1. Introduction



It’s a global success

The Open edX software is open-source technology that makes learning easier and studying faster.

It was created by MIT and Harvard University, and was quickly supported by universities such as UC Berkeley, Georgetown, and Stanford, and companies such as Google and Microsoft.

This software platform is designed to engage students and teachers in an interactive, modular way. It promotes active learning by using video snippets, interactive components and game-like experiences.

The Open edX project is a global success. It powers major MOOC initiatives, hosting blended and online courses, all around the world.

Top Ten Uses

These are the top ten cases related to Open edX:

  • It powers edx.org’s MOOC portal with more than 5 million users, 500 available courses and 50 involved international universities and business organizations.
  • Stanford University uses it at lagunita.stanford.edu for on-campus students and distance learners.
  • MIT has made edX its central LMS, and nearly 200 courses on campus and 80 percent of students use it.
  • Harvard University uses it for online teaching and learning.
  • Top universities in China, the Middle East, Indonesia, Japan, France, India and Spain, among other countries, have embraced it for MOOCs.
  • Innovative universities such as The George Washington University (GW), NYU, Indiana and Duke University are using it to launch groundbreaking open education initiatives. GW was the second American university after Stanford to deploy Open edX.
  • McKinsey & Co has adopted Open edX to create McKinsey Academy, which serves over one hundred of its clients.
  • Johnson and Johnson, Microsoft, Amnesty International, International Monetary Fund, MongoDB and other top international top are creating edX-based courses.
  • Davidson College, College Board and edX have launched AP-approved courses on edX intended for high-schoolers. EdX’s High School Initiative highlights this focus, too.
  • Arizona State University is offering the first freshman in college through edX-based courses.

Superior Pedagogy

Open edX technology allows instructors to create engaging learning sequences, which promote active participation as students alternate between learning concepts and solving simple exercises to check their understanding.

The course content is presented through learning sequences: a set of interwoven videos, readings, discussions, wikis, collaborative and social media tools, exercises and materials with automatic assessments and instant feedback.

Students can move at their own pace following a self-regulating learning process. They complete interactive assessments and receive instant feedback.

Results on both student learning outcomes and student satisfaction from the use of the edX technology are compelling.

The Open edX system provides superior pedagogy.

Tech Features

The Open edX software includes two main applications: one for taking courses –the LMS or Learning Management System– and another one for creating them –“Studio,” the CMS or Content Management System.

An Open edX course organizes course content through a three-level hierarchy of sections, subsections and units. Sections and subsections appear on a vertical navigation bar on the left and units appear sequentially on a horizontal navigation toolbar. This navigational structure is effective, engaging, and results in a great learning experience.

Units contain components such as discussions, HTML, problems and video.

One of the most powerful technologies native to the Open edX platform is the multiple ways in which course staff can express problems. It allows for multiple-choice questions, checkboxes, dropdowns, textual, numerical and mathematical inputs as well as many other types of advanced problems, using custom Python and JavaScript to evaluate answers and display the results.

The video player, which is based around the YouTube player with custom extensions, is excellent: students can follow click-on transcripts to move along the video, adjust their speeds, download them, and even view transcripts in other languages.

A course can have cohorts, HTML pages, textbooks, wikis.

There are endless ways to structure course materials within an Open edX course.

“What makes Open edX unique is that it is the only last-generation, full-featured, open-source platform for online learning. Open edX has the potential to enable independent online-learning initiatives, where instructors maintain control of their intellectual property and institutions protect learner data,” explains Lorena Barba, Professor at GW and one the most prestigious voices in the Open edX community.