edX collage
Screenshot: edxstories.tumblr.com

EdX, the not-for-profit online learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard, just celebrated its second birthday with an online birthday party and a bit of introspection. Last week, a research team from the two schools released demographic information from its debut 2012–13 academic year.

A report in the Boston Globe notes the global reach of the platform: almost three quarters of first-year registrants resided outside the US, with the largest international slice, 13 percent, from India, followed by the UK, Brazil, Canada, and Spain. (It’s not just the users who are global, incidentally: universities from Australia to France to India to Hong Kong are now using the platform to make their courses available.)

The report also notes that in the endeavor’s first year, one-third of students did not hold a college degree, 29 percent were female, and 6 percent were age 50 or older.

As for whether registrants actually completed their courses, that’s a trickier statistic. The report states that 5 percent of the 842,000 students who registered for edX courses in 2012–13 earned certificates. While that seems like a low percentage—putting aside that a much larger group audited the material—it means that more than 42,000 people earned certificates in edX’s first year alone. That figure exceeds the current student bodies of MIT and Harvard combined.

In total, some 2.3 million students in 196 countries have used edX to date. Read some of their stories, in their own words, on the edX Tumblr.

Read the full story about edX demographics in the Boston Globe.

Watch Katie Couric interview edX CEO Anant Agarwal.

Check out a video from edX’s birthday party.

And, see Popular Science’s takeaway on auditing a class: “Learn to Be a Roboticist—in Your Undies.

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