Professor James Freericks Selected as Finalist for edX Prize

Credit: Geraldine Cox.

Congratulations to Georgetown Professor James Freericks, Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S. and Catherine H. McDevitt, L.C.H.S. Chair in Physics, whose Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) made its way into the top 10 finalists for the edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning. The prize recognizes exceptional educators for their innovative contributions to the learning community on the edX platform, a massive open online course provider.

Professor Freericks’ Mathematical and Computational Methods is a GeorgetownX MOOC that is part of a Professional Certificate, Foundations of Quantum Sensing, one of the first and unique MOOC programs offered in the field of quantum science.

Professor Jim Freericks

“Educating math practitioners, not technicians” is the goal of this course that resonates with students across the world. Jim connects mathematical ideas with physics principles and guides students coming from diverse academic backgrounds in building advanced mathematical skills through a variety of scaffolded activities. His level of attention to students’ questions in the discussion forum and accessible course design translate complicated and intimidating materials to a rewarding learning journey for students.

Professor Freericks’ first MOOC, Quantum Mechanics, is listed as the fourth best MOOCs of all time on Class Central and was a 2018 edX prize finalist. He was also offered the Provost Innovation in Teaching award in 2019 for his commitment to teaching innovatively through MOOCs and flipped-classroom style courses.

“When I teach online, I often feel like I learn more from the students than they learn from me,” Professor Freericks shared. “They always ask interesting questions about the material, focus on angles and perspectives that I had not thought of, and make me think of something new which deepens my understanding. Every day has a surprise. I love engaging with the community of learners in this way.” 

The course has so far drawn a diverse group of more than 6,199 learners from over 126 countries over its three iterations. There is no better way to sum up Professor Jim Freericks’ exceptional contributions to online teaching and learning than sharing student evaluations of the Mathematical and Computational Methods course: 

“This is an outstanding course, as are all of the courses taught by Professor Freericks. The amount of effort, thought, and care that went into this course as well as the course Quantum Mechanics for Everyone is unmatched in any of the other courses that I have taken or seen online—or even courses that I have taken in person, for that matter.”

“In my opinion there is no other MOOC course comparable to this one.”

“This is, in my opinion, the best mathematical course on edX.”

“Prof Freericks is one of the top physics teachers in edX.”

You can register for the Mathematical and Computational Methods MOOC for free on The next instructor-paced version will start on Jan 15, 2024. Check out the trailer below to see a preview of the course:



The Center for New Design in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) provided course design and video production support in the development of this course. You can learn more about how CNDLS’ Online Programs teams work with faculty and department leaders to develop online courses on our website, or you can always reach out to us directly with questions at If you are interested in other GeorgetownX MOOCs, you can find more details here.

Cover image by Geraldine Cox.