edX has discontinued the free honor code certificates, although the old ones will remain valid. Instead, learners will be able to audit courses without a fee and have the option to apply for financial assistance to help cover 90% of the cost of verified certificates.
New courses on edx.org now offer two types of certificates: Verified and XSeries.
“It seems that the top two MOOC providers in the world, Coursera and edX, are going along a similar path as they too strive to achieve sustainability. Both have made announcements to the effect that they will remove a key component of the MOOC experience,” writes Dhawal Shah in Class-Central.com this week.
Before edX and Coursera, Udacity pioneered this formula by stopping free certificates, making graded assignments a paid feature and creating their own type of credential (Nanodegree). This way Udacity reached profitability.
In this fight to generate revenue, some universities are doing well.
- Johns Hopkins University made at least $3.5 million in less than a year from the sales of verified certificates for its nine Data Science Specialization courses.
- HarvardX, with more than three million enrollments on edX, obtained $435,000 from verified certificates, $400,000 from course donations and $300,000 from sublicensing income.