Updated · Oct 11, 2022
Best for: Professional certification, MicroMasters, and online Master’s degrees.
What Is edX?
edX is an open-source online learning platform that’s been growing rapidly. And that’s no surprise since Global online education is forecast to hit $325 billion by 2025, almost doubling the number ($165.36 billion) in 2014.
The online courses platform launched in May 2012 as a partnership between Harvard and MIT. Today, over 34 million people have used the tool for assessing learning materials from top-ranked universities worldwide.
edX prides itself as a global non-profit, giving its users access to many free classes. While most courses are free to audit, you have to pay to gain a certificate upon completion. The educational tool has various programs with over 3,000 courses in total.
Furthermore, there is no geographical barrier when following edX courses. You can learn on your terms and plan it alongside your regular schedule. Whether you’re a job seeker or looking to expand your skills in your industry, edX will support you at every stage.
To show you all the platform has got to offer, we decided to write this edX review. We look at the pros and cons to give you an unbiased report. We’ll also tell you how it compares with top competitors like Coursera and Udemy.
Let’s get to it!
What Programs Does EdX Offer?
The online learning platform offers various types of courses. We’ll look at each of them, highlighting their key benefits.
MicroBachelors Programs for Undergraduate Education
The MicroBachelors program is ideal for adult learners looking to take their careers to the next level. Top universities have created the courses with influence from Fortune 1000 companies like Boeing, Walmart, and Lumina Foundation.
They offer real college credit, can be followed online, and are affordable (at around $166 per credit). While the grades come from edX’s university partners, there is no application progress to join any of the programs. On top of that, you get a personal coach who will help you stay on track.
MicroMasters Program for Graduate Education
The edX Master’s degree program provides you with a series of graduate-level courses from top universities. They focus on specific fields, which is perfect if you’re looking to upskill and work towards a Master’s degree.
The diploma will accelerate your post-graduate education, making it less expensive to pursue a full Master’s Degree in the future. Most courses on this program take 10-15 hours per week and last between 6-12 months.
Professional Certificate Programs
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 43 million Americans held professional certification in 2018. You can join them with edX. The Professional Certificates programs give you the means to upskill and gain critical skills to stand out in our industry.
With a wide variety of courses available, you can easily find the right program for your needs. Many edX reviews show praise for the flexibility of these classes. You can fit it around your schedule and access it on the go using the edX app. You only have to spend a few hours per week on them over a few months.
There are 24 institutions in the program, including Harvard University, RIT, the New York Institute of Finance, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Technical University of Columbia.
edX also offers special XSeries programs. The series of multiple courses are designed for more in-depth learning. Because the subjects cover in-demand areas for a wide variety of industries, you’ll be sure to find something that matches your needs.
The classes are created by world-renowned experts and top universities, including Havard, MIT, Columbia, Berkeley, and Australian National University.
The courses edX offers under the XSeries program also come with a certificate upon completion. Do keep in mind that you have to opt for the Verified Certificate option when signing up.
Online Master’s Degree Program
The Master’s Degree Program offers affordable and flexible courses to gain a full Master’s Degree online from a top-ranking university. These postgraduate courses come with live video sessions, peer communication, and project work.
edX Masters Degree courses cover a variety of areas, including cybersecurity, IT management, accounting, business administration, data science, and nutritional sciences. The platform plans to expand and add Master’s courses in the future, covering finance, psychology, nursing, and more.
Online Executive Education Courses Program
edX designed a handful of professional programs for high-performing leaders covering recent trends to stay up-to-date with today’s market. The edX education platform helps you develop critical skills within two to six weeks.
What Courses Does edX Offer?
There are over 3,000 good online courses available on edX. While the e-learning platform favored higher education and the sciences, it has expanded its catalog to include tech and humanities.
Currently, edX online focuses on 31 core subjects. Some of the top courses include business and management, computer science, data analysis, economics, and finances.
Most classes are created in partnerships with high-standing organizations and educational institutions, including Harvard University, Amazon Web Services, Amnesty International, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
edX classes come in three difficulty levels: Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced. While most of them are in English, there are courses in 24 other languages, including Arabic, Japanese, Dutch, and German. Note that you can’t switch the language in an edX course.
Now, let’s take a look at our top choices.
Best edX Courses
The platform’s best courses cover data science, business, computer science, engineering, and design. We’d like to share our top picks.
- HarvardX Data Science ($991): Learn the fundamental R programming skills with real-world case studies. The course covers the implementation of machine learning algorithms. By studying two-three hours per week, you can gain an edX professional certificate within one year and five months.
- HarvardX CS50's Introduction to Computer Science (free or $199 for a certificate): Dive into the world in computer science with a course from one of the best Ivy League schools. This 12-week course covers various topics such as data structures, algorithms, software engineering, and web development.
- University of Adelaide’s Introduction to Project Management (free or $199 for a certificate): Learn the principles of project management in this six-week course. With a strong focus on the core knowledge and communication skills to successfully lead a project, this course will help you in your work and day-to-day life.
- Purdue University’s Decision Making in Engineering Design (free or $2,250 for a certificate): This edX online course is part of the MicroMaster’s degree programs where you learn about the foundations of decision making in engineering design, systems, and processes. The program takes 17 weeks if you spend eight or nine hours on it every week.
- RIT’s Design Thinking Fundamentals (free or $299 for a certificate): This course teaches you the fundamentals of design thinking, including finding solutions to configuration, functionality, and user experience issues. When spending 8-12 hours per week on it, you can get certified within six short weeks.
What Are edX Courses Like?
edX offers legit online college courses in a wide variety of subjects. As they have a start and end date, you need to make sure you sign up before the enrollment deadline. One downside is that lessons are often not repeated.
Most finished courses are archived, and you can only review notes and pre-recorded materials. Keep in mind that archived classes are only available to learners who pay for the Verified Track Certificate.
edX falls under the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) family. While many MOOCs try to build a community on their platforms, it’s different for this tool. Students learn mainly through videos, and there isn’t much interaction. We found similar issues with the lecturers. There are few options to foster engagement, and the ones that exist are difficult to navigate.
To start learning on the edX platform, you have to create a free account or link your Gmail, Microsoft, or Facebook account to register. There is no need to fill out an application; you instantly gain access to the courses.
The edX learning solution does not discriminate against nations, so you don’t need a VPN to access it. But despite this open policy, some courses can’t be accessed in certain countries. English is the primary language of all study materials, but there are courses available in other languages.
A benefit of taking edX online courses is that they are available 24/7. On top of that, you can take an orientation class with the edX Demo Course. The only downside is that you have to enroll and wait for the class to commence.
Free edX Courses
edX praises itself for offering hundreds of free courses to its students, making learning accessible to anybody. When enrolling, you can choose between Verified Track and Audit this Course. The second option lets you join for free.
Keep in mind that the free option doesn’t include unlimited access to all study materials and an edX certificate. You can, however, upgrade to the Verified Track before the end of the course.
We’ve hand-picked the best free edX courses for this edX review:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): This class is one of the edX free courses offered by Columbia University. It is part of the advanced-level MicroMasters program designed to help students solve real-world problems. The curriculum covers search, games, machine learning, logic, and constraint satisfaction.
- Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT): IoT is offered at an introductory level by Curtin University. Within only six weeks, you will learn how to develop IoT ideas, examine cybersecurity and privacy issues.
- Analyzing and Visualizing Data With Excel: This is one of Microsoft’s edX professional certificate programs, which will improve your analytical skills and teach you about data model creation.
- Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies: Harvard University uses an interdisciplinary approach to highlight emerging economies’ dynamic nature. At the end of the class, you’ll identify opportunities in fast-growing and emerging markets.
- Nutrition and Health - Food Risks: The edX course from the WageningenX program comes in 8-modules. You will learn about bacteria, pesticides, and other health hazards associated with nutrition. After eight weeks, you’ll be able to differentiate food myths and actual risks, as well as gain knowledge about food-chain responsibility, probability, and relevance.
Who Are edX Instructors?
edX partners with top educational institutions and their professors, making it a force to be reckoned with.
High on the list is Harvard University, and it doubles as one of the founders of this e-learning platform. Asides from being one of the oldest schools in the United States, it ranks as one of the top five universities globally.
Over a hundred Harvard edX courses are available, covering subjects including science, humanities, literature, and religion. The school is a vital player in the XSeries program, and you receive a Harvard online course certificate upon completion.
Another honorable mention is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the second founder of the solution. Established in 1861, two centuries after Harvard, MIT is a co-educational, privately platform research university.
The classes are similar to those taught in MIT’s physical schools. The courses cover 33 academic disciplines, including computer science, entrepreneurship, biotechnology, and molecular biology.
Three notable instructors are from the University of Queensland. In 2018, Professors Blake McKimmie, Barbara Masser, and Mark Horswill won the edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions to Online Teaching and Learning. They taught the course Psychology of Criminal Justice.
In 2019, the prize was awarded to Professors Petra Bonfert-Taylor and Remi Sharrock from Dartmouth College and Institut Mines-Telecom (IMT). They teach C Programming with Linux Professional Certificate.
In 2020, TU Delft Professors Andy van den Dobblesteen, Eric van den Ham, and Researcher Tess Blom took the prize home. The trio is in charge of Zero-Energy Design: an approach to make your building sustainable. The class began in 2019 and has seen over 18,000 enrollments.
Other professors who have won the edX Prize are Andrew Howells and Bernadette Drabsch from the University of Newcastle in Australia. They teach the course Drawing Nature, Science, and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101.
Is the edX Certificate Valuable?
Even though there is no such thing as an edX free certificate, most aren’t expensive. Especially since the platform and its partnering institutes are recognized worldwide, the edX certificate value is high.
Students can use a diploma from the online learning platform to boost their resumes. Sites like LinkedIn accept certificates from the learning solution to show potential employers everything you’ve achieved.
One advantage that edX has over MOOC platforms is that it’s the brainchild of Harvard and MIT. Since the two are regarded highly in the academic world, anything from them is seen as gold.
edX degree programs also earn you academic credits, which means you can use the grades to get into a graduate program. Many edX reviews agree that since edX follows the Honor Code, gaining a diploma from the platform shows you are reliable and trustworthy.
edX vs. Udemy
edX and Udemy are two big names in the e-learning industry. While they share some similarities, they also differ in several ways.
Udemy has a vast collection of materials, mainly “How to do it” videos. But edX is popular due to its affiliations with Harvard, MIT, and other top institutions globally. While Udemy offers courses from independent tutors, edX training is created by university faculties.
edX is a non-profit MOOC. It means that it doesn’t change for most of its courses. However, students who desire a certificate and want access to all study materials will have to pay a fee to join the Verified Track. edX Master’s degree, XSeries, MicroMasters programs, and Professional certifications come at a fixed price.
On Udemy, there are some free options, but most come with a price tag. But unlike edX, Udemy doesn’t offer a credit system, and you cannot use Udemy courses to gain admission into a graduate school.
edX vs. Coursera
edX and Coursera are two prestigious online education tools. While they are very similar, one of the biggest differences is in the pricing.
edX study materials are primarily free, including some HarvardX courses. The software’s primary goal is to make education open and accessible to all. Students will only pay to join the Verified Track to gain a certificate at the end of the course and the Master’s Degree program. The latter costs between $10,000 to $25,000.
Coursera charges for individual courses, with most priced between $29 and $99. However, its online degree program cost as much as $25,000. With nearly 4,000 available lessons, the e-learning solution surpasses edX.
Understanding the two online learning tools isn’t difficult, and they are easy to navigate. Coursera beats edX on the language front as it offers more courses in different languages.
Coursera also has a wide array of diction, but it provides an interactive transcript for its video lessons. This feature is available on mobile devices too.
Furthermore, both edX and Coursera offer verified certifications. The only difference is that edX certificates have accreditation from the partnered institutions. In contrast, Coursera’s online diploma bears the connected school’s logo.
We conclude that both have strengths and weaknesses but offer excellent training.
edX doesn’t have a set placing plan. The edX cost depends on the nature of the class you’re taking. Most courses are free, except the professional education ones or if you want a certificate.
Unless stated otherwise, the Verified Track fees range between $50 and $300. edX has a financial assistance program for students who need financial help. If you fall within this category, you’ll receive a 90% discount on all Verified Certificates lessons. You can get approved up to five times for financial assistance within 12 months, but not all courses offer this discount.
When paying for a course, the edX platform has a 14-day refund policy. However, you can’t get your money back after earning a certificate.
edX Review – Verdict
edX is like a gift that keeps on giving; the more you explore, the bigger the surprises. At zero cost, you’ll easily access the best edX courses. There is an extensive lesson catalog with classes in multiple languages.
If you want to receive an accredited certificate, you can opt for the paid Verified Track classes. One thing we applaud is its 14-day return policy.
But despite the large number of classes edX has, it covers limited topics. Due to the types of institutions edX partners with, the subjects mainly include sciences, tech, and humanities. We also think the online learning platform should create options for better interaction for students and instructors.
After testing the e-learning tool, we conclude that it is worth betting on regardless of the little kinks. So, do you’re looking for an online education platform you can trust? Check out edX!
Are edX courses free?
You can audit many of the platform’s courses for free. As a MOOC solution, edX does not charge for its classes unless you want access to all learning materials, gain a certificate, or join professional degrees. To learn more about what the platform offers, check out our full edX review.
Are edX certificates worth it?
Yes, the diplomas from the e-learning tool are highly valued. edX degree programs count as academic credits, and all certificated can be used on your resume to show potential employers all your achievements. A lot of value is added to the platform as Harvard and MIT created it.
Can you put edX courses on your resume?
Yes. Adding the classes taken and certificates you gained from edX is an excellent way to boost your resume. It also works as a great addition to your LinkedIn profile.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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