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2022 edX Review: University Courses at Affordable Prices

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Ease of use: 9/10
Variety of courses: 9/10
Available platforms: 10/10
Content quality: 10/10
Value for money: 10/10

Price: $50/3 weeks

Updated: April, 19, 2022

Pros

  • 3,000+ courses available
  • University-level courses
  • Most courses are free
  • 14-days return policy
  • Accredited certificates
  • 35+ million users
  • Cons

  • Some courses are behind a paywall
  • Not all courses are self-paced
  • Some content gaps in course library
  • edX is one the best eLearning platforms for educationally oriented courses. 

    How does edX work, and are courses on the platform really free?

    Take a look at our edX review to find out. 

    What is edX Good For?

    edX was founded in 2012 by Harvard and MIT professors, and like eLearning platforms, Coursera and FutureLearn; it hosts courses by some of the most renowned universities

    The lectures are organised and taught by real-life professors and some of the world’s biggest business leaders. 

    Who is edX for?

    edX is a multi-course online learning platform teaching skills that will help you with personal or professional development.

    As such, edX is good for:

    • Professionals trying to advance their careers
    • People who need accredited certificates 
    • Learners who want to expand their knowledge 
    • Individuals looking for low-cost university courses

    Companies and organisations who want to provide their staff with opportunities to continue learning and develop professionally will find much to like about edX for Business. This program provides on-demand eLearning tools that will assist businesses of all sizes to grow and thrive.

    Like Coursera, edX also has a dedicated learning program for campus staff, helping university professors keep up with new educational trends through customised catalogues and top-quality content. 

    One of the most unique aspects of edX, though, is the Open edX platform. This free, open-source content management system allows anyone to create and manage online course content. Since organisations can host courses tailored to their specific needs, Open edX is used by some of the biggest global companies for employee training, while MIT and Harvard use the system to deliver engaging content to students in an online setting. 

    Content Quality 

    edX hosts over 3,000 courses on a wide variety of topics. While the number of courses is no match for Udemy’s 180,000+ tutorials or the 27,000 courses available on Skillshare, all classes are taught by university professors or highly-qualified instructors. 

    The edX platform has a diverse portfolio of topics and subjects. From individual courses on Photoshop training and FinTech Ethics to certification programs covering a range of complementary skills and a full Master’s degree — all options are easily accessible to learners. 

    Some of the topics found on the edX course list include: 

    • Art & Culture
    • Biology & Life Sciences
    • Business & Management
    • Computer Science
    • Data Analysis & Statistics
    • Design
    • Economics & Finance
    • Education & Teacher Training
    • Engineering
    • Health & Safety
    • Law
    • Medicine
    • Social Sciences

    That said, there are certain content gaps in the edX catalogue. For example, there are over 700 courses available in Computer Sciences, but less than 60 in Architecture and Music. So, those interested in pursuing a career in the creative arts would be better off investing in a more comprehensive eLearning platform

    How are courses organised?

    Although some courses are self-paced, i.e. you can take them any time, most edX courses are instructor-led. In that case, courses follow a set schedule, and the material is only available at certain times. 

    If learning at your rhythm is a must for you, Linkedin Learning is one of the best self-paced learning platforms.   

    On the plus side, you can download courses through the edX app, and video transcripts are available so you can easily catch up. 

    edX paid vs edX free courses

    Each online course on the platform is available as a free course (Audit Track) and paid version (Verified Track). 

    The first gives you access to discussion forums, class videos and readings. The Verified Track, on the other hand, provides: 

    • Verified edX certificates
    • Graded assessments
    • Unrestricted course access

    Bear in mind that all courses have expiry dates specified on the course page, after which they will be archived. So, if you want access to course materials even after enrolment has finished, you will have to upgrade to the paid version. 

    Note: Upgrading to Verified Track does not instantly grant you a certificate. You will have to pass the course with the minimum score to earn a certification. 

    Features

    Offering a clean and simple design and a variety of edX training options, this platform comes with plenty of perks.

    Ease of use

    Once you’ve registered your account (a standard, simple procedure), you will see all the courses, programs & degrees, schools & partners listed in the navigation bar. 

    If you have a specific topic or learning program in mind, you can save time and narrow down your search by selecting filters such as Subject, Partner, Program Type, Level, Availability, and Language. 

    Responding to learners’ needs, edX redesigned its website in 2020 and included updates that emphasise a sense of community. Thus, the edX interface is much smoother than Coursera’s, which can feel clunky and overwhelming at times. 

    Certifications 

    Any Verified Track student who completes a course on edX receives a certificate of completion from the institution that created the course, which is either a prestigious university like Harvard or Berkeley or an industry leader like IBM. The certificate can then be shared on your Linkedin profile or included in your CV.

    Another plus is that some programs are endorsed by certain companies, like Goldman Sachs, giving you a definite edge over other applicants for a job within that organisation. Udacity takes this program one step further by offering scholarships with tech giants like Google and AT&T. 

    As mentioned earlier in this edX review, free courses do not come with a certificate, which is common across all learning platforms. Coursera and FutureLearn also do not provide certification for free courses.  

    Learning programs 

    edX has a variety of training options available:

    • Courses & Series are the perfect learning program for anyone interested in acquiring a new skill. If you do not have a lot of time on your hands, you can go for one of the short courses, while for those looking to expand their knowledge, edX offers multi-course series (similar to Coursera’s Specializations and PluralSight’s Paths). 
    • Professional Programs focus on job-related skills and training that candidates can apply in real-life work situations. Learners can choose to earn an edX Professional Certificate or go for one of the original programs: Boot Camp and Executive Education. Designed to fast-track the learning process, the former will give learners the skills to get started in tech, whereas the latter helps train business leaders to tackle organisational issues and make effective decisions.
    • edX Master’s Degree Programs follow the same Master’s programs top universities offer on campus. The only difference is with the platform, you can earn a degree from anywhere in the world at more than half the cost. 
    • MicroMasters & MicroBachelors programs are parts of a Master’s and Bachelor’s program. Each edX program gives you transferable college credits from one of the partner universities so you can get closer to earning a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. So, if you want to advance your education but do not have the means or time to attend classes, you won’t find a better option than edX. 

    Platforms

    Any edX course is available for streaming or downloading on the native edX app for Android and iOS users. Keep in mind that you can’t download courses on the desktop, although the video classes of some tutorials are available for download. To get access to these, just click on the link below the lecture. 

    edX community 

    The edX community is limited to course discussion forums, where you can interact with other students or ask course team members questions. Although expansive, edX course discussion forums pale in comparison to Codecademy’s community, which boasts chat rooms, live events, and even real-life meetups. 

    Assignments and projects

    Most classes have either quizzes, homework sets or assignments that learners have to complete to pass the course. The actual type and number of extra resources varies between courses, and some even come with due dates, so you would have to plan your time accordingly. 

    If you are interested in a more casual approach to learning new skills, you could try out other platforms that are not as demanding.

    edX Pricing

    Most courses on edX are free to audit, meaning you don’t have to pay to take the classes. However, if you are looking to get a certificate or credit, you will have to pay for the course. 

    The cost of a program and a degree varies depending on what you’re looking for. 

    ProgramedX costDuration
    Short Courses $50-$300 3-8 weeks
    edX Xseries$130-$2003-10 months
    Professional Certificate Programs$350-$1,0003-10 months
    BootCamp$10,000- $12,99512-24 weeks
    Executive Education $644- $2,8006-8 weeks
    Master’s Degree $10,000- $25,0001-3 years 
    MicroMasters Program $450-$1,5006 months-1 year
    MicroBachelors Programs$500 to $1,5003-9 months

    There are no additional costs associated with edX courses. The only fees on edX are for upgrading to the verified track or enrolling in a professional education course.

    You can pay for the verified course with a credit, debit card or PayPal. 

    Even though there are other completely free academic-oriented platforms, considering the cost of an actual Master’s degree (which can go as high as $50,000 for tuition alone), edX online courses are more than affordable

    One downside, though, is the lack of a subscription plan. MasterClass and PluralSight, for instance, have several plans in place that grant access to all the courses on the platforms for a fixed monthly fee. 

    edX financial aid

    Candidates who want to join the validated track but cannot afford the full tuition can apply for financial aid. Most courses and services are eligible for financial aid of up to 90% of the total cost, and one can qualify for financial assistance up to five times a year. 

    Coursera also offers financial aid, although nowhere near as big of a discount as edX. 

    Return policy   

    If you decide that you don’t want to continue with the purchased verified course within 14 days, edX will automatically give you a full refund. 

    Is edX Worth It?

    Yes.  Not only does edX give you a chance to take courses provided by Berkley, MIT and Harvard, giving you the skills and credentials you need to take your career to the next level, it also makes course materials freely available. 

    There are downsides, though. Many courses are not available at all times, while some classes have due dates on assignments, so you would have to follow a strict schedule as opposed to learning at your own pace

    Despite these minor drawbacks, edX is still one of the best eLearning sites for professional and academic development.

    FAQ

    Is edX certificate valuable?

    The edX certificate is definitely worth the money as it can be included in your resume or Linkedin profile. What’s more, some organisations and educational institutions may give credit based on the completed course certification.  

    Are MicroMasters worth it?

    Yes, this program is flexible and comes with a certificate recognised by some of the best universities and companies in the world. 

    Is edX legit?

    As we mentioned in this edX review, the platform is 100% legit. Since its establishment in 2012, this non-profit organisation has had over 35 million students take its courses.

    An aspiring linguist with a background in teaching, I decided to use my years of experience to educate my audience through writing. The chance to apply my knowledge to my articles, fueled by my passion for research helped me develop my skills and learn more along the way, awakening my interest in even more topics. When I’m not typing behind my desk, you’ll find me learning a new language or pouring my thoughts into rhymes.