2. Getting Started on edX

This topic provides an introduction to edx.org and edX Edge and describes the steps you take before you begin your first course.

2.1. Introducing edx.org and edX Edge

EdX hosts courses on the edx.org and edX Edge websites.

  • The edx.org website has massive open online courses (MOOCs) that are designed and led by edX partner organizations. This website lists all available courses publicly, and learners from around the world can find and enroll in these courses. When we refer to “edX” accounts and courses we are referring to accounts and courses on edx.org.
  • EdX Edge has small private online courses (SPOCs), which are often created for use on campus or within an organization. Courses on Edge frequently limit enrollment. Edge does not list available courses publicly. To enroll in a course on Edge, you must receive an email message with an invitation to enroll and the course URL from the course team. You do not need to create an account on Edge unless you have received an invitation to enroll in an Edge course.


While edX hosts both of these websites, the user accounts for edx.org and edX Edge are separate. If you take courses on both sites, you must complete the account registration process separately for each site.

2.2. Creating and Activating an Account

You can create an account for edX or edX Edge in different ways.

  • You can create an entirely new edX or edX Edge account.
  • You can use an existing social media account, such as a Facebook or Google account, to create an edX or edX Edge account.
  • On edX Edge, if your organization provides linked accounts, you can use your account with that organization to create an edX Edge account.


If you do not use an existing social media or linked organization account to create an edX account, you can still link these external accounts to your edX account later. For more information, see Link or Unlink a Social Media Account. If you link your accounts, you sign in to your edX or edX Edge account automatically whenever you sign in to the external account.

Registering an account for edX or edX Edge has two steps.

  1. Create an account on the edX.org or edX Edge website, or from the edX mobile app (for edX.org accounts only).
  2. Activate the account by following a link in an email message that you receive after your account is created.

2.2.1. Create an Account

When you create, or register, an account, you specify a public username that will represent you on edX or on edX Edge. Because your username, and not your full name, is used to identify you to course team members and other learners, edX recommends that you select your username carefully. You cannot change your public username after you register.

You also provide your full name, which appears on any certificates that you earn. You can change your full name at any time. For more information, see learners:SFD Basic Information.

To register an edX or edX Edge account, follow these steps.

  1. Go to the edX or edX Edge registration page.

  2. (Optional) To link your external social media or organization account to the edX account that you are about to create, select the external account that you want, and follow the steps on the page that opens. After you follow the steps on that page, you return to the edx.org or edX Edge registration page.

  3. On the registration page, enter the required information for your new account. Fields that are marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

    On Edge, if you linked your account to an organization account, some of this information might be provided for you.

  4. Verify that you entered your email address correctly. You must reply to the activation message that edX sends to this address to complete the account creation process.

  5. (Optional) Enter additional information, such as your date of birth. This information can help course teams better understand their learners and improve their courses.

  6. Accept the edX terms of service and honor code.

  7. Select Create your account.

When you create your account, edX sends an account activation email message to the email address that you provided. This message contains instructions for activating your account. You must use this email message to activate your account before you enroll in any courses.

If you linked your edX Edge account to an organization account, your account might be activated and you might be enrolled in your course automatically. If that is true, you will go directly to your dashboard, where your course will be visible.

2.2.2. Activate an Account


If you sign out of your edX or edX Edge account, you cannot sign in again until you activate your account. You also cannot enroll in any courses until you activate your account.

To activate your account, you use the email message that you receive from edX when you create your account.

  1. In your email client, locate the account activation message from edX. If you do not see this message, your email client may have categorized the message as spam.
  2. Follow the instructions in the activation email message to activate your account.

After you activate your account, your browser automatically opens to an “Activation Complete” page that contains a link to your dashboard.

After you create and activate your account, if you want to modify your account information, reset your password, or link or unlink accounts, go to the Account Settings page.

2.3. Solving a Sign In Problem

To sign in to edx.org, go to https://courses.edx.org/login. If you receive an error message or encounter another problem when you try to sign in, try these troubleshooting techniques for solving sign in problems.

2.3.1. What if I get an “email or password incorrect” message?

If you get this message when you try to sign in, try these solutions.

  • Verify that the email address you entered on the sign-in page is the same as the one that you registered for an edX account.
  • Verify that you completed the account registration process for edx.org: use the same email address to create an account a second time.
    • If the account exists, a message indicates that you entered a duplicate email address.
    • If an account with that email address does not exist, you can use the account that you create to enroll and access courses.
  • Change your password: under the Password field select Forgot Password. You receive an email message with a link to follow to reset your password.

2.3.2. What if I get another error message?

If you get another error message, check your browser for these obstacles to successful sign in.

  • Verify that you are using a supported browser, such as the latest version of Firefox or Chrome. For more information about the browsers that you can use to access edx.org, see edX Browser Support.
  • Verify that you have cookies and JavaScript enabled for your browser.
  • Clear your browser’s cache, and then reload the sign in page and try again.

2.3.3. What if I forgot my password?

On the sign-in page, under the Password field you can select Forgot Password. You receive an email message with a link to follow to reset your password.

If you are already signed in, you can reset your password on the Account Settings page.

2.3.4. What if I did not receive an email message from edX?

To activate an account that you register, or to reset your password, you follow a link that edX sends to you in an email message. A number of issues can prevent the message from reaching you successfully.

  • An automated filter could have identified the message as junk or spam.
  • Your email provider could have blocked the message.
  • There could have been an error in the email address that you provided.
  • You account registration could have failed due to a connection error or other unexpected problem.

EdX only sends email messages to the email addresses for registered accounts. If you do not receive an email message that you expect, check for these common problems.

2.4. Learning About Learning Online

If you are new to online learning, you might want to take the edX Demo course. EdX provides this demonstration course to give you a way to explore and learn how to take an edX course.