This year, edX shocked the world by getting acquired for $800 million in cash by 2U, a for-profit public company. You can read my 4,500-word analysis, which is part data-driven and part opinionated.
In 2021, edX gained 7 million new learners, similar to what it did in 2019, and less than the 10 million it gained in 2020, during the pandemic boost.
EdX isn’t a non-profit anymore, lost its co-CEO, shut down a microcredential (Executive Education), and we saw the first signs of its integration with 2U: it started promoting courses and bootcamps from other 2U acquisitions.
So far, none of its partners have left edX due to the transaction. The acquisition also doesn’t seem to have boosted 2U’s stock price, which is lower than before the acquisition.
For Class Central‘s complete analysis of edX’s 2021, keep reading. For our previous years’ analyses, follow the links:
Currently, edX lists 483 microcredentials (up from 385 last year) of 5 different types. The table above shows how each microcredential type has grown over the years.
In 2020, edX launched a new kind of microcredential, MicroBachelors. They also launched a new line of higher-priced online courses under the Executive Education banner. These courses had a fixed schedule, were 4 to 6 weeks long, and were priced between $999 and $3,599.
In 2021, those courses are no longer available. Instead, edX has started listing courses from 2U-acquired company GetSmarter, under the banner of Executive Education.
Similarly, edX has also added a page to promote Trilogy Bootcamps, another company acquired by 2U.
GetSmarter courses and Trilogy Bootcamps are not included in our microcredentials count.
EdX Online Master’s Degrees
In 2021, edX did announce a Masters in Public Health from Boston University, but it will only start in 2023. It was announced as part of its acquisition by 2U, but there’s no information yet on the edX website (that’s why we didn’t include it in our degree count).
For comparison, in 2020, edX had announced four new online master’s degrees.
Now, edX CEO Anant Agarwal has transitioned to ‘Chief Open Education Officer’ at 2U. EdX has also waived all the membership and annual fees for its members. It announced that none of the edX Consortium members had left, while two dozen of 2U’s partners have joined edX. But as far as we can tell, these aren’t offering courses on edX (yet at least).
2U’s edX acquisition hasn’t had a positive impact on the 2U’s stock, which is lower than it was before the acquisition. At the time of writing, the company is valued at $1.61B.
Open edX Remains Open
In essence, 2U acquired all edX assets except Open edX, the open source software that powers the edX platform and those of many institutions. The acquisition left behind a nonprofit entity under MIT and Harvard control, for now called The Center for Reimagining Learning (tCRIL).
Open edX now lives under tCRIL’s purview, and a new shared governance model has been put into place. It involves a committee of 9 people — 3 from edX/2U, 3 from Harvard/MIT, and 3 from the Open edX community — in charge of giving Open edX direction in the years to come.
EdX Co-CEO Adam Medros Leaves the Company
In March 2021, a year and a half after becoming co-CEO of edX with Anant Agarwal, Adam Medros left the company. Adam was also the President of edX.
I’m excited to share the news that I’m joining the team at @embarkvet as COO to help them continue to scale. The past 3+ years at @edXOnline have been an amazing experience and I’m so proud of the growth and transformation of the organization. https://t.co/WhXIsDgI6r
Adam joined edX as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and President back in October 2017, following 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. In late 2019, he waspromoted to co-CEO.
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.