Some of the best experiences I had when I was in college came from taking courses that exposed me to new ideas and different points of view. Unfortunately many people don’t have the luxury of time, money or living in the right part of the world to participate in intellectually stimulating educational courses. There are a number of options for an online education, but in many cases, classes are expensive. In 2012, Harvard and MIT launched a $60 million online classroom venture called edX that promised to change the landscape of online learning. edX offers online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide student body of over 7 million people, with many courses free of charge.
edX is a nonprofit organization that runs on open-source software. More than 90 schools, corporations and nonprofit organizations offer courses in weekly learning sequences that include videos, interactive learning exercises, online text books, and an online discussion forum. Some courses also offer online laboratories. Students will receive certificates for successful completion but no university course credit. edX does offer verified courses where students have the option to audit the course for free or work towards an edX Verified Certificate for a fee. Courses are organized by subjects that range from Engineering to Philosophy and are often available in a number of languages.
In addition to educational offerings, edX is used for online or distance learning research by collecting registrant demographics and recording learner’s clicks. Research findings are used to improve retention, course completion and learning outcomes in traditional university campus and online coursework.
If you are looking to broaden a skill set or just want to learn something new, edX is sure to have an offering that will be of interest.