- Peer Review: edX - Free Online Courses from the best Universities
edX - Free Online Courses from the best Universities
- Jul 9, 2015 by Teacher Education
Overall Rating: 5.0 stars
Content Quality: 5.0 stars
Effectiveness: 5.0 stars
Ease of Use: 5.0 stars
- This overview details how EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities, colleges and organizations. For example, online courses are offered from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universities can be taken here. An array of topics are offered; such as biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT. The three types of course offerings includes High School Grades in College Preparation Courses, and Advanced Placement for College admission. Currently over 40 course High school and AP Exam Preparation courses are offered. Example of courses offered include mathematics, science, English and history, as well as 57 high school courses that offers a range of subjects. The second course offering is Professional Education. These courses are designed for working professional, offering interactives online learning that accommodates busy schedules. Likewise, courses run for a few days to several weeks. Course content are geared to a specific industry or skill set with an emphasis on learning and hands on scenarios from the field. Currently 13 courses are fee-based with specific fees varying by course. Many offer students continuing education or professional education credit. All courses offer students Verified Certificates of Achievement. This certificate allows the participant to showcase achievements to significant others; such as, to get a better job, a promotion, or to include in a college application .A minimum fee is involved and funding goes toward class creation and improving edx. However, currently a limited number of courses offer a Verified Certified Certificate. The third course offerings are the XSeries Certificates. A participant completes and pass a series of courses in a specific subject. The requirements vary from each institution. Normally, the requirements is to take and pass a series of courses. Moreover, all edx courses can be audited for a fee. However, a participant may audit a course, participate in any or all of the activities and exams and pas, but will not receive a certificate.,EDx offers three types of certificates, which includes: Honor code, Verified and XSeries. Currently, verified certificates are only available in some courses. Honor code certificates are available in course offering. An XSeries Certificate is earned by successfully completing a series of courses that make up an XSeries.
- Type of Material:
- Online course. Note: All courses are fee based and specific fees vary by courses with a minimum fee. (range from $30.00-$40.00). Fees are used to add additional courses and to maintain high quality online courses. Some classes can be taken for free, or with a small registration fee can be taken as an "ID verified user." Videos, quizzes, discussions are emphasized. Most courses follow a regular schedule.
- Recommended Uses:
- There are several outstanding recommended uses of online courses, such as, used in class to support Common Core state standards, offer Advanced courses in core content areas resources and limited staff may exist especially in high need districts due to limited fiscal and human resources; offer online courses to advance in professional careers; offer professional development to meet specific goals in program or organizational goals; use as a resource to for teachers to align curriculum with course content .Also, course offering may be applied to meet teacher certification renewal requirement in specific areas ,or applied toward teacher add on certificates in specialized areas.
- Technical Requirements:
- Must be able to access video on the computer. Some classes require access to YouTube. In the beginning some videos did not have transcripts but most all do now. Online courses are mobile friendly.
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
- The purpose of EDx is to offer online courses in the following areas: High school -Ap exam Prep, Professional Education and Verified Certificates to a range of audiences that are accessible and affordable.
- Target Student Population:
- Target populations might include high school, college general education, technical and two year institutions, organizations and college level, and teacher preparation training. The site would also be helpful to adults who wish to learn more about a students, students and adults who wish to enhance their skill in technology and students in high school and college who wish to go beyond the curriculum at their institution.
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
- Course or subject matter, and computer skills as well as application of mobile apps. For most classes, the student must be prepared to follow a schedule and participate. Some classes are self-paced.
- The online course offerings are developed by world famous universities, colleges and organizations. Course content presented is both valid and reliable as the online course is supported by appropriate research. The course offering includes a variety of resources and tools that integrates the content well to support teaching and learning; is flexible, and can be use in various learning environments. One of the reviewers has completed 9 edX courses and enjoyed them. There is a range of quality, but in all cases the professors were prepared and enthusiastic. Video quality was excellent and interaction with students from many countries was a big plus.
- Students must realize that these are "real" courses, not "fun and games." The drop out rate is high for those who just want to look and not do any work.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
- Several outstanding features were identified; for example, groups can share the content, or individuals might engage in the online course to meet his/her own specific learning needs. Also, several course offerings are offered, as well as a range of certificates. One of our reviewers noted that "the courses that I have taken have been well designed and any technical glitches were attended to immediately. The professors were excellent and you could tell they loved their subject. Most of the courses have online quizzes. If students find a question in a quiz that is unclear, they complain and usually that quiz question is thrown out. All the courses I have taken emphasize discussion and interaction with other students.
- Students must realize that there are deadlines to be met and assignments to complete in order to achieve the certificate of completion.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
- The material is clearly presented. In the beginning, as with every online class, students may have a little trouble navigating the system but there is help from the instructors and other students. Students are encouraged to ask questions in the discussion board if an assignment is unclear. There is also a MY PROGRESS bar in every class so the student can check if they are missing something. The content of the course is visually appealing and is reinforced by a variety of resources that engage the learner and support the content. The courses are mobile friendly, which supports accessibility to a range of learning needs.
- If students don't ask questions when they are confused then they may be frustrated. "In every class I have completed the instructors and their assistants were very helpful, as were the other students in the class. I have enjoyed the courses I have completed," noted a reviewer.