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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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What Has Happened To edX? [Changes Explained]

What Has Happened To EdX? [Changes Explained]

So, as you may have heard, MIT and Harvard University have sold the edX online education platform to another company called 2U.

As with any new takeover, you can expect disruption to business as usual. And there are a few things that have changed now. 

As pre-existing users and customers, you may be a little apprehensive about what the future holds.

New customers might also want to get the low-down on what you can now expect from the online learning platform. 

What Has Happened To edX?

Well, in this article, we’ll go over what has happened to edX and some of the new changes and features that you can expect to see, and we’ll also delve into an extensive list of FAQs so that you can find all the information you need to know. (See also ‘Is edX Worth It? Pricing and Certifications 2023‘)

Shall we get straight to it?

Get The Low-Down

Okay, so let’s take a quick look at what’s been happening at the open edX platform by reviewing the timeline.

In 2012, two prestigious universities, Harvard and MIT, collaborated to create a charitable non-profit organization known as edX Inc, which would stand out from other online learning platforms.

Their mission was simple: 

  • Increase access to high-quality education for all individuals regardless of circumstances. 
  • Enhance both teaching and learning on campus as well as online.
  • Advance both teaching and learning through extensive research. 

The organization ran for a solid nine years and was very successful. Each and every mission they set out was achieved.

This was done by developing and maintaining the massive open online courses platform as well as offering a global website that was hosted by a variety of different partners and then assisting these said partners by creating affordable effective online educational content. 

However, as of November 16th, 2021, the non-profit organization was sold to 2U, Inc. As a result of this transaction, a few things have changed for edX. 

Important Changes To edX 

Right, so below, you’ll find a list of the major changes to edX caused by the takeover. 

  • edX and the website are no longer governed or affiliated with either university Harvard or MIT. 
  • The business is now a for-profit organization owned and operated by 2U, Inc which is a publicly traded, global education company. 
  • The non-profit will still pursue its original mission through new means via extensive research and leadership development designed to improve both accessibility and viability for both teaching and online learning experiences. However, the nonprofit is now separate and independent from the 2U company. 
  • The nonprofit will continue to be governed by trustees appointed by the universities of Harvard and MIT. 

What Does This Mean For Users Already Enrolled In Courses?

For those already enrolled in courses and programs, there will be absolutely no changes for continued digital learning.

All certificates that have already been awarded under the pre-existing owners will remain valid and students will still be able to continue pursuing their current online courses and gain certification. (Check out ‘Can edX Courses Contribute To Your Career?‘)

Who Is 2U? 

Since Harvard and MIT are respectable and trusted educational institutions, you may be a little worried about the reputation of 2U.

Well, let me put your mind at ease, as you will definitely be in good hands with this incorporation. 

2U has been a digital transformation partner for a multitude of non-profit colleges and universities for over a decade.

They strive to deliver high-quality educational content – and they always succeed in this mission. 

In fact, 2U currently provides world-class educational partnerships to more than 40 million learners across the globe. They also currently work with around 230 different colleges, corporations, and universities, so it’s safe to say that they know what they’re doing in terms of higher education. 

Will You Get Access To 2U Content Now?

Will You Get Access To 2U Content Now

Yes! Boot camps and Executive Education courses are now available on thanks to the 2U partnership. Over the next few years, it is also planned for more additional undergraduate and graduate degree programs via 2U partners so that you can make the most of your potential. 

Has The Privacy Policy Changed? Is Action Required?

The privacy policy did change somewhat as well as the terms of service to clarify that edX is no longer a service provided by Harvard and MIT but instead 2U. However, other than this nothing else has changed to the policies and no further action is required on the part of its users. 

Of course, you will still have access to manage your information. You can do this through your profile updates. You can also download any of your earned certificates should you wish. And there is still the option to delete your account if you are not happy with the takeover.

It is worth noting, though, that if you delete your account there is no possibility to restore your account in the future and all credentials and submissions will be lost. 

Is edX Still A Non-Profit Organization? 

No. As I mentioned earlier in the article, the takeover of 2U has changed the incorporation from a non-profit to a for-profit company.

Instead, edX will now be seen as a public benefit company which is a purpose-driven organization that will promote both good intentions for the public while maintaining the interest of the shareholders. 

Are There Any Changes To Pricing? 

No, there have been no adjustments made to the pricing of the verified certificate track. The free audit track will also still be available. This is important to many of the users and therefore is still important to the new owners.

For this reason, there will be no adjustments made to the free audit option and users may still access edX courses for free if they do not require a certificate at the end of the course. 

Is Financial Assistance Still Available? 

Yes, currently there are no plans to make any changes to the financial assistance service. Any users that have been awarded financial assistance will still be able to enroll at the discounted rates. 

The company also promises to alert and update all its users should any new changes or policies be made in terms of financial assistance. 

Can Users Still Make Donations? 

Since the takeover, edX has stopped accepting donations. However, if you made a donation prior to this happening, don’t worry, as your money will still be used to support the non-profit’s operations and initiatives. 

Final Thoughts

Change is always scary, and so if you are an existing user of edX it’s more than reasonable to have been a little wary about the changes to the organization. Hopefully, this article will have put minds at ease a little bit about how things have begun to change moving forward. 

You’ll be happy to know that for the most part, not a lot will actually change or affect its users. The courses are all still available and any certificates obtained are still valid.

The only real difference is that the organization is moving from non-profit to for-profit, but even then it is unlikely that this will affect users in terms of pricing or financial assistance. 

2U wants the takeover to be as seamless as possible and still has its users’ interests at heart. You can see this, for example, in how they have not made any direct changes to the things that matter to its users such as the free audit feature. 

Overall, the change won’t really impact its users other than slight changes to the policy. But it’s good to be knowledgeable about what’s happened. And hopefully, thanks to this article, you are.

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