3. Enrolling and Pursuing Certificates

This topic describes how to enroll in an edX course or program, select or change your enrollment track for a course, and verify your identity for certificates.

3.1. About edX Courses and Programs

EdX offers both individual courses and groups of related courses, called programs.

3.1.1. Course Enrollment Options

To learn about a course, select the course in the edX course catalog and review its About page. The About page provides information including a course description, the institution that offers the course, the hours of work that you should expect to spend on the course each week, and the enrollment options, or tracks, that the course offers.

When you enroll in an edX course, you select either the audit or verified enrollment track, depending on whether you want to earn a verified certificate for your course.

3.1.1.1. About the Audit Track

Most courses offer an audit track. The audit track does not include a certificate when you complete your course. The audit track is free of charge, and includes access to all course materials, including assignments and exams. You are automatically enrolled in the audit track when you enroll in a course.

After you enroll in the audit track, if the course offers a verified track and the deadline for enrolling in the verified track has not passed, you can upgrade to the verified track. For more information, see Upgrading to the Verified Track.

3.1.1.2. About the Verified Track

Many courses offer a verified track in addition to the audit track. The verified track awards verified certificates to learners who submit payment, verify their identities using a webcam and a government-issued photo ID, and pass the course.

When you enroll in the verified track, you pay a fee that varies by course. The fee helps support edX’s mission. The amount of the fee is listed on the About page for that course. If you are unable to pay the certificate fee, you can apply for financial assistance using the financial assistance application.

Note

When you enroll in the verified track, you must submit your payment before you can see course content. You do not have to verify your identity at that time. However, you must verify your identity before the deadline for verification in that course. For more information, see Verifying Your Identity.

If a course has a verified track, you see a “Verified” indication on the course image in the course catalog on edx.org.

Image of the DemoX course card with a verified indication.

For more information about enrolling in the verified track for a course, see Enrolling in a Course or Program or Upgrading to the Verified Track.

For a list of all courses that currently offer verified certificates, see the edX course catalog.

For more information about verified certificates, see Verified Certificates on the edx.org website.

3.1.2. Programs

In addition to taking individual edX courses, you can enroll in an XSeries program. An XSeries program is a group of courses that explore a specific subject in depth. An XSeries program offers an XSeries certificate after you earn a verified certificate for all of the courses in the program. All courses in an XSeries program offer verified certificates.

XSeries programs have an “XSeries program” indication in the course catalog on edx.org. To learn more about the program and its courses, select the program.

An image of the Systematic Program Design card with an XSeries indicator.

To complete an XSeries program, you must earn a verified certificate in each of the courses in the program.

For more information about XSeries programs, see XSeries Programs on edx.org.

For a list of all XSeries programs, see the edX course catalog.

3.2. Enrolling in a Course or Program

After you decide that you want to complete a course or program, you enroll in that course or program.

Note

Course instructors occasionally enroll learners directly in a course. If this is the case, you receive an email that contains a link to the course. Select the link to enroll in the course.

3.2.1. Enroll in the Audit Track for a Course

Audit track enrollment allows you to take a course free of charge. You do not receive a certificate when you complete the course.

To enroll in the audit track for a course, follow these steps.

  1. In the edX course catalog, select the course that you want to take.

  2. When the About page for the course opens, select Enroll Now.

    • In courses that offer only an audit track and in archived courses, you are enrolled immediately. (You can access course content for an archived course, but you cannot earn a grade.)
    • If the course also offers a verified track, select Audit this Course.
  3. If you are using a web browser, your course dashboard opens with a list of all of the courses you are enrolled in. To open the course, select View Course.

    If you are using the edX mobile app, the new course opens immediately.

You have the option to upgrade to a verified certificate within the deadline period specified for the course.

3.2.2. Enroll in the Verified Track for a Course

Verified track enrollment requires that you pay for the certificate and verify your identity with a webcam and a government-issued ID.

To pursue a verified certificate in a course, follow these steps.

  1. In the edX course catalog, the course catalog indicates courses that offer the verified track with the “Verified” banner. Select the course that you want to take.

  2. On the course About page, review information about the course including the price in US dollars for a verified certificate.

  3. Select Enroll Now.

  4. Select Pursue a Verified Certificate

  5. To pay with a credit card, select Checkout. To pay with PayPal, select Checkout with Paypal.

    • Payment is in US dollars.
    • You must pay the certificate fee before you can begin the course.
    • You do not have to verify your identity immediately, but you must verify your identity before the course ID verification deadline has passed. For more information, see Verifying Your Identity.
  6. If you are using a web browser, your course dashboard opens with a list of all of the courses you are enrolled in. To open the course, select View Course.

    If you are using the edX mobile app, the new course opens immediately.

3.2.3. Enroll in a Program

To enroll in a program, enroll in any course that is part of that program. You do not need to complete any additional steps.

After you enroll in a course, the XSeries program is listed on the Programs page on your learner dashboard. You can select the card for the XSeries program to go to a page that has more information about the program. On this page, you can view your progress through the program, enroll in more of the program’s courses, and view any certificates that you have earned.

3.3. Upgrading to the Verified Track

If you enroll in the audit track for a course on the edx.org website, and then decide to pursue a verified certificate, you can upgrade to the verified track until enrollment for verified certificates ends for the course. Enrollment in the verified track usually ends two or more weeks after the course start date.

3.3.1. Find the Deadline for Verified Enrollment

To find out the deadline for enrolling in or upgrading to the verified track for a course, follow these steps.

  1. On the edx.org website, select your public edX username in the top corner of the page. Your dashboard opens with a list of your courses.
  2. Locate the course you want to find the deadline for, and then select View Course.
  3. Select Home.
  4. In the Important Course Dates section at the side of the page, locate the Verification Upgrade Deadline.
    • The upgrade deadline appears in this section.
    • If this section is not present, the course does not offer a verified certificate or the verification deadline has passed.

3.3.2. Upgrade to the Verified Track

Verified track enrollment requires that you pay for the certificate and verify your identity with a webcam and a government-issued ID.

To upgrade to the verified track, follow these steps.

  1. On the edx.org website, select your public edX username in the top corner of the page. Your dashboard opens with a list of your courses.

  2. Under the name of your course select Upgrade to Verified Track.

    If there is no Upgrade to Verified Track option, the enrollment deadline for the verified track has passed.

  3. Follow the instructions to pay the certificate fee and verify your identity. For more information, see Enroll in the Verified Track for a Course.

After you submit a payment for the verified track, you can view information about that payment at any time. For more information, see Verify a Payment.

If you have questions about changing your enrollment track, contact the edX support team at technical@edx.org.

3.4. Managing Certificate Payments

After you pay for a verified edX certificate, you can review information about your payment. Within the deadline period, you can also get a refund.

3.4.1. Verify a Payment

To verify a payment or review information about your order history, follow these steps.

  1. On the edx.org website, select the dropdown menu next to your public edX username.

  2. Select Account.

    The dropdown menu that appears when you select the icon next to your username, with the Account option circled.
  3. Select Order History. The following information displays for each of your edX purchases.

    • The name of your course.
    • The date you placed your order.
    • The total charge for your order, in US dollars (USD).
    • The edX order number.
    • A link to a receipt for each order.
  4. To view information about a specific purchase, locate the transaction that you want, and then select Order Details.

If you have a question or an issue with your payment, contact edX at billing@edx.org. Include your order number, but do not include your credit card information.

3.4.2. Get a Refund

Important

You can receive a refund for a certificate fee up to 14 days after your payment or 14 days after the course start date, whichever is later. After these dates pass, edX cannot provide a refund.

To get a refund for a certificate fee, follow the steps for learners:unenrolling from a course.

After you unenroll, the edX support team will contact you with information about receiving your refund.

Optionally, you can re-enroll in the audit track for the course.

If you have questions about changing your enrollment track, contact the edX support team at technical@edx.org.

3.5. Verifying Your Identity

When you enroll in the verified track for a course, you must use a webcam to take a photograph of yourself and of a government-issued photo ID. You do not have to verify your identity immediately, but you must verify your identity before the course ID verification deadline. The deadline appears below the name of the course on your dashboard.

To verify your identity, you use a webcam to submit a photo of yourself and of a government-issued photo ID to edX’s authorization service. EdX encrypts your photos and uses the highest levels of security available to protect your data.

When you verify your identity for an edX course, that verification is effective for one year.

  • If you enroll in the verified track for another course, you must verify your identity for that course separately.
  • If you enroll in a course that offers academic credit, you might have to verify your identity periodically during the course. For more information, see Taking a Course for Academic Credit.

3.5.1. Preparing to Verify Your Identity

When you enroll in the verified track for a course, you must use a webcam to take a photograph of yourself and of a government-issued photo ID. Before you begin the identity verification process, follow these recommendations to make the process as straightforward as possible.

  • Make sure that you have access to a webcam.

    If your computer does not have a webcam, edX recommends that you find out if your local library has a webcam that you can use, or that you borrow a friend’s webcam. If you have a smartphone that has a camera, you can also verify your identity by visiting the following page in the smartphone’s browser.

    https://courses.edx.org/verify_student/reverify

    You can sign in to one computer or smartphone to verify your identity, and then sign in to the computer that you typically use to complete the course. If you do not use a webcam to verify your identity, you cannot receive a verified certificate.

  • Compare the way that your name appears when you sign in to edx.org to the way it appears on your ID card. Your name must be the same for both, including the type of characters used (Roman or non-Roman), accented characters, initials, and spelling.

    You can update your edX account name at any time on the edX account settings page. You also have the opportunity to change your edX account name during the identity verification process.

  • Make sure that your identification card is government issued, such as a driver’s license or passport.

  • Make sure that your name is legible, and that your name and photo are visible together on a single image.

    If your name and your photo are on two different pages, or on the front and back of a single page, you can copy both pages onto a single piece of paper. Make sure that your name is legible in the copy.

  • Make sure that you can adjust the lighting for the photographs.

    For the webcam to focus, there needs to be enough light on your face and your ID. You might need to change the position or brightness of a lamp, or change your position, to improve the lighting for the photographs.

3.5.2. Verify Your Identity

To verify your identity, follow these steps.

  1. Make sure that you have a webcam and a government-issued photo ID available.

  2. Start the verification process by completing one of the following actions.

    • If you have not yet enrolled in the course, enroll in the verified track, submit your payment information, and then select Verify Now on the payment confirmation page.
    • If you enrolled in the audit track of the course, upgrade to the verified track.
    • If you enrolled in the verified track and submitted payment but you have not yet verified your identity, on your dashboard of courses select Verify Now next to the course.
  3. At the top of your browser window, a message asks you to share the camera with edx.org. To see and respond to this message every time you take or retake a photograph for the verification process, select Share Selected Device. To share the webcam throughout the process select Always Share.

  4. On the Take Your Photo page, select the camera icon to take a photo of your face.

    For information about how to take a good photo, review the To take a successful photo guidelines beside your image.

  5. Review your photo to make sure that it is well-lit and fills the available space.

    • If you are not satisfied with the photo, select Retake Photo.
    • When you are satisfied with the photo, select Next: Take a photo of your ID.
  6. On the Take a Photo of Your ID page, hold your government-issued photo ID up to the webcam on your computer. Make sure that the image of your ID is legible, and then select the camera icon to take a photo of your ID.

  7. Review the photo of your ID to make sure that it is well-lit and fills the available space.

    • If you are not satisfied with the photo, select Retake Photo.
    • When you are satisfied with the photo, select Next: Review your Info.
  8. On the Review Your Photos page, review the photos of your face and of your ID. Make sure that the photos meet all of the requirements listed under Photo requirements.

    If the name on your ID is different from your edX account name, select Edit Your Name. You must edit your edX account name to exactly match the name on your ID.

    The Review Your Photos page with a photo of an ID with non-Roman characters and a callout indicating where the learner enters his full name.

    For example, if your ID shows your name in Chinese characters, but your edX account name appears in Roman characters, you must update your edX account name to match the name on your ID.

  9. After you make sure that your photos meet all of the requirements listed under Photo requirements select Confirm.

    A message confirms that you have submitted your photos.

After edX’s authorization service examines your photos, a message on your dashboard informs you whether the verification process was successful. If the verification process was not successful, you must submit new verification photos. You can begin the verification process again by selecting Verify Your Identity.

3.5.3. Troubleshooting the Identity Verification Process

If you have a problem during the identity verification process, these suggestions might help you find a resolution.

  • Make sure that you are using a supported browser.

    You can also switch from one browser, such as Internet Explorer or Safari, to another browser, such as Firefox or Chrome.

  • To take photographs, the webcam uses Adobe Flash Player. You might need to install this application or update to the latest version.