In 2012, with a mission to “increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere”, MIT and Harvard University founded edX as a massive open online course (MOOC) platform that provides free online courses from top universities to students from all over the world . What is unique about this platform is that this is the only non-profit MOOC available that is open source to everyone . Prior to the existence of edX, the means to take a Harvard or MIT class were limited to getting admitted by the schools and paying thousands of dollars a year for tuition . Now, 14 million students are taking over 1800 course through edX for free .
What are some innovative elements of edX?
- Personalized Videos – To accommodate English as a second language students, there are several adjustable features for the course videos. Students could choose to have transcripts in English, Chinese, or Spanish aside of the video to learn in the language they are more familiar with. They could also adjust the speed of the video from 0.5x to 2.0x according to their needs.
- Verified Certificates and Program Certificates – Students who are not only looking for acquiring skills but also needing certificates would be able to get them from edX by paying a certain fee which varies by courses . Students could also choose from a few types of program certificates – MicroMasters, XSeries, and Professional Certificate, etc. – to get Masters’ equivalent degree certificates or employer friendly certificates over certain type of expertise . These options are more targeted to gaining certain skills or area of expertise for careers and would be a more economy choice for career development compared to getting a full-time degree.
- EdX for Business – edX also offers targeted courses for businesses. They provide courses over the trending themes, such as data analytics or programming languages, and customize for each business requirements .
What values does edX bring?
- For Students
- Free access to high-quality courses – edX is the only MOOC platform who provides entirely free courses to the public and many courses are provided by high-profile universities including Harvard and MIT .
- Economy for career development – In a survey conducted over 780K people, 87% reported a career benefit of some kind after completing a MOOC, within which 32% had found a new job, received a pay raise, or a promotion . If people could achieve these by paying hundreds of dollars, there is less need to quit a job to get a full-time degree.
- Networks – Through the discussion panel, students can ask questions or introduce themselves, which creates a bridge to the other students who share the same interests.
- For Partnering Universities
- Blended Courses for better educational outcome – Having students learning the contents before in-class discussions enhanced pass rates for courses and helped schools achieve a better educational result .
- Recruits more talents through access to the scores – edX did not reduce talent resources from Universities. Instead, partnering schools successfully invited many high-performance students in edX courses for full-time studies.
- For Businesses
- Cheaper training for employees – Compared to sponsoring employees for a part-time MBA, working with edX for business and getting certificates over targeted fields is more economy for businesses.
How does edX sustain itself as a non-profit business?
EdX’s primary source of revenue is the partnering universities. For each course listed through edX, they charge the university a base rate from $50-250K plus 30-50% revenue made beyond this base rate depends on the type of course offering .
In the end, although edX is only the second largest player in the MOOC market , as a non-profit business, the value it brings to the broader students globally should be recognized and encouraged.
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