Last Updated by
Is eDX worth it?
If you’re hoping to learn online, the history and reputability of course providers will always be high on your list of concerns – so below, we’ve sought to outline a little more about the history of edX and how the company has grown since its original formation.
The story of edX begins in 2012, when a group of MIT and Harvard students launched the first ever edX course. The topic of that initial course was circuits and electronics and the idea was immediately popular. From this strong start, the site continued to grow; over the next few years, partnerships with universities, NGOs, and for-profit companies began to accrue at an impressive rate. The library of courses continued to grow from there, and now covers a range of niche subjects that aren’t necessarily found at other online course providers – which is definitely a feather in the cap of edX as they look to stand out in this crowded word.
edX 2020: University-level courses from some of the world's most prestigious instituitions.
Languages Avaialble: English, Spanish, French, Italian & more
Classes start from: Free.
Today, edX features a huge array of different courses, including degree programmes that can be completed online. The company now claims to be ‘home’ to over 20 million learners – a truly staggering number – and its course options and number of partnerships continue to grow with each passing year.
edX’s goal is to provide “university-level” education to as many people as possible and, for the most part, it’s reasonable to say that the company have been successful in this mission. When researching edX reviews online, it quickly becomes apparent that those who choose to study with the company are impressed by the courses that are offered and how these are taught. With the vast majority of students more than happy with their experience while studying at edX, and edX continuing to bolster its reputation in academic circles, there’s no doubt that the future looks very bright indeed for this innovative online course provider
Founded in 2012 as a joint venture by scientists from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
edX offers thousands of courses from over 140 different institutions.
Many courses can be completed for free, but if wanting to receive a verified certification of course completion, prices vary between £40 and £225.
Courses are predominantly in English, but Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese and Russian courses are also available, as well as a few courses in languages such as German and Portuguese.
edX: How Expensive is edX?
When it comes to course costs, edX offers something for every budget, which makes it a flexible choice that should ensure there’s an option that works for most people.
The vast majority of edX courses do not require any investment. You can choose to ‘audit’ the course; participating, following along, and growing your knowledge base. However, at the conclusion of the course, you will not receive a certification of completion for the course; if that’s something you do want, then there will be a good opportunity to seek that out. However, the audit track is a nice idea that could be suitable for anyone looking to try a few different subjects before settling on one they wish to focus on in more depth.
If you are looking for a certification, the price varies depending on the course, and there’s a huge amount of difference. For example, within the business and finance niche, an introduction to fintech course Verified Certificate from the University of Hong Kong will cost over £100, while a ‘market segmentation analysis’ course from the University of Queensland is £76. For longer courses, such as a MicroMasters, expect to pay upwards of £600, while full Masters programs can run into the five figures. The same range of courses, and their costs, is seen across most subjects, from coding to health and nutrition.
Are these courses expensive? Perhaps, when judged solely on the figures alone, but the value for money offered with edX courses is fairly significant. edX offers courses that are provided by some of the most prestigious and recognisable names in the world, along with recognisable qualifications that will look good on any CV – when these factors are included in the consideration, we can’t say edX is particularly expensive for what it actually offers. What’s more, the inclusion of the ability to audit courses for free is hugely beneficial and very good to see.
What Courses Are Available At edX?
As an academic-led platform, it’s no surprise that edX offers an expansive – and rather eclectic! – range of course options. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about tropical coastal ecosystems, entrepreneurship in emerging economies, or the pyramids of Giza, then edX has a course for you. While the number of courses is not particularly high, the variety is extremely impressive; here’s a look at some of the most popular courses that are currently available on the platform.
The range of business-related courses of edX is undeniably impressive. Options such as Business Administration and Entrepreneurial Operations: Launching a Startup are available either for free or for a small fee for Verified Certificates, with course providers including Imperial College London and Columbia University. Alternatively, can opt for MicroMasters in subjects such as Project Management, Supply Chain Management, and Six Sigma and Lean.
Development / Coding
Given the scientific background of edX’s founders, it’s no surprise that the computer science options are wide-ranging. There are countless options available, but highlights include courses such as Python for Data Science, HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals, and an Introduction to Hyperledger Blockchain Technologies. Providers of these courses include The Linux Foundation, the University of Washington, Harvard University, and Dartmouth.
The economics and finance provision at edX offers a number of different course levels, including introductory, intermediate, and advanced. Course providers include the New York Institute of Finance (NYIF), MIT, and Imperial College London, and here’s a quick overview of just a few of the finance-related courses available: Derivatives, Futures, Swaps, and Options, Macroeconomic
Diagnostics, and Pricing Options with Mathematical Models.
Food & Nutrition
There are plenty of options at edX for anyone hoping to learn more about food and nutrition, with courses that cover all levels, from intermediate to advanced. Course providers include Harvard University – who offer courses such as the introductory-level ‘Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science’ – and Wageningen University & Research, who provide courses on topics ranging from the science of beer to the human microbiome.
Clearly understanding that marketing is an eternally popular online course subject, edX have ensured a strong provision of options in this regard. Institutions such as Berkeley, the University of Maryland, and NYIF are providing courses on edX that cover a range of marketing-related subjects, ranging from Marketing Analytics to Marketing Management. MicroMasters courses are also available from providers such as the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
While not a specifically-named section of potential course options on the edX website there are a variety of different course options that could fall under the banner of “personal development”. Options such as Self-Assessment – Developing Your Strengths, Ethics In Action, and Leaders in Global Development could all be useful in this regard. The providers of these courses includes Fullbridge, SDG Academy, and the KU Leuven University.
Content Quality at edX?
The course at edX are produced by a range of providers, with universities and educational establishments by far the most common. As one would expect, the courses provided by these high-end establishments are of extremely high quality.
Reputation of tutors at edX
The edX tutors tend to come highly recommended, as one would expect given that each course’s tutors are drawn from the staff of the university offering the course – so some tutors are staff members at Harvard, Imperial College London, and so on. While not what one would call celebrities, most of the tutors are recognisable names within their field, and thus any student can be confident that they will be learning be learning from genuine experts.
However, there is a small point to be made regarding the material of each course; material that it can reasonably be assumed will be compiled by the tutors. Some former students of edX have observed that some of the courses are not “beginner”-friendly, which can be a little off-putting for those looking to learn more about a brand new subject. While this criticism is far from common, it is worth mentioning, and perhaps in response, the tutors might consider amending courses a little so they are accessible to all.
Course length — too long, too short?
When it comes to course duration, those studying at edX have two options: “instructor-paced” and “self-paced”. If a course is instructor-paced, then it has to be completed in a set time period, commencing on a specific date and then running for a period of time until concluding on a second set date. The exact length of instructor-paced courses varies, but edX state that the average is between eight and 12 weeks – which most students seem to believe is “just right”.
Alternatively, there are self-paced courses, where the course materials are made available for a period of time (usually around a year) and the student dictates how quickly they work. There’s no specific data on how long self-paced courses are, but most courses will detail how many hours per week of work are required on the course’s main description page. This provision ensures that prospective students can make sure they have enough time available in their schedule for a specific course before they choose to enrol.
Reputation of edX: What Are The Students Saying?
When perusing edX reviews from former and current students, it’s very quick for a sense of deja vu to settle in. For the most part, the reviews all share the same compliments: students are impressed by the range of options, find the courses very easy to use, and generally speak highly of the overall experience. For anyone who is considering enrolling on an edX course, this continual praise is undoubtedly very encouraging. Particularly impressively, students from across a wide range of courses all seem to offer the same positive feedback, suggesting edX provide generally high standards across all of their courses – which, given the plethora of options on the site, is very impressive.
However, the deja vu is not solely confined to positive feedback; the same complaints about edX tend to appear time and again also. While there’s no doubt that the critiques are few and far between, especially when compared to the deluge of positive edX reviews that can be found online, there are a few points that tend to be raised. The most notable of these is that student support can be a little lacking at times, which is perhaps understandable given the sheer volume of students at edX, but is still a problem that anyone considering signing up for a course should be aware of before doing so.
Overall, the general theme of the reviews is positive, with students finding that the courses that they have enrolled on are both enjoyable and beneficial to their overall career prospects. While the student services issues do receive a fair amount of attention on the negative side, even the reviews that do mention this issue tend are generally positive despite this, noting it as a minor issue in an otherwise excellent experience. As a result, we can conclude that the opinion of former students from edX is very positive indeed.
edX Final Score:
The vast majority of edX courses can be ‘audited’ for free, but Verified Certificates and other qualifications will incur a fee – the exact amount of which varies.
edX do not provide specific information regarding the number of courses they have. However, going by their website at the time of writing, there are 1865 different courses available on edX.
Courses available in English and Spanish are by far the most numerous, but other languages include Italian, French, Chinese (Mandarin), and Russian. There are also a small number of courses – less than five – available in Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Japanese, Dutch, German, Hungarian, and Tibetan.
Enjoyed this review and want to give a review of your own? Check out our Learn to Earn page to find out more on how you can contribute.