In 2019, edX got a new co-CEO, gained more learners than in 2018, and a couple of the platform’s instructors won a Nobel prize.
The total number of learners on edX grew to 24 million, up from 18 million last year. Before that, edX was gaining 4 million learners a year.
As usual, edX launched more courses, microcredentials, and online degrees (though fewer than last year; they even lost a degree). edX’s paywall, announced last year, was expanded to more courses.
For Class Central‘s complete analysis of edX’s 2019, keep reading. For our previous years’ analyses, follow the links:
By The Numbers
The number of active courses on the platform increased to 2,650 (up from 2,275 last year). Data collected by Class Central shows that edX has launched around 410 online courses in 2019.
According to edX, the following courses received the most enrollments between July 2018 and June 2019 (edX’s calendar year):
- CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science via Harvard
- IELTS Academic Test Preparation via University of Queensland
- Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python via MIT
- Introduction to Python: Absolute Beginner via Microsoft
- Introduction to Data Analysis using Excel via Microsoft
- TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide via ETS
- Data Science: R Basics via Harvard
- Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI via Microsoft
- Python for Data Science via University of California, San Diego
- Introduction to Linux via Linux Foundation
Three of the courses from the list above (#1, #3, and #9) are also part of Class Central’s Top 100 online courses of all time.
Currently, edX lists 292 microcredentials (up from 233 last year) of 4 different types. The table below shows how each microcredential type has grown over the years.
In our research, we also found that certain courses are part of multiple microcredentials. EdX’s most popular course, CS50x, is part of three different Professional Certificates. We also discovered a Microsoft course which is part of two Professional Certificates and one XSeries.
In 2019, edX announced just two master’s degrees as opposed to eight in 2018. edX announced its first online MBA, offered by Boston University.
Purdue University became the 7th edX partner to launch a MOOC-based master’s degree with the company.
Besides its master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, Purdue plans to launch two other online degrees on edX in 2020:
- An online master’s degree in mechanical engineering
- An online master’s degree in civil engineering
The civil engineering degree will be developed from the ground up. By contrast, the other two will be based on master’s degree programs currently offered by Purdue on its own online education portal, where they cost $40k. On edX, the degrees will cost less than $25k.
Interestingly, a MOOC-based degree seems to have been either canceled or postponed: edX’s Data Science Master — offered by the University of California, San Diego — isn’t listed on the provider’s page anymore.
Below is a list of all the current degrees announced by edX. Detailed information is not yet available for another 13 upcoming degrees.
|Electrical and Computer Engineering
|Leadership: Service Innovation
||University of Queensland
||< AUD $25,000
|Master’s in Business Administration
|Master’s Degree in IT Management
||Georgia Institute of Technology
||Georgia Institute of Technology
|Supply Chain Management
||Arizona State University
||The University of Texas at Austin
Other 2019 Highlights/Milestones
EdX announced the appointment of Adam Medros as co-CEO. He will lead the company alongside the founder and CEO Anant Agarwal.
Adam joined edX back in October 2017 as COO and President. He came from a 13-year stint at Tripadvisor (it’s like Class Central, but for travel) where he was Senior Vice President of Global Product and a member of the executive team.
Paywall for Graded Assignments
Last year, edX announced a paywall for graded assignments. Under this policy, graded assignments will be available to learners who purchase verified certificates. The learners who don’t pay will only be able to access the content for a limited amount of time.
Not all courses follow this policy, but in 2019 many more do. The policy is very similar to FutureLearn’s paywall, but unlike FutureLearn, the transparency is missing: you find out if a course has a paywall and limited-time access only after you enroll. On FutureLearn, this information is right on the course pages.
In 2019, edX added three people to the leadership team: Lauren Holliday (presumably taking over from Mark Haseltine, Chief Product Officer), Stephanie Brocoum, and JP Beaudry. Long-time edX’er Johannes Heinlein expanded his role to include Chief Commercial Officer.
Here is how the edX Leadership currently looks:
- Anant Agarwal, Founder and CEO
- Adam Medros, President and co-CEO
- Johannes Heinlein, Chief Commercial Officer and Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
- Stephanie Brocoum, Chief Marketing Officer
- Nell Ma’luf, Vice President and General Counsel
- Kathy Pugh, Vice President of Services
- Lee Rubenstein, Vice President of Business Development
- JP Beaudry, Vice President of Engineering
- Peter Brau, Vice President of Finance
- Lauren Holliday, Vice President of Product
- Nina Huntemann, Senior Director of Academics and Research
Global Freshman Academy
The Global Freshman Academy from Arizona State University has been scaled back and largely replaced by the non-MOOC (neither open nor free) Earned Admission program. Theories about why conversions are low from MOOCs to actual college credit continue to be proposed.
Nobel Prize in Economics
In October 2019, two edX instructors — Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo — were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for their research in helping fight poverty. The two MIT professors are behind the MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy. Duflo is also an instructor in the Statistics and Data Science MicroMasters.
This article is just one of our 2019 MOOC Roundup Series. Find the whole series here. You’ll discover everything about MOOCs in 2019 — from the most popular classes, to overviews of MOOC platforms developments, to looking at the future of MOOCs.