Skip to main content

Envisioning the Graduate of the Future

Access on edX

This course is currently archived on edX. Certificate enrollment is closed.

About This Course

Communities have always wrestled with the multiple purposes of education: to train young people for careers, vocations, and college; to prepare them for their roles as citizens; to develop habits of reflective, ethical adults; and to create a common experience in a pluralistic society while meeting the needs of individual learners. As the world changes and grows more complex, returning to these important questions of purpose can help guide schools in their growth and strategic change. To ensure our schools are effective, we need to routinely reimagine what the high school graduate of the future will need to know and be able to do. The artifact that communicates these ideas is called a graduate profile. Making explicit the capabilities, competencies, knowledge, and attitudes for secondary school graduates, and inviting key stakeholders like students and community members to be engaged in the process, can help you and your school to focus your vision of success and drive school innovation efforts.

Instructor Justin Reich and the course team from the MIT Teaching Systems Lab look forward to guiding teachers, administrators, community members, and others passionate about improving secondary school in the process of designing a graduate profile. Over four weeks, you will reflect on the purpose and goals of secondary school, as well as desirable characteristics for graduates. You’ll learn how schools have benefited from a graduate profile development process and begin the process yourself. You’ll learn more about your own context, its values and beliefs. You’ll leave the course with a shareable artifact that communicates a vision of a multi-faceted secondary school graduate.

This course has been authored by one or more members of the Faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its educational objectives, methods, assessments, and the selection and presentation of its content are solely the responsibility of MIT.



What you'll learn

  • What a graduate profile is and the benefits of creating one
  • A better understanding of your own school context through a reflection and discovery process
  • How a graduate profile design process can engage a community in reflecting on and communicating the purpose of secondary school and establishing a cohesive vision
  • Process and tools for designing a graduate profile that reflects the values of multiple stakeholders
  • How a graduate profile can guide continuous school improvement


Part 1: Reflecting on High School
Inspired by voices from MIT and secondary schools, learners will reflect on what they feel is the purpose of secondary school. They will make a plan to gather information about what others in their community feel is the purpose of secondary school and what graduates should know and be able to do. They will understand why the graduate profile is a useful tool for reflection and communication.

Part 2: The Graduate Profile Process
Learners will gain familiarity with what the process of developing a graduate profile looks like. They will take some initial steps in the process and make a plan for future steps.

License and Terms of Use

This course is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY), which permits you to freely download, share, and adapt the material so long as you give appropriate credit.

Course Staff

Justin Reich

Justin Reich

Justin Reich is an Assistant Professor in the Comparative Media Studies department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an instructor in the Scheller Teacher Education Program, and the director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab. He is the co-founder of EdTechTeacher, a professional learning consultancy devoted to helping teachers leverage technology to create student-centered, inquiry-based learning environments. He was previously the Richard L. Menschel HarvardX Research Fellow, where he led the initiative to study large-scale open online learning through the HarvardX Initiative, and a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Justin is an alumni of the Fellows program at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. He earned his doctorate from Harvard University, where he created the Distributed Collaborative Learning Communities project, a Hewlett Foundation funded initiative to examine how social media are used in K-12 classrooms. He writes the EdTechResearcher blog for Education Week, and his writings have appeared in Science, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Educational Researcher, the Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, the Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.

Elizabeth Huttner-Loan

Elizabeth Huttner-Loan

Elizabeth Huttner-Loan is a Digital Learning Lab Fellow with the MIT Office of Digital Learning. She is Senior Manager for Online Course Development for the MIT Teaching Systems Lab and Scheller Teacher Education Program/Education Arcade. She designs and manages MOOCs pertaining to education and educational technology. Recent courses include Launching Innovation in Schools and Design Thinking for Leading and Learning. Elizabeth enjoys engaging with learners all over the world and creating meaningful online educational experiences. Previously, she was an Instructional Developer for the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program. Prior to her time at MIT, Elizabeth worked at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds a B.A. in Government from Claremont McKenna College and an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Alyssa Napier

Alyssa Napier

Alyssa Napier graduated from MIT with a B.S. in Chemistry and is now a course developer for the MIT Teaching Systems Lab (TSL) and Scheller Teacher Education Program/Education Arcade Lab. While an undergraduate, she worked with MIT's Institute Community and Equity Office to develop programming to strengthen the MIT community and bring awareness to issues of race. She also worked with TSL executive director Justin Reich to research whether participants in politically-charged MOOCs engage in deliberative discourse. While working with TSL, she has helped to develop several MOOCs for educators including Launching Innovation in Schools and Design Thinking for Leading and Learning. She also organized the first EdcampCambridge, a participant-driven unconference for educators.

  1. Course Number:

  2. Classes Start:

  3. Classes End:

  4. Length:

    4 weeks
  5. Year Created: