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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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How Does edX Work

How Does edX Work? edX Learning Explained

edX is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider that was founded by MIT and Harvard in 2012. If you’re wanting to take college level courses, but just don’t have the time or resources to do so, edX is a great alternative, but how does EdX works?

There’s an abundance of online learning platforms out there currently, so choosing the best one for you can be tricky. There are a number of things to consider when deciding on a platform to use, such as is it accredited?

What’s the cost? What does the platform offer? 

edX (see also ‘Are EDX Certificates Worth It?‘) 
is actually mostly free, all course materials are free of charge, so you can get a college level education without paying those pricey tuition fees. The only thing you’ll have to pay for is the certificate you’ll get after completing your course. 

In this article, we’re going to be outlining how edX works (see also ‘Is edX Worth It?‘), what it offers, and if the certificates are worth getting. You can also check about the EdX working on their website.

What Is edX?

edX is an online learning platform that offers college level courses in a wider range of subjects to a worldwide student body. 

It’s one of the best and most accessible ways to learn online. It hosts around 3,000 courses and caters to around 33 million learners from around the world.

Since it partners with more than 90 of the world’s top universities, non-profits, NGOs and corporations, you can be assured that the education you get from this platform is the best of the best. 

In addition to providing accessible learning opportunities, some edX courses are credit-eligible and offer certificates for course completion. This can then be added to your resume to impress potential employers. 

  • Diverse courses
  • Flexible access
  • Certificates/degrees
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What Courses And Programs Are Offered On edX?

There’s a wide variety of courses available on edX, from the art of persuasive speaking to game development. Some more examples are: 

  • Business and Management
  • Chemistry
  • Architecture 
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Languages
  • Biology and Life Sciences
  • Economics and Finance

The courses are catered to students of any skill level, especially to those who are in the job market. You can find a catalog of the platform’s most popular courses here

The classes are completely free and sourced from top universities and institutions like MIT, Harvard, The Smithsonian, UC Berkeley, Microsoft and IBM. So you can be assured that the classes are of the highest quality.

EdX doesn’t only offer educational courses, it also offers programs that are made up of multiple related courses, workforce-applicable professional certificates and fully online master’s degree programs. 

edX also offers MicroBacherlors and MicroMasters, which are exactly what they sound like – smaller versions of on-campus programs which have a much lower price tag.

These programs cover 25%-50% of a university’s degree curriculum and can sometimes even offer credits towards a full degree. 

How Does An edX Class Work?

edX courses consist of weekly learning sequences. Each sequence is composed of short videos that you can watch on a schedule or at your own pace.

How Does edX Work (1)

Included in these sequences are interactive learning exercises in which students can immediately practice the concepts they’ve just learned. 

There are also supplemental readings (see also ‘Best Speed Reading Course‘) and discussion forums for students to interact with each other, and students will also be expected to complete homework assignments and assessments.

You’ll need to pass the course in order to receive a certification at the end (if the course is credit-eligible).  

How Much Is edX?

Technically edX (see also ‘What Is EDX?‘) is free, the only thing you’ll have to pay for is a “verified certificate” version of the class, they range from around $50-$100, so it’s still much less than a usual college degree and this version includes a certificate as well as graded homework during the course and unlimited course access. 

Programs such as the MicroBachelors or MicroMasters or longer programs tend to charge a one-time fee, but before you pay you can usually check out the individual programs for free, to see if the course is something you’ll be interested in and if it’s worth the money for you. 

Are edX Certificates Worth It?

When evaluating a course, the certificate or accreditation becomes one of the main aspects. As they allow potential employers to see where you’ve gained your skills and knowledge for that particular field from. 

Certificates from edX offer great weight since they’re issued by some of the best universities in the world. 

To evaluate whether edX certificates are worth it, it depends on what you’re using edX for. If you’re using it to gain more knowledge in particular interest of yours, or just to further your skills in general, a certificate probably won’t be for you.

But if you’re using edX to gain better knowledge and skills for a particular field that you wish to get a job in, it’s definitely worth the money, since you’ll be paying much less than you would for a regular college degree, but for almost the same level of education. 

edX Course Pros

  • Huge selection of college-level courses
  • A wide range of resources are available to you
  • Easy to navigate
  • It’s mostly free to use, you’ll only pay if you want a certificate at the end of your course
  • Courses range from beginner to more advanced
  • Provides verified certificates

edX Course Cons

  • In order to successfully complete the course, you need self-discipline. If you don’t have self-discipline, you may find it hard to study online.
  • To earn a certificate, you’ll have to enroll in the “verified certificate” version of the class, which can range from $50-$100. You’ll also have to complete the course with a passing grade. 

Final Thoughts

edX is a great MOOC to earn a college-level education and certificate. Even if you’re not using the platform to gain a certificate, you’ll gain high quality skills and knowledge without paying a dime. 

edX offers to learn but at your own pace, so you’re not under the time constraints of college. But that’s not to say it’s not as hard as college, you’ll still be expected to put in the same amount of work.

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