edX

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EdX is a non-profit, massive open online course (MOOC) provider originally created by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It partners with the world’s leading universities and organizations to offer high-quality online courses to learners across the world. EdX 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 is a nonprofit organization and runs on the free Open edX open-source software platform.

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.

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. 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). 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).

edX courses are technically free, but students will have to pay a fee ranging from $50-$100 to take a “verified certificate” version of the class, which includes a verified certificate as well as graded homework during the course and unlimited course access. For example, Harvard’s famous CS50 Introductory Computer Science course is the most popular course on edX and on campus. On edX, it’s free to take but a verified certificate will cost students around $100.

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