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What are the system requirements for this course?

The course was tested on recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. We’ve found some bugs in assessments that occur on Safari, and do not recommend using it. While it is possible to access the course on tablets and other mobile devices, some parts of the course do not function correctly, and it is recommended that you take the course on a laptop or desktop to have full functionality.

How do I earn the ID Verified Certificate? 

Online learners who achieve a passing grade of at least 60 percent in ContractsX can get a certificate. These certificates will indicate that you have successfully completed the course, but will not include a specific grade. Certificates will be issued by HarvardX. 

Is there an ID verified Certificate?

Yes. But you must register for the ID Certificate before 3/28.  :)

How do I navigate the course?

Start with “Course.” Click to open a section. Click on the “Day.” Click across icons on the “Ribbon” to go through the material. Complete the work on each page. You can adjust video play speed in the video player.  You can also turn the captions on and off, and download the transcripts and videos.  We have created a short navigation tutorial available.

Will the text of the lectures be available? 

Yes, transcripts of the course will be made available alongside each video. You can also download the transcripts as needed.

Is there a textbook? 

No. However, we of course recommend that you purchase Prof. Fried's book on Contracts.  Please note that this revised edition became available in 2015.

Other texts you might consider are the Restatement (Second) of Contracts, available here, and finally Chirelstein's Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts here. Please note that used copies of these and earlier editions are available at very reasonable prices.

What is the format of the class?

ContractsX consists of pre-recorded lecture videos from Professor Charles Fried. Lectures are followed by assessments and opportunities to participate in discussion forums. The course is self-paced and covers eight weeks of content.  These consist of an introduction followed by seven units. On average, we expect that ContractsX will require 3-5 hours per week to complete. You may work at your own pace but please finish before the course closes.   We will be opening 2 Units each of the first 2 weeks, then 1 Unit/week thereafter.  There are 8 Units plus an introduction, so all content will be open and available well before the course closes, and you will have about 1 month after that point to finish.  Please try to keep up, but you can also work at your own pace and still finish.

What are the assessments?

ContractsX contains graded and ungraded assessments throughout the course to test your understanding of the material and encourage engagement with the course. There are several types of graded assessments; these include multiple choice, which will have one correct answer, checkbox questions, which will have two or more correct answers, image-based analysis questions, and short answers. Ungraded assessments include polls and discussion boards, as well as some optional essays. We highly encourage all students to complete these assignments, as they offer an opportunity to interact with other students and receive feedback from Teaching Fellows, who will moderate discussions.

How will I be graded?

To pass this course, you will need to attain a course average of at least 60 percent. Students who pass the course can receive a certificate of completion. Assessments in this course range from simple multiple choice and short answer questions to more open-ended assignments, such as polls and discussion boards.  Each unit ends with a unit test worth 7.5 percent of the final course score.  Similarly, the course ends with a comprehensive final test, worth 15 percent of the final score.  There are also a number of questions and opportunities to participate that appear after lecture segments throughout the course.  Although not every question is graded, completing each question generally counts towards your final score and is highly recommended. Peer-review essays are essential to learning to formulate your thoughts. At scale, peer-to-peer grading is our best option. We have limited the weight of these exercises so that you can pass the course without them. However, we hope that you will do the exercises and have patience with the process, because it is better than more multiple choices only in a world that is hardly multiple choice. :)

What do the blue clocks mean? 

All graded material has a blue clock icon next to it. If the item also has a deadline, that date is listed right below. 

How do I see the correct answer?

To submit your answer for points, select ‘Check.’ If you are stumped, you can select ‘show answer,’ but this will result in forfeiture of your points. Please note: if you select ‘Show Answer’ before clicking ‘Check,’ you will receive 0 points.  Leaving a question black and clicking "Check" will also result in an incorrect attempt. If it is the last attempt and the question is left black, clicking "Final Check" with no answer submitted will also result in zero points scored. Once you have a green check mark, no need to do anything else, you got the points!


What will the course cover? 

Contracts are an important and pervasive part of our daily lives, so it is a vital skill to understand the basic principles of contracts.  This course starts by putting contracts into their human setting, analyzing why we form contracts and what aspects of our humanity contracts depend upon and serve.  The course then moves onto the nuts and bolts of contracts—what promises do and do not form contracts, the principles of offer and acceptance, and what happens when contracts go wrong.  Along the way, Professor Fried will introduce famous cases and judges, illustrating principles of contracts with some wonderful stories.

We would like to stress that while this course is designed to introduce the basics of contracts, it is not an intensive review of all relevant case law, and should not be perceived as legal advice in whole or in part.  Further, this course does not reflect the views of Harvard University, Harvard Law School, HarvardX, or edX.

Are there follow-ups to the course?

At this time, there are no additional courses. However, we recommend participating in any future edX courses you find interesting!


If you have additional questions, there are several resources available to assist you. 

For edX technical questions, please contact edX at

Bugs in assessments that are specific to this course can be submitted through the form on the assessment’s page.