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Understanding EdX's New Support Fee

Posted in 'Course Providers' started by Carolyn, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Founder at MoocLab Staff Member

    Suffolk, UK
    You may have read recently that EdX is testing a new model by introducing a "Support Fee" on some of its courses. This move was quietly announced earlier this month in a blog post by Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, who said the nonprofit MOOC platform would be “moving away from our current model of offering virtually everything for free.”

    Since the nonprofitit launched in 2012, users could access most EdX courses free of charge by selecting the "Audit" option when enrolling on a course. Now some courses can only be accessed in return for a support fee from $9. EdX learners will continue to have the option to pay for a verified certificate and financial assistance will be available for those who need it.

    Currently, it seems only a handful of courses are involved in this experiment as it took me some time searching the EdX platform to find one. Eventually I did and you'll find below a description of how the new support fee works.

    The course I found was Mandarin Chinese Essentials by MandarinX. It offers two enrolment options - users can choose either to "unlock" the course with the Verified Certificate option for $99 or just gain access to the course for $9.

    Before deciding which option to choose, you can preview the course for free. Clicking on the Preview link takes you to a course overview page and access to the first lesson. After that you will have to "unlock the course" by choosing one of the two options.

    At this stage, we don't know how many courses will be put behind a paywall, but it is clear that EdX will continue to experiment with new ways to achieve sustainability. In Anant Agarwal's words, "Moving forward, we will continue to test ways that we can provide affordable access in order to ensure that edX and our partners have the necessary resources to continue to offer high-quality content, further develop features that improve the learning experience, continue to improve and offer our Open Edx software platform for free to anyone in the world that wants to use it, and continue to collaborate with our partners to invest in research that positively impacts the future of online learning."

    If you come across any other courses requiring a support fee, or indeed any other new form of payment structure on EdX, please feel free to share below.

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