Create a course site rich with media, integrated assessment activities, and peer assessment with this flexible, open source platform.

In August 2014, UBC joined edX as a Charter Member and contributor, adding the open source edX software to the ecosystem of tools instructors can use.  Through the partnership, UBC will be offering MOOCs and Professional Education courses on edx.org and giving instructors access to a separate installation of the edX software for on campus blended courses at edge.edx.org.  It is the open source edX platform in both places, but edx.org is for public courses that are widely available to the world and edge.edx.org (Edge) is for UBC courses.

How does edX Work?

Create Course Structure

Create a course structure.

Organize your course materials into sections and build learning sequences.

Compose content.

Compose content.

Add materials to course units by using the different components available: simple text editor, problem questions, discussions, etc.



Once you are ready to share your content, click “Publish” and make the content available to your students!

How Are UBC Arts Instructors Using edX?

How are UBC Arts Instructors Using EdX?

UBC MOOCs offered by the Faculty of Arts on edx.org:

UBC Courses offered by the Faculty of Arts on edx.edge.org:

  • Dr. Brian Job (Political Science) – POLI 360A: Security Studies
    • Dr. Brian Job utilized edx.org to deliver all course materials including course readings, videos, assignment information, and discussion questions. The decision to use edX was because of the simple, fast, and user friendly interface that allows students to easily access course content . Edx.org also allowed the instructor to structure his course so students are following a learning sequence for each module. Students were not required to complete any graded assignments or assessments online.
  • Dr. Allen Sens (Political Science) and Dr. Matthew Yedlin (Electrical Engineering) – POLI377/APSC377: Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control
    • Dr. Allen Sens and Dr. Matthew Yedlin used the EdX platform to deliver all course materials. Each module consists of multiple videos that are followed with multiple choice questions to check students’ understanding of the material.
  • Dr. Peter Graf and Dr. Catherine Rawn (Psychology) – PSYC 101: Introduction to Biological and Cognitive Psychology
    • Dr. Peter Graf and Dr. Catherine Rawn used the EdX platform as a component of their course. A Peer Assessment Training Workshop was developed using the EdX Edge platform. Students work through a series of phases that allow them to practice evaluating their peers’ essays and providing critical and constructive comments. Each phase consists of questions and feedback videos that help guide students through the peer evaluation process.
  • Christine D’Onofrio (Visual Arts) – VISA110: Digital Media
    • Christine D’Onofrio used Connect as the primary platform in conjunction with edX. Connect Grade Centre was an important tool in the course for the instructor and TAs to record and provide students with their grades. EdX was used to include content such as videos and self check-up questions as it provided the functionality of being able to add problem questions directly after a video. The follow-up questions are to ensure students’ understand the important concepts covered in the video. Problem questions in EdX also allowed the instructor to be able to provide immediate feedback for the answer options. The EdX content was embedded into Connect so it is a seamless integration for the students and they will not have to log into two platforms.


  • Allows you to integrated course content assessment activities
  • Easy to organize your materials into distinct sections and learning sequences
  • Easy to add text and media using the built-in content editor
  • Support for A/B testing for content and assessment experiements
  • Uploaded/embedded videos support closed-captioning
  • Ability to add transcripts for video and allow learners to download and read them offline
  • Supports a range of peer activities such as peer assessment, peer instruction and teams
  • Online assessments supports advanced problem type questions
  • Ability to embed Google calendars, Google Drive files, and Google Hangouts in your course


  • The use of edX Edge on campus is still in the early stages.  Before using it with your class, make sure to seek consultation with Arts ISIT
  • Requires basic knowledge of HTML/XML when creating advanced problem questions.
  • Gradebook functionality is limited. It does not allow for complicated grade calculations using formulas; no option to manually add additional grading columns (like in Canvas).
  • Student submissions for Open Response Assessments cannot be downloaded directly from the user interface (can be requested through EdX). Instructors will need to view student submissions and evaluations individually by searching for the student in EdX.


Canvas-edX LTI: Different integration options are now available! Whether you would like to only use edX, mainly Canvas but certain tools in edX, or both edX and Canvas equally, there are different options available.

  • CWL integration into edge.edx.org
  • Embedded LTI content into Canvas
  • LTI user integration into edX


Problem Questions

Problem Questions

Choose from a variety of problem type questions ranging from multiple choice, drop down, text input questions to more advanced problem types such as image mapped input, math expression input, custom javascript input, etc. Certain question types also allow for hints and targeted feedback.

Student Progress

Student Progress

Students can track their progress for graded materials to see how they are doing in the course.

Word Cloud Tool

Word Cloud Tool

Create a word cloud to appear as a colourful graphic generated from students’ responses.

Poll Tool

Poll Tool

Ask questions in your course and have students poll to gather quickly gather feedback from students in the course.

Student Cohorts

Student Cohorts

Create smaller communities in your course or provide learners with different course experiences by creating cohorts. Create discussion topics that are divided by cohorts to allow students to communicate privately within their assigned groups.

Open Response Assessments

Open Response Assessments

Create Self or Peer Assessments that allow students to submit text responses in which they will compare their own response (self-assessment) or their peers’ response (peer assessment) to a rubric developed by the instructor.


Certificates (for MOOC courses only)

Ability to issue certificates of achievement to students that complete the course.



Access data about the course you are running such as student activity, video analytics, and problem performance.

Student Grades and Grading

Students Grades and Grading

Configure your grading criteria, access student grades, check the progress of a single learner, and make grade adjustments.

Ideas for Using edX

  • Automated Assessment: Create multiple choice questions integrated within your content for students to check their understanding of the materials covered. Include targeted feedback to let students know why they got a question wrong or adaptive hints to guide students in the right direction.
  • Peer Assessments: Having peers to assess each other’s work is one great way to reduce your workload and to generate timely feedback especially if you have large classes. Incorporating peer assessments also encourages learning so that students can learn from the successes or mistakes of others and giving them the opportunity to advance in deeper understanding of the subject matter.
  • Cohorts: Create discussion cohorts to help students develop a sense of community and encourage more meaningful discussions. Consider assigning students to cohorts manually based on different factors such as education, discipline, experiences, etc, to have a more even distribution across cohorts. You can also have students assigned to cohorts randomly as well.
  • Content Experiments (also known as “A/B tests”): Use content experiments to display different course content to different groups of students. This will allow you to research and compare students’ overall performance from different groups and evaluate the effectiveness of your course content

Tips for using edX

  • Schedule a meeting or consultation with the Arts Learning Centre (arts.helpdesk@ubc.ca) to discuss how you would like to use EdX and the options available.
  • Let your students know in advance or include it in your Syllabus that you will be using the EdX platform as most students will assume their course is on Canvas.
  • When using the discussion forum, pin interesting/important threads so they appear on the top of the menu. This prevents students from missing anything important as the discussion threads increase.
  • (MOOCs) Contact the students who have taken your course previously to see if they are interested in becoming a community TA for your next course offering. They act as great resources for students!


  • Time for Training and Content Development: Time and technical training is required to learn the system, as student satisfaction is tied to a smooth process (particularly when marks are involved). Although there is upfront time commitment, this won’t be required for subsequent terms and students will continue to enjoy the benefits.
  • Instructor Workload to monitor discussion: It can be time consuming in large classes to monitor all of the student comments. If there are TA’s, a good workflow is for them to monitor the activity that happens in the discussion forum such as questions and comments that come up and then flag anything that is important for the instructor to address in more detail

edX Resources

  • Request an edX edge course shell:  Please fill out the form to request an edX edge shell for on campus use.  Contact Arts ISIT for a consultation if you wish to use edX with your course so we can help you with integration.
  • About edX edge at UBC: Information about edX edge posted on the UBC Flexible Learning website.
  • EdX Docs: Online documentation (updated by edX) that provides you with instructions on you how to build your course and use the different tools.

Below are three self-paced courses offered by EdX that is helpful in familiarizing yourself with the edX platform:

  • Overview of Creating an edX Course: A quick course designed to help you explore all of the different steps that go into planning and building an ed course. Perfect for instructors or institutional leadership interested in building a MOOC on edX.
  • DemoX: A fun and interactive course designed to help you explore the edX learning experience (as a student). Perfect to take before you start your course.
  • Blended Learning with edX: Self-Paced course that allows you to explore ways to blend educational technology with traditional classroom learning to improve educational outcomes. Perfect for instructors or institutional leadership interested in creating blending learning experiences in edX.

edX Site Request Form

Discuss ideas and options with the Arts Learning Centre Drop by the Arts Learning Centre for a chat in Buchanan C105A
Email Arts ISIT Helpdesk Contact ArtsISIT arts.helpdesk@ubc.ca for assistance or a demonstration!
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