Tool Reviews



Watch overview videoOpen EdX – An Open Source MOOC Platform (6:50)


Open EdX is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. As a course provider, it allows multimedia content, learning exercises with potentially immediate grading, online discussion forums, and other tools such as online laboratories to be integrated into the content.

Justification for Using this Tool

Extremely flexible in scale, availability, and course design

As a MOOC, Open EdX can be scaled to any number of participants, can provide open available content or be monetized, can be used in local networks or openly online, and the content and approach the course takes is up to the creators. Open EdX works across devices and platforms and can work with third-party programs.

High levels of support and widely available documentation

Open EdX is a platform widely used by university, corporations, NGOs, and entrepreneurs and has a corresponding amount of documentation and technical support. Documentation assists those who want to self-manage Open EdX or want more customization such as analytics or accessibility (Ruiperez-Valiente, J. A., Munoz-Merino, P. J., Gascon-Pinedo, J. A., & Kloos, C. D., 2016; Sánchez Gordón, S., & Luján-Mora, S., 2015). Full management by service partners is another option, allowing difficult high scale implementations to be available to people and organizations regardless of technical skill level (Aune N., 2015)

The Open EdX Studio allows for many powerful learning features

The Open EdX studio allows for a variety of components, including multimedia, interactive elements and tools. Users can be allowed to create their own units for different approaches such as project-based learning. Collaboration can be done synchronously through chat components with video or asynchronously. Other learning tools can be integrated into Open EdX as components, such as Google Docs or internal wikis. I feel it is an incredibly powerful tool capable of making courses for the 25 learning principles presented by Halpern, Grasser, and Hakel (2007).

Strategies for Use

Strategy 1 – Self-Managed Strategy with Tutor One-Click Implementation

Watch overview videoSelf-Managed Strategy with Tutor One-Click Implementation (6:26)

Strategy 2 – Full-Managed Strategy with Appsembler

Watch overview videoFull-Managed Strategy with Appsembler (4:48)

Helpful Resources

Resource 1 – Open EdX website

The Open EdX website provides options for starting and content available through the platform in a user-friendly and easy to digest format.

Resource 2 – Open EdX Documentation

This documentation covers the usability of Open EdX across multiple roles, whether as a course learner, instructor, developer, or educational researcher.


Aune, N. (2015, August 16). Why Open edX hosting is so complicated. [Web log post].  Appsembler. Available from:

Díaz, H. J. P., Ruiz, J. S., Ruipérez-Valiente, J. A., Muñoz-Merino, P. J., & Kloos, C. D. (2015). Using video visualizations in open edX to understand learning interactions of students. In Design for Teaching and Learning in a Networked World (pp. 522-525). Springer, Cham. Available from:

Ruiperez-Valiente, J. A., Munoz-Merino, P. J., Gascon-Pinedo, J. A., & Kloos, C. D. (2016). Scaling to massiveness with ANALYSE: A learning analytics tool for open edX. IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 47(6), 909-914. Available from:

Ruiz, J. S., Díaz, H. J. P., Ruipérez-Valiente, J. A., Muñoz-Merino, P. J., & Kloos, C. D. (2014, October). Towards the development of a learning analytics extension in open edX. In Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality (pp. 299-306). Available from:

Sánchez Gordón, S., & Luján-Mora, S. (2015). Adaptive content presentation extension for open edX. Enhancing MOOCs accessibility for users with disabilities. [PDF file]. Available from:

Stephen Downes (2011). The MOOC Guide. [Web page]. Available From:

Halpern, D.F., Graesser, A., & Hakel, M. (2007).  25 learning principles to guide pedagogy and the design of learning environments. [PDF file]. Washington, DC: Association of Psychological Science taskforce on Lifelong Learning at Work and at Home. Available From:


Submitted by: Stephen Lizak
Web Page:
Bio: Stephen has worked for over a decade educating students across a variety of ages in the math and sciences. He has worked at Conestoga College as a teaching assistant, as a tutor for the drop-in service in the math center, at CHELP Tutor School, and as an independent tutor. He is now a graduate student at Ontario Tech University.

Stephen’s projects include development of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) manipulatives and AR/VR online course content.


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E-Learning Essentials 2020 Copyright © 2020 by Power Learning Solutions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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