If you are a devoted employee or leader, the chances are that you have commenced a time-consuming search for online courses for professional development. As the pandemic ebbs and flows, we are restricted to our four walls to mull over how unpredictable life is. As an educator, I felt trapped within a cage of quiet yearning for the days when we used to have sessions with our coordinator, chuckled together at workshops, and engaged in meaningful discussions in the hallway. Virtual meetings were informational but lacked the spark to propel me forward in my teaching journey.
When I set my sights on combing the net for online courses, I came across an array of platforms proclaiming to be the one that would thrust my career forward. I spent ages researching the validity of these claims and guaranteeing that I would not spoil my time on something fake or undeserving of my attention. I finally narrowed down my search to two big players in the field-namely Coursera and EdX. I have written a detailed review for Coursera on my blog; click on the link to have a look- https://reviewmirror.in/2021/02/08/coursera-is-it-worth-it/
I completed many professional development classes on Coursera from reputed colleges such as London University, University of Illinois, and more. I subscribed to their annual fee model and enjoyed taking classes by clicking a button at my leisure. The courses for educators were numerous, and I savoured my time spent researching each one and making my final pick. Pleased as I was with Coursera, something kept drawing me back to EdX. I will be honest, it was Harvard University.
You may have a good laugh at that, but to me it was an opportunity to inch towards the honor of attending a college like Harvard where I would never be able to in the stark light of reality. It took me closer to my aspirations of learning from experts that were sought after the world over.
Upon closer scrutiny, EdX consisted of predominantly STEM subjects and proffered courses related to material I was unfamiliar with. There were definitely enough courses to choose from in the education sector; however, it was a lack of an annual plan that deterred me from taking on EdX. When I signed up for Coursera’s yearly program, I realized that I devour online courses. Once I commence something new, I cannot stop and constantly obsess over the material until I see a tick mark in every segment to be completed. I knew that I would probably gain more certificates than what I paid for in the annual subscription as one can take unlimited courses for a year on Coursera Plus. However, with EdX, each course has a whopping fee of Rs 7000 approx. per course. Logistically, this meant that I had to reflect and debate on whether the certificate and knowledge I would gain would be merit the money I spent.
I determined that I would undertake a HarvardX course because that would unquestionably be worth the fee. After getting my preliminary verification done by surrendering an ID proof, I was raring to get underway with ‘Leaders of Learning’ by HarvardX. I paid approximately Rs. 7500 for the course (prices may vary now). One can also ‘audit’ the modules, which implies that a learner can peruse the resources for free but will not be able to access the graded assignments or receive a certificate at the culmination of the course. That was not a feasible option for me as a certificate from HarvardX would carry a lot of weight on my CV. At the outset, I grasped that the interface is not as user-friendly as Coursera. The layout is a bit bland and seems sterile with their black and white colour scheme, but I had high hopes for the content.
I was undoubtedly pleased with the actual subject matter of the course but found it slightly tricky to navigate between modules, videos, and assignments. When I completed the course, I received a certificate from HarvardX, which looked highly professional, and I was happy to share it on social media and with my management team. They respected my efforts to upscale my teaching capabilities and I was grateful for my decision.
Once I was done with Leaders of Learning, I pondered on whether I would take on another certificate path from EdX. The short answer is- no, I probably would not. I emphasize the word ‘probably’ since I have observed some new courses related to education cropping up on EdX and am curious, but I feel that the margin is skewed when considering the cost vs. product. I want to pursue more of these professional development avenues, but if I had to spend that amount of money every time, I would be a pauper very soon. I also have my Coursera annual subscription going on simultaneously, so I pick up multiple courses or guided projects at a time without stressing about a thing.
Have you done any EdX courses? Share your experiences below in the comments!