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Web address www.edx.org
Commercial? No
Type of site
Online education
Registration Required
Available in English, Mandarin, French, Hindi, Spanish (Latin America)
Users more than 3 million (October 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 4,336 (Sept 2014)[3]
Current status Active

EdX is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider and online learning platform. It hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience, some at no charge. It also conducts research into learning based on how people use its platform. EdX differs from other MOOC platforms, such as Coursera and Udacity, in that it is nonprofit and runs on an open-source software platform.[4][5]

EdX was founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in May 2012. EdX was created for students and institutions that seek to transform themselves through cutting-edge technologies, innovative pedagogy, and rigorous courses. There are currently more than 60 schools, nonprofits, corporations, and international organizations that offer or plan to offer courses on the edX website.[6] As of 22 October 2014, edX has more than 3 million users taking over 300 courses online.[7]


EdX courses consist of weekly learning sequences. Each learning sequence is composed of short videos interspersed with interactive learning exercises, where students can immediately practice the concepts from the videos. The courses often include tutorial videos that are similar to small 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.[8]

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.[9] 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). EdX also offers XSeries Certificates for completion of a bundled set of 3-4 verified courses in a single subject (cost varies depending on the courses).[10]


In addition to educational offerings, edX 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.[9][11][12][13] A team of researchers at Harvard and MIT, led by David Pritchard and Lori Breslow, recently released their initial findings.[14] EdX member schools and organizations also conduct their own research using data collected from their courses.[15] Research focuses on improving retention, course completion and learning outcomes in traditional campus courses and online.[16]

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."[15] 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.[17] In Spring 2013, Bunker Hill Community College and Massachusetts Bay Community College implemented a SPOC, or small private online course. The colleges incorporated an MIT-developed Python programming course on EdX into their campus-based courses, and reported positive results.[18][19]

Open edX[edit]

EdX has been developed as open-source software and made available to other institutions of higher learning that want to make similar offerings. On June 1, 2013, edX open sourced its entire platform,[20] creating a collaborative environment — Open edX — where contributors worldwide can work to develop enhancements and new features.

Major contributors to the development of Open edX include:

and others, both within and outside the consortium.

Open edX adopters include:

The source code can be found on GitHub.[9][21] 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.[22] 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.[23]


In March 2014 edX appointed Wendy Cebula, former COO of Vistaprint, as its President and Chief Operating Officer. CEO Anant Agarwal of MIT stated that Cebula would bring "an entrepreneurial aspect" and help the nonprofit 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, handles Harvard contributions. The design of a viable business model for sustainability of the enterprise is in progress.[12]


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

May 2012: edX founded by Harvard and MIT. Jerry Sussman, Anant Agarwal, Chris Terman, and Piotr Mitros teach the first edX course on circuits and electronics from MIT, drawing 155,000 students from 162 countries.

April 2013: edX partners with Stanford

June 2013: edX reaches 1 million students.[26] edx.org released as open source, creating Open edX.

September 2013: edX partners with Google, launches XSeries

October 2013: edX partners with Xuetang & France Université Numérique

March 2014: Wendy Cebula joins as President & COO

May 2014: Queen Rania Foundation Launches Edraak, a MOOC Portal for the Arab World

September 2014: edX announces High School initiative[27]

October 2014: edX announces Professional Education courses[28]

March 2015: edX announces partnership with Microsoft.

Participating institutions[edit]

In late 2013, several countries and private entities announced their adoption of the edX open source platform to launch new initiatives. Ten Chinese universities joined together to form an online education initiative in China, called XuetangX.[29] 120 higher education institutions in France joined under the direction of the French Ministry of Education to offer online courses throughout France,[30] the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) created Edraak as the first MOOC portal for the Arab world,[31] the International Monetary Fund is using the edX platform to pilot online training courses in economics and finance,[32] and Tenaris corporation is using the platform to expand its corporate training and education for its employees.[33]

As of March 2015, edX has more than 60 members:[34]

Charter members[edit]

Charter members[edit]


There are more than 450 courses currently offered.[7] Examples include:

  • SPU27x: Science and Cooking: From Cuisine to Soft Matter
  • ANTH207x: Introduction to Human Evolution
  • 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
  • 14.73x: The Challenges of Global Poverty
  • GSE1x: Unlocking the Immunity to Change: A New Approach to Personal Improvement

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Free online AP courses debut on edX Web site". 
  2. ^ "edX Terms of Service". 
  3. ^ "edx.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-09-12. 
  4. ^ "About Us". edX. 
  5. ^ "MOOCs by the numbers: How do EdX, Coursera and Udacity stack up?". Education Dive. 15 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Schools and Partners". edX. 
  7. ^ a b "Courses - edX". edX. 
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b c "edX FAQs". edX. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Verified Certificate". edX. 
  11. ^ Laura Pappano (Nov. 2, 2012), "The Year of the MOOC," The New York Times.
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  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. ^ a b "edX". edX. 
  16. ^ Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Harvard College Fun (Sept/Oct 2013), "On the Leading Edge of Teaching."
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ "MOOCs in the Community College: Implications for Innovation in the Classroom - Online Learning Consortium, Inc". onlinelearningconsortium.org. 
  19. ^ "SPOCs: Small private online classes may be better than MOOCs.". Slate Magazine. 
  20. ^ "Stanford to collaborate with edX to develop a free, open source online learning platform". Stanford University. 
  21. ^ "edX". GitHub. 
  22. ^ "Stanford University to Collaborate with edX on Development of Non-Profit Open Source edX Platform". edX. 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  23. ^ "Announces Partnership with Google to Expand Open Source Platform". edX. 2013-09-10. 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. ^ Conway, Madeline R. (June 20, 2013). "EdX Enrollment Reaches Seven Digits". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  27. ^ Rocheleau, Matt (September 10, 2014). "Online education company edX offering free high school courses". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  28. ^ Korn, Melissa (October 1, 2014). "Corporate Training Gets an Online Refresh". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Open Source Platform Chosen to Power China’s New Online Education Portal". edX. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  30. ^ "to Work with French Ministry of Higher Education to Create National Online Learning Portal". edX. 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  31. ^ "Queen Rania Foundation Partners with edX to Create First MOOC Portal for the Arab World". edX. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  32. ^ "IMF and edX Join Forces to Pilot Online Economics and Financial Courses". edX. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  33. ^ 4-traders (2013-11-12). "Tenaris S.A. : Tenaris to Adopt edX Platform for Corporate Training". 4-Traders. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  34. ^ "Schools & Partners". edX. 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 

External links[edit]