EdX courses are either self-paced or instructor-paced. Pacing refers to how course teams run the course, and whether you need to complete course materials on a set schedule.
Many edX courses are instructor-paced. These courses follow a set schedule. The course team sets specific due dates for assignments and exams, and you complete the course within a defined time period, such as 8 to 12 weeks. In instructor-paced courses, course materials become available at specific times as the course progresses. In most instructor-paced courses, certificates are generated for learners who have passed the course shortly after the end of the course.
In contrast, self-paced courses do not follow a set schedule. All of the course materials are available as soon as the course starts. Assignments and exams do not have due dates, so you can progress through the course at your own speed. Self-paced courses are available to complete for usually 3 to 12 months after the date the course is opened to all learners. Course end dates are listed under Important Dates in the course. In most self-paced courses a certificate is issued to verify track learners as soon as they have a passing grade in the course,
How can I tell what kind of course this is?
You can tell if a course is self paced by looking at the course information in the course catalog.