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Edx’s 2018: Year In Review

With eighteen million learners, edX is the second largest MOOC provider in the world, but it’s still struggling to find out how to monetize its courses.

With eighteen million learners, edX is still the second largest MOOC provider in the world (after Coursera). But it’s still struggling to find an answer on how to monetize its MOOC courses.

In 2018, edX removed the word “free” from its homepage, and then announced it would start testing a support fee. EdX ended the year by instituting a paywall for graded assignments.

In keeping with the trend towards MOOC-based degrees, edX announced eight new degree programs in 2018. In 2017, edX had just one online degree. More degrees are expected from edX in 2019.

EdX’s employee base remained stable at around 150–200 employees.

For more of Class Central’s analysis of edX’s 2018, keep reading. Previous year in reviews: 2017 2016.

2018 Highlights

Online Degrees

In 2017, edX had just one online Master’s degree — the Online Masters of Science in Analytics (OMS Analytics) with Georgia Tech. In 2018 edX announced eight more Master’s degrees, ranging from $10k to $25k in cost. In 2018, six more universities announced that they would launch online degrees on the edX platform.

The edX website also lists a few upcoming Master’s degrees without specifying any details other than their names. In all, the Degrees page on edX lists sixteen online degrees. Details about nine of them are known. The entire list of announced degrees is below:

Degree Name University Cost
Computer Science The University of Texas at Austin $10,000
Analytics Georgia Tech $9,900
Data Science The University of California, San Diego $15,000
Cybersecurity Georgia Tech $9,920
Marketing Curtin University AUD 31,475
Accounting Indiana University $21,000
Leadership: Service Innovation The University of Queensland AUD 25,500
IT Management Indiana University $21,000
Supply Chain Management Arizona State University N/A

So far only the OMS Analytics degree is live, but another Georgia Tech degree, the Cybersecurity Masters, is slated to go live in spring of 2019 with around 250 students. The OMS Analytics degree, which was announced in early 2017, has 1,200 students enrolled and costs around $10k.

To see a complete list of MOOC-based online degrees announced so far, check our pricing charts.


Edx Verified vs Audit Track (2018)

Until 2018 edX had been the most open of all the MOOC platforms. Over the years, all the MOOC providers have reduced what was free in MOOCs. I cataloged this shift here.

Outside of removing the free certificate and launching a few paid-only courses, edX was the one provider that didn’t limit access to MOOCs. That was until 2018.

Early this year, edX removed the word “free” from their homepage and announced that they would soon start testing a support fee. (Class Central cataloged a few of the tests here.)

Apparently the results of these tests are in. EdX has decided how it will monetize its MOOC courses going forward.

Edx’s new paywall removes access to graded assignments for free users. The new paywall also has a time limit; after the course ends, free users won’t be able to access the course content. According to edX, most existing courses (with a few exceptions) will be moved over to this new model, and all new courses will be offered under the new model.

More information about the paywall can be found here.

By The Numbers


Edx’s total learner base grew to eighteen million, adding four million learners in 2018 — the same as in 2017 and 2016. These learners have enrolled in courses 66 million times, with 16 million new enrollments in 2018.

The median age of an edX learner is 28, and 62% of all learners are male. EdX learners range in age from 7 to 96, distributed as follows:

  • Continuing learners (25+) — 63%.
  • University age students (19–24) — 29%.
  • High school students (13–18) — 8%.

Seventy-nine percent of edX learners are outside of the U.S. After the U.S., India is the country with the most edX users (10% of learners). Only 6% of edX learners come from Africa, while 14% come from Latin America.


At the time of writing, edX lists 233 Microcredentials (up from 174 last year) of 4 different types. They are shown here in the order in which they were launched:

  1. XSeries.
  2. Professional Education.
  3. MicroMasters.
  4. Professional Certificate.

In 2018, the two oldest types — XSeries and Professional Education — saw a reduction in the number of Microcredentials being offered. Meanwhile, edX added nine new MicroMasters (its flagship credential) to its catalog. But the biggest increase came in edX’s Professional Certificate Microcredential catalog, which increased from 35 to 91.


At the time of writing, edX has approximately 2,200 courses, 400 of which were added in 2018.

Here is a list of the most popular edX courses (from 7/1/17 to 6/30/18):

  1. TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide from ETS.
  2. CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard University.
  3. IELTS Academic Test Preparation from University of Queensland.
  4. Introduction to Data Analysis using Excel from Microsoft.
  5. Introduction to Python: Absolute Beginner from Microsoft.
  6. Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel from Microsoft.
  7. Data Science: R Basics from Harvard University.
  8. English Grammar and Style from University of Queensland.
  9. Learn to Program in Java from Microsoft.

Corporate Training

EdX has a corporate learning offering called edX for Business. Here is how edX described its growth in 2018:

“EdX has seen significant growth in its Enterprise business over the past year. With more than 30 Fortune 500 corporations among its customer base (including four ranked in the top twenty), edX has seen its enterprise course enrollments increase 24x (since November 2017).”

In 2018, edX built integrations that allow corporate customers to access edX content through their LMS systems. EdX also built an Administrative Dashboard for companies to get insight into how employees are interacting with edX courses.


EdX currently has 139 partners. They added seven new partners in 2018 (HBKU, Indiana University, SDG Academy, IBM, Universidad de Rosario, Doane University, and Amazon Web Services).

Other 2018 Highlights/Milestones

Yidan Prize

EdX CEO Anant Agarwal was awarded the Yidan Prize. According to the official website, “Yidan Prize Laureate receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million) including a cash prize of HK$15 million (around US$1.9 million) and a project fund of HK$15 million.”

This article is just one in our 2018 MOOC Roundup Series. Find the whole series of articles here, and discover everything MOOCs in 2018 — from the most popular classes, to overviews on developments in MOOC platforms, to looking at the MOOC future.

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

Comments 1

  1. Sebastian Trigo

    How much was in income or revenue on 2018?


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