EdX vs. Coursera: MOOC Showdown

Many people are not capable of attending traditional classrooms, but this does not mean they will quit learning altogether. With that, online or distance learning became popular. Now that the world has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the learning setups have shifted to online learning. No matter what the purpose is, an online class has numerous benefits. It offers a number of courses, provides the option to learn anywhere, allows flexible scheduling, is available at lower prices, and allows continuing education for busy adults, and provides additional skills for professionals.

There are numerous learning online platforms available and one of the most popular of these platforms or MooCs are Coursera and EdX. The most commonly asked inquiry when it comes to these two learning portals is which is better. With this, EdX vs Coursera will be weighed based on different factors.

EdX

Company Background

EdX is an online learning platform that was started in the USA in 2012 and created by scientists from MIT and Harvard University. It continues to expand as more universities are joining with them.  So that the demands of increasing number of customers could be met, additional online courses are regularly included.

Stand-out Qualities

With an ambitious mission to “provide quality education to every person around the world and advancing learning through research”, EdX is distinct from its competitors by providing its course offerings free to all or at a minimal fee. It is a company that does not operate on profit and uses the Open EdX open-source portal free of charge. The number of course offerings available as of now is more than 2000, all of which were created by leading universities. The number of its users has reached 14 million and counting.

Special Offers

EdX allies with top universities and eminent professors creating competently crafted course offerings in numerous distinct subject matters. Currently, more than 650 number of courses are available. These are taught by over 1,700 qualified faculties and staff. To show you how large scale the learning platform of EdX, there are about 7 million users with 580,000 certificates already issued.

Unlike other online learning websites that provide general education courses only, EdX can give its users varied kinds of online courses. EdX Verified Courses have lessons in varied subject areas that issue certificates of completion. Under the XSeries Programs, apart from the certificate of completion that is given, they are taught by qualified and experienced professors who came from premier universities that are highly-regarded. The Credit Eligible Courses, which are tied with universities, are enrolled to acquire a degree. Next, they have the High School Courses which are intended for college-bound high school students who need preparation for incoming college course offerings. Finally, the Professional Development Courses improves the skill for professional jobs and includes actual on the job experience. There are a few of these courses that require prior subjects to be eligible to take the course.

EdX’s online course subjects are extensive which include Math, Medicine, Architecture, Art and Culture, Biology and life sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Communication, Computer Science, Data Analysis and Statistics, Design, Engineering, Economics, and Finance, Education and Teacher Training, Energy and Earth Sciences, Environment Studies, Ethics, Food and Nutrition, Health and Safety, History, Humanities, Language, Law, Literature, and many others.

Aside from the chance of gaining credits that may be applicable to other universities, there are many online courses that are given certificates. First, Professional Certificates are given to those who undergo the program that is designed by university and industry experts to enhance professional skills. another is the MicroMasters Certificate that can be obtained through master level courses. Then, the Xseries Certificates are attained by students who want to attain a wholesome and in-depth understanding of a given subject or course. These were developed by prominent scholars from world-class universities.

Tech Specs

EdX is built with Ubuntu, Django, Docker, and React. It runs on Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, and Open Stack. Most current browsers will work on edX.org. For best performance, the latest versions of Chrome or Firefox are recommended. In addition to these, EdX offers its services through the current versions of Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

The edX is also available on mobile devices. The app is free and available for smartphones and tablets on both Android and iOS platforms.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Free or low price
  • Offers diverse and numerous course offerings with certificates
  • Has an overall flexible learning system
  • Works in an open-source platform allowing faculty to share resources and materials

Cons

  • Not enough forums, discussion boards, and social community
  • Outdated discussion resources

Coursera

Company Background

In 2012, Andrew Ng and Dahpne Koller, both professors of the Computer Science Department of Stanford University, founded Coursera. They wanted online learning which offers courses that are available for everyone.  Starting 6 years ago, Coursera incorporated self-paced courses with the aim to curb conventional setups.

Stand-out Qualities

With more than 30 million users worldwide, it is the largest among MooCs currently available. Coursera’s goal is to deliver worldwide access to its courses through its online presence and applications for every student of its platform especially those individuals suffering from disabilities. It has partnered with professors from renowned universities with the aim to ensure expert-driven courses. There is an immense range of courses available which run to ten weeks. They give homework, assessments, exams, and culminating requirements in place of conventional college scenarios. In order to maintain a non-dormant social commenting section and rating of other students, they shifted to soft deadlines. Each session runs every month to permit learners to have the opportunity to move to the following sessions if any form of interference takes place. A completion certificate that is directly shareable to other platforms such as LinkedIn is given after every completion of each course.

Special Offers

Coursera offers more than 2000 courses with over 180 specializations and 10 master’s degrees. The lists of courses offered include Computer Science, Information Technology, Arts and Humanities, Health, Personal Development, Language Learning, Logic, Business, Physical Science, and Engineering. It has also widened its scope into disciples in practice. Coursera has various learning choices. For its courses which are taught by competent instructors from top-notch universities, a student can gain new skills in 4 to 6 weeks time with a certificate to boot. The amount of money you have to spend on each course are different from each other but they are all less than $100. Courses can be examined without charges with some restrictions on course handouts and certificates will not be given. For those who are interested in finishing learning in a specific area, users can choose to avail of prolonged and merged courses broadly called a specialization. You will receive a Certificate of Specialization after the course is finished in 4-6 months training at $59 to $79.

Online Degrees need about one to three years to complete and require online admission. These are more expensive and cost a maximum of $25,000 based on what the subject is. A Specialization Certificate is issued after finishing the course.

Tech Specs

Coursera supports the most recent versions of browsers on computers that include Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, and it highly recommends the use of Google Chrome. Requirements for using Coursera on a computer are a dependable Internet connection and a device that is not less than 1 GB of RAM. You will not be able to access Coursera. org on the browsers mentioned when you are using your mobile device. To use Coursera on a mobile device, you have to download the mobile app on your Android (5.0 +) or Apple (iOS 9.0+) devices.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Verified certificates
  • High-quality courses
  • Different languages available
  • Some courses are for free or at minimal costs

Cons

  • No full or certificate courses for free
  • Some content of courses are hidden behind paywalls
  • Little presence of search filters so courses are mostly found by selecting the pre-arranged categories
  • Interface not updated for more intuitive searching

Edx vs Coursera: Features face to face

Both Edx and Coursera are “massive open online courses” (MooCs) providers. The primary characteristics of MooCs are being open, big, and connectable. The crucial dissimilarities between EdX and Coursera are that EdX provides more courses in the field of Science. On the other hand, Coursera provides a more varied kinds of courses. Additionally, EdX gives free courses excluding certificates. Meanwhile, Coursera usually asks them to be paid for their courses. EdX provides numerous courses in the Natural Sciences and in the Humanities while Coursera gives more attention to professional training courses like Computer Science and business degrees. EdX is preferable among all MooCs at this aspect as it offers a wider array of courses, hence the choices of students are readily available.

Coursera and EdX are both supported by the most eminent, prestigious, and world-renowed universities. But in terms of the learning experience, EdX seems to offer a bit more vs Coursera that has a better interface, more features, and more choices, although EdX does not have as many complaints filed against it. EdX wins vs Coursera as the reactions of students are important considering that they are the users.

EdX degrees are counted in terms of weeks instead of hours. Some of these courses can be taken at your own pace but on Coursera, you rarely find a course that takes less than 10 hours to finish.   Coursera degrees can take months or as long as years. In any case, it is best for the student to complete courses at a reasonable time, after all, it is really a part-time university education. The comparison of EdX vs Coursera, in this case, goes to EdX as time is of the essence in online courses.

With regards to course materials and studying experiences, it varies based on the particular course. The choice for course mentors and full academic and technical support also matters. Both Coursera and EdX employ competent professors from prestigious institutions in the world. Most have masters or PhDs coupled with experience in their fields. The verdict for this category of EdX vs Coursera is a tie.

Both Coursera and EdX provide a blend of courses free of charge and those that require payment. Users are allowed to utilize this course as credit for participating universities. The pricing of EdX varies and you can only find out about it after checking on the course of a program while Coursera indicates prices for various course categories and choice upfront. Both EdX and Coursera offer courses free of charge with minimal fees if you want a certificate. Based on the customer reviews, they were not happy with the expensive subscription costs and there seems to be a problem with billing. The Forbes review agreed that improvements are needed in terms of billing and communications. It’s a tie!

Stand Out Features

  • EdX offers courses at your own pace within the allotted time in a number of weeks not hours.

This is advantageous for a working student as he or she has control over her schedule, and it gives him or her options with time management. There will be lesser stress which will help him/her do quality work.

  • Edx has numerous course offerings

With this, they can reach more users and satisfy more student needs.

  • Coursera offers courses that you can finish within 4 to 6 months at $40 to $80 per month.

Students who are strapped for cash can acquire a specialized course within a short period of time at little cost.

  • Coursera is the best in Computer Science

Because Coursera tied up with premier universities and professors of the top Departments of this field in the world, they can definitely help students who want to pursue a career in this discipline.

Conclusion

It’s really difficult to determine a champion when we have Coursera vs Edx face to face since user experience and needs vary from person to person. Edx can be good for a certain group of individuals while the rest prefer Coursera.

Use EdX if:

  • You are a high school student- more than 40 courses offered intended for college-bound students;
  • You want to advance your career and take a graduate-level course named MicroMasters  where you can pursue an accelerated Master’s Degree at minimal cost; or
  • You are interested in Natural and Physical Science courses.

Use Coursera if:

  • You want a specific, practical knowledge in a particular field or you want to take a specialization course to help you gain knowledge sought by employers within 4 to 6 months at a moderate cost per month; or
  • You want a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Business, or Data science but you do not want to quit jobs and move to another place to earn a top university degree. The online course of Coursera allows you to learn from the same professors and graduate with high credentials from the same university.

Both Coursera and EdX are excellent MooCs and online course providers especially in terms of quality of instruction. They have proven that they are excellent eLearning providers considering the fact that they have helped millions of students around the world. Moreover, in just a short period of time, you can acquire a completion certificate that is credited by many institutions. Courses in EdX and Coursera also provide many lessons that you will need in your jobs or professions and can even supplement learnings in school. Most important of all, you can study using these platforms anywhere and anytime and they are definitely credible so all your efforts studying with them will be worth your time. Despite this, you will still have to choose in the duel “Coursera vs EdX” and the controlling factor really depends on your particular needs. You must also consider what are your preferred course offerings, costs, time, and self-paced elements.