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Type of site
Online education
Available in English, Mandarin, French, Hindi, Spanish
Created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University
Website www.edx.org
Alexa rank Increase 1,295 (October 2016)[1]
Commercial No
Registration Required
Users more than 10 million (February 2017) [2]
Launched May 2012
Current status Active
Content license
Copyright of edX [3]

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

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University created edX in May 2012. More than 70 schools, nonprofit organizations, and corporations offer or plan to offer courses on the edX website.[6] As of 24 March 2016, edX has more than 7 million students taking more than 700 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 — Ali Mohamed who was the best student built virtual circuits in an online lab.[8]

EdX offers certificates of successful completion and some courses are credit-eligible. 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). For courses announced before December 7, 2015, there was an option to take honor code courses to work toward an Honor Code Certificate (no cost).[10] EdX also offers XSeries Certificates for completion of a bundled set of two to seven verified courses in a single subject (cost varies depending on the courses).[11][12]


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][13][14][15] A team of researchers at Harvard and MIT, led by David Pritchard and Lori Breslow, released their initial findings in 2013.[16] EdX member schools and organizations also conduct their own research using data collected from their courses.[17] Research focuses on improving retention, course completion and learning outcomes in traditional campus courses and online.[18]

EdX has engaged in a number of partnerships with educational institutions in the United States, China, Mongolia, Japan, and more to utilize edX courses in "blended classrooms."[17] 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.[19] 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.[20][21]

Open edX[edit]

Open edX is the open-source platform software developed by EdX and made freely available to other institutions of higher learning that want to make similar offerings. On June 1, 2013, edX open sourced its entire platform.[22]

The source code can be found on GitHub.[23][24]


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."[25] 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.[14]


External audio
Interview with edX President Anant Agarwal [17:47] on the first anniversary of edX, Degree of Freedom[26]

EdX was founded in May 2012 by scientists from Harvard and MIT. Gerry Sussman, Anant Agarwal, Chris Terman, and Piotr Mitros taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics from MIT, drawing 155,000 students from 162 countries. In 2013 they partnered with Stanford and in June 2013 they reached 1 million students.[27] edx.org released as open source, creating Open edX.

In September 2014 edX announced a high school initiative.[28]

In October 2014 edX announced Professional Education courses,[29] and in March 2015 it partnered with Microsoft.[30]

In April 2015, edX partnered with Arizona State University to launch the Global Freshman Academy.[31]

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.[32] 120 higher education institutions in France joined under the direction of the French Ministry of Education to offer online courses throughout France,[33] the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) created Edraak as the first MOOC portal for the Arab world,[34] the International Monetary Fund is using the edX platform to pilot online training courses in economics and finance,[35] and Tenaris corporation is using the platform to expand its corporate training and education for its employees.[36]

As of March 2015, edX has more than 60 members.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "edx.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  2. ^ Template:Http://blog.edx.org/celebrating-10-million-edx-learners-worldwide
  3. ^ "edX Terms of Service". 
  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. ^ edX edX https://www.edx.org- edX Check |url= value (help).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  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 "edX FAQs". edX. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ http://blog.edx.org/news-about-edx-certificates?track=blog
  11. ^ "Verified Certificate". edX. 
  12. ^ "XSeries". edX. 
  13. ^ Laura Pappano (Nov. 2, 2012), "The Year of the MOOC," The New York Times.
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ a b "edX". edX. 
  18. ^ Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Harvard College Fun (Sept/Oct 2013), "On the Leading Edge of Teaching."
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ "MOOCs in the Community College: Implications for Innovation in the Classroom - Online Learning Consortium, Inc". onlinelearningconsortium.org. 
  21. ^ "SPOCs: Small private online classes may be better than MOOCs.". Slate Magazine. 
  22. ^ "Stanford to collaborate with edX to develop a free, open source online learning platform". Stanford University. 
  23. ^ "EdX-platform". GitHub. 
  24. ^ "edX". GitHub. 
  25. ^ "With Eye Toward Financial Self-Sufficiency, edX Hires Businesswoman Cebula as President and COO". Harvard Crimson. 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  26. ^ "Interview with edX President Anant Agarwal". Degree of Freedom (MOOC blog). May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  27. ^ Conway, Madeline R. (June 20, 2013). "EdX Enrollment Reaches Seven Digits". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  28. ^ Rocheleau, Matt (September 10, 2014). "Online education company edX offering free high school courses". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  29. ^ Korn, Melissa (October 1, 2014). "Corporate Training Gets an Online Refresh". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Microsoft and edX Partner to Deliver Real World Skill Learning (EdSurge News)". Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  31. ^ Anderson, Nick (April 22, 2015). "Arizona State University to Offer Freshman Year Online, For Credit". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Open Source Platform Chosen to Power China's New Online Education Portal". edX. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  33. ^ "to Work with French Ministry of Higher Education to Create National Online Learning Portal". edX. 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  34. ^ "Queen Rania Foundation Partners with edX to Create First MOOC Portal for the Arab World". edX. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  35. ^ "IMF and edX Join Forces to Pilot Online Economics and Financial Courses". edX. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  36. ^ 4-traders (2013-11-12). "Tenaris S.A. : Tenaris to Adopt edX Platform for Corporate Training". 4-Traders. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  37. ^ "Schools & Partners". edX. 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 

External links[edit]