Open edX

Open edX LMS Review by

With backing from the likes of Google, MIT, and Harvard, Open EdX LMS brings together a long list of features within an open-source platform. Available both online and as a mobile app, the system includes course licensing options, certificates, group discussions, and more. Users can also access a large collection of community-made, pre-build content that’s available for free. It’s a no-cost solution that continues to improve.

Open EdX LMS Brings Educators & Technologists Together

Open EdX LMS is the result of an innovative project with three primary goals. The team behind this open-source solution wanted to expand access to education to everyone, enhance teaching both online and on campus, and advance learning through research. The platform is made available to anyone so that educational institutions and organizations can host and modify the system to meet their needs.

What Do You Get with Open EdX LMS?

One of the biggest draws to Open EdX is the way it allows the user to tailor the system to their needs. Since it’s an open-source LMS, users can modify it to meet any specifications necessary. There are core features that the platform comes with, including:

    • EdX Insights Reports

EdX Insights provides users with access to important data related to courses and learners. Users can track activity and monitor performance. The information provided can help users determine if recent changes are working or make decisions about future updates to functionality and course content. Metrics include enrollment, engagement, ungraded problem submissions, and graded content submissions.

    • Student Performance Tracking

One of the newer additions to EdX LMS is student performance tracking through their Insights reporting tools. Colorful graphs can be generated based on assignment data. Users can easily visualize the difference between correct and incorrect answers given by students. Individual problems can also be reviewed. Results can be downloaded for easy sharing or recordkeeping.

    • Improved Site Search

The site search is available to help users find courses and more. Users can enter a school name, subject, or course to find results. Filters are available so users can view by type with options for professional education, verified, and high school or by availability with options for current, starting soon, and archived courses.

    • Digital Course Certificates

Users can create certificates for courses. These can be edited in the Studio with preview options. Edit assets and metadata for certificates or use base templates. Learners who earn certificates can view them in their browser with an option to print a hardcopy. Badges can also be awarded that can be shared to sites like Mozilla Backpack.

    •  Group Discussions

Open EdX supports groups and communities. Users can host discussions with larger course-wide communities or create smaller, more specific groups. Learners can be assigned a group based on different requirements or as an automated or random process. Members of a group can only see and contribute to posts made by their fellow group members. Open discussion topics can also be posted that are available to everyone.

    • Group Course Content

Content can be restricted to certain groups of learners. Users can define groups of any size and allow them to access specific courses. This allows the user to create content that targets the needs of multiple audiences within a larger community.

    • Built-in Notetaking

Some content can be made available with the option to add notes. This content is identified by a blue pencil icon that appears in the lower corner of the page. Students can type in notes and highlight text as they learn. The notes can be saved and are searchable with the option to add tags.

    • Integrate Courses with Google

Open EdX integrates with Google Drive and Google Calendars. Users can add content from both apps to a course. Learners can view schedules and files including spreadsheets, images, and other documents.

    • Build a Library

Libraries can be created in the Open EdX Studio. These can be filled with video, problem, and HTML components then delivered to learners based on course access. Teams can also add a randomized content block that presents content from a library.

    • Prepare Students for Courses

Users can make sure their students are ready for the next course with entrance exams and prerequisites. A single course can have one or both as a requirement before a learner gains access to the content.

    • Create Shareable Profiles

Learners and educators can create an EdX profile that can be shared online. The user can add interests, location, language details, and an image as well as a paragraph describing them, their goals, background, or anything else they would like to share. Full profiles can be shown, or the user can opt for a limited profile which only displays their username and profile image.

    • eCommerce with Bulk Course Buying

Organizations that want to earn income for their training and educational material can use Open EdX’s ecommerce tools. The system supports bulk course buying, which allows users to sell course enrollments for multiple learners as one package. Users can also sell course enrollment on an individual basis.

    • Course Licensing & Creative Commons

Users can specify the type of license that comes with a course or videos within a course from the Settings & Details page. Options include All Rights Reserved or multiple settings for Creative Commons that outline legal use and restrictions.

An Open-Source LMS with a Solid Foundation

An open-source LMS provides organizations with a way to develop a platform that works for them without building it from the ground up. The downside is that features may be lacking or not very detailed. Open EdX manages to address this problem with a solid foundation for anyone to start customizing their LMS on. The features list covers all major areas, and the system continues to improve to offer more options. Open EdX incorporates modern functionality that encourages student participation while making life easier for educators and administrators.

Who Uses Open EdX LMS?

The Open EdX LMS user base leans toward the academic side of the spectrum, with many well-known schools utilizing the system. There are millions of users from both universities and businesses that access the MOOC portal. Their current user base includes Arizona State University, Stanford, Harvard, Duke, and The George Washington University. Businesses and organizations like Amnesty International, Microsoft, MongoDB, International Monetary Fund, and Johnson and Johnson also develop courses with Open EdX.

Supported Devices & Platforms

Open EdX LMS provides users with online and mobile access. The mobile app allows users to access course discussions, text components, and basic assessment types from anywhere. Learners can also view courses before registering on their device. There are plans to expand mobile functionality to include better controls and settings for people working with limited data plans as well as performance upgrades, multiple language support, and additional improvements requested through app review feedback.

Open EdX LMS Customer Service

When using a free, open-source LMS, most users understand that customer support may be limited. Open EdX provides users with access to documentation covering all features and components. These can be viewed online, printed, or downloaded as a PDF. Users can read release notes, the XBlock tutorial, and learner’s and developer’s guides. Mailing lists are available as well as community discussions and real-time chat on Slack. The team also maintains a Twitter account and users can submit bug reports online.

The Future of Open EdX LMS

Open EdX LMS has enjoyed global success. It was developed by Harvard University and MIT with strong support from other well-known schools, including UC Berkley and Georgetown. Its MOOC portal serves over 5 million users across 500 courses and 50 international organizations. As the system continues to evolve and improve, that user base will likely continue to grow.

An Open-Source LMS That Does It All

Backing by several large and profitable organizations has allowed Open EdX LMS to become what it is today. The system offers a wide range of features and gives users the power to create a platform that meets their unique needs without a huge financial investment. Its basic features cover most areas an organization could need, like ecommerce, enrollment, and certificates. While it may not offer the same level of customer service that other, non-open-source systems do, its huge community has produced a vast knowledgebase of documentation and pre-built course content that users can implement for free. It’s a customizable and cost-effective way to manage training and education.

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