford, Stanford, and Yale Universities for modest fees to over 10,000 participants from seventy countries.[27][28]


Initial research findings based on data collected from edX have been published as follows:

Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom: Research into edX’s First MOOCRPA Journal, June 14, 2013 By Lori Breslow, David E. Pritchard, Jennifer DeBoer, Glenda S. Stump,Andrew D. Ho and Daniel T. Seaton

Teaching Electronic Circuits Online: Lessons from MITx’s6.002x on edX, IEEE,May 19, 2013, by Piotr F. Mitros, Khurram K. Afridi, Gerald J. Sussman,Chris J. Terman, Jacob K. White, Lyla Fischer and Anant Agarwal .

Participating institutions[edit]

As of March 2014, there are 34 charter members, and 13 members:[5]

Charter members[edit]



There are more than 170 courses currently offered.[29] Examples of some of the courses include:

  • SPU27x: Science and Cooking: From Cuisine to Soft Matter
  • ANTH207x: Introduction to Human Evolution
  • ET3034TUx: Solar Energy
  • UT.2.01x: Ideas of the Twentieth Century
  • CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science
  • PH207x: Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research
  • CB22x: The Ancient Greek Hero
  • ER22x: Justice
  • PH278x: Human Health & Global Environmental Change
  • CS184.1x: Foundations of Computer Graphics
  • 6.002x: Circuits & Electronics
  • CS188.1x: Artificial Intelligence
  • 14.73x: The Challenges of Global Poverty
  • 6.00x: Introduction to Computer Science & Programming
  • 3.091x: Introduction to Solid State Chemistry
  • Stat2.1x: Decsriptive Statistics
  • HLS1x: Copyright
  • 8.02x: Electricity & Magnetism
  • 2.01x: Elements of Structures
  • 7.00x: Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life
  • UT.3.01x: Age of Globalization
  • UT.1.01x: Energy
  • 101UT.4.01x: Take Your Medicine – The Impact of Drug Development
  • Stat2.2x: Introduction to Statistics: Probability
  • 8.MreVx: Mechanics ReView
  • CTB3365x: Introduction to Water Treatment
  • INFX523-01: Globalization’s Winners & Losers: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries
  • PHLX101-01: Introduction to Bioethics
  • Stat2.3x: Introduction to Statistics: Inference
  • SOC108x: Introduction to Global Sociology
  • MEDX202-01: Genomic Medicine Gets Personal
  • HIST229x: Was Alexander Great? The Life, Leadership & Legacies of History’s Greatest Warrior
  • 8.01x: Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS102.x: Electricity & Magnetism
  • 16.110x: Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics
  • ENG112x: Shakespeare: On the Page and in Performance
  • 3.086x: Innovation & Commercialization
  • 4.605x: A Global History of Architecture: Part I
  • 24.00x: Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge & Consciousness
  • 16.101x: Introduction to Aerodynamics
  • PH201x: Health & Society
  • AI12.2x: Poetry in America: Whitman
  • SW12x: China
  • MCB80.1x: Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1
  • HDS1544.1x: The Letters of the Apostle Paul
  • AI12.1x: Poetry in America: The Poetry of Early New England
  • GSE1x: Unlocking the Immunity to Change: A New Approach to Personal Improvement
  • HSPH-HMS214x: Fundamentals of Clinical Trials
  • CS-169.1x: Software as a Service
  • CS-184.1x: Foundations of Computer Graphics
  • CS-169.2x: Software as a Service
  • BE101x: Behavioural Economnics in Action
  • BIO465x: Neuronal Dynamics – Computational Neuroscience of Single Neurons
  • ELEC301x: Discrete Time Signals & Systems
  • CS-191x: Quantum Mechanics & Quantum Computation
  • edXDEMO10: edX Demo
  • OEE101x: Our Energetic Planet
  • 20220332x: Principles of Electric Circuits: Part
  • 180000901_1x: History of Chinese Architecture: Part 1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Harvard EdCast: edX Marks the Spot". 
  2. ^ "edX Terms of Service". 
  3. ^ "edx.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  4. ^ MIT press release, Dec. 19 2011
  5. ^ a b "Schools & Partners". edX. 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "edX FAQs". edX. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ Laura Pappano (Nov. 2, 2012), "The Year of the MOOC," The New York Times.
  8. ^ a b Nick DeSantis (May 2, 2012). "Harvard and MIT Put $60-Million Into New Platform for Free Online Courses". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Tamar Lewin (May 2, 2012). "Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom: Research Into edX's First MOOC, RPA Journal, June 14, 2013, By Lori Breslow, David E. Pritchard, Jennifer DeBoer, Glenda S. Stump, Andrew D. Ho, and Daniel T. Seaton.
  11. ^ a b http://www.edx.org
  12. ^ Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Harvard College Fun (Sept/Oct 2013), "On the Leading Edge of Teaching."
  13. ^ Ellen Junn and Cathy Cheal of San Jose State University report on the universities' efforts to incorporate MIT's Electronics and Circuits course 6.002x Little Hoover Commission Public Hearing Testimony
  14. ^ Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom: Research Into edX's First MOOC, RPA Journal, June 14, 2013, By Lori Breslow, David E. Pritchard, Jennifer DeBoer, Glenda S. Stump, Andrew D. Ho, and Daniel T. Seaton.
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ source code repository on GitHub
  17. ^ "Stanford University to Collaborate with edX on Development of Non-Profit Open Source edX Platform". edX. 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  18. ^ "Announces Partnership with Google to Expand Open Source Platform". edX. 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  19. ^ "Open Source Platform Chosen to Power China’s New Online Education Portal". edX. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  20. ^ "to Work with French Ministry of Higher Education to Create National Online Learning Portal". edX. 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  21. ^ "Queen Rania Foundation Partners with edX to Create First MOOC Portal for the Arab World". edX. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  22. ^ "IMF and edX Join Forces to Pilot Online Economics and Financial Courses". edX. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  23. ^ 4-traders (2013-11-12). "Tenaris S.A. : Tenaris to Adopt edX Platform for Corporate Training". 4-Traders. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  24. ^ "With Eye Toward Financial Self-Sufficiency, edX Hires Businesswoman Cebula as President and COO". Harvard Crimson. 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  25. ^ "Interview with edX President Anant Agarwal". Degree of Freedom (MOOC blog). May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  26. ^ Booker, Ellis. "Early MOOC Takes A Different Path". Information Week — Education. UBM Tech. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  27. ^ "Failure of a Prestigious Venture". Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  28. ^ Townshend, Emma (2009). Darwin's Dogs: How Darwin's Pets Helped Form a World-Changing Theory of Evolution. Francis Lincoln Ltd., London. 
  29. ^ https://www.edx.org/course-list

External links[edit]