6. Components


Open edX consists of multiple components. The main ones are:

  • LMS (Learning Management System): Students’ View

It is the part of Open edX that students interact with. It displays content and runs quizzes and interactive apps. The LMS provides user registration, progress tracking, grading, and forums. Data storage: courses are saved in MongoDB and student data in MySQL.

The LMS also provides instructor dashboards.


  • Studio course authoring tool or CMS (Content Management System): Authors’ View

EdX Studio presents a friendly graphical user interface. You can upload and arrange lectures into logical units, post course materials, create quizzes and assessments, etc.

The types of exercises that instructors can create are virtually limitless. Aside from the multiple-choice, text or equation input types, Open edX integrates LTI components, customized Javascript as well as tools such as Google Instant Hangout and even a Molecule Editor.

Note that if you wish to use Hangouts you may need to ask Google for permission and to whitelabel your website. You can do so through Google’s developer site by accessing the “Instant Google hangouts” feature.

Like the LMS, Studio stores its content in MongoDB and MySQL.

  • CS Comments Service
    A server-side Ruby application that supports voting, nested comments and instructors’ endorsements.

  • XBlocks
    A course is made of XBlock learning components, which can be created by third parties to extend Open edX’s functionality.

Other optional components of Open edX are:

  • XQueue Service
    Defines an interface for the LMS to communicate with external checker services. For example, when a student submits a problem in the LMS, it is sent to XQueue in order for it to be processed.

  • XServer
    XServer accepts student code submissions from the LMS and runs the code using courseware graders.

  • notifier
    Sends daily digests of new content to users who are subscribed to a given forum.


This diagram below displays Open edX’s components. Please click on the picture to enlarge it.



Every day we see more functionalities being added to the Open edX software. The features listed above are just the beginning. To learn about the product roadmap ahead, check the official page as well the new Open edX community portal.