In Module 7, you will create the second of three required essays. The Future Learning Goals Essay asks you to think about how you will continue to learn and grow after your master’s program is over. Please keep in mind that we will be starting mid-semester feedback throughout this week and the next; it is therefore possible that we look at your portfolio before this essay is finished. If that happens, you will have to rely more on the feedback of your classmates in advance of your final exhibition, so it may be useful to finish it substantially in advance of the deadline to give everyone more time to read and provide feedback. In the Module 7 video, TA Sarah Keenan discusses the essay and requirements for this module.

Once more, note that in this module, we’ll begin giving you mid-semester feedback. If you haven’t yet, please read over our FAQ on mid-semester feedback to learn more about what it is and how you can prepare.

You may choose to take care of your Tech Check during this module. You need to complete your Tech Check before the end of Module 10.

Activities in this module are due by July 3rd (at or before 11:59pm Eastern Time). We encourage you to begin early in the week – it is not possible to complete the entire module at the last minute.


Why a Future Learning Goals Essay?

In this deliberately broad Mission, we ask you to look to your future as a lifelong learner and write a “projective”, forward-looking essay about how your experiences in this master’s program have influenced your approach to lifelong learning and how you envision yourself continuing to learn. [Read more about it here]

What are some exemplary Future Learning Goals Essays?

If you’re looking for inspiration for this Mission, check out the links below. Each of these links represents an example of this Mission from a previous semester that was done well and that you should feel free to emulate. However, that doesn’t mean that these examples are perfect, so please don’t copy them.

Please also keep in mind that we tweak our Mission requirements from semester to semester. These portfolios, while exemplary, might not reflect our current requirements or emphasize the same things that we focus on this semester. When in doubt, check the Mission descriptions or ask us!

What about Copyright and Attribution?

For this essay and other pages in your portfolio, it may be helpful to add multimedia to your portfolio from sources other than yourself. Especially in the case of the Future Learning Goals essay, where you will be adding one resource for each of your three topics, it is important to follow copyright guidelines and properly attribute these works. Please read on for additional information on copyright and attributions. [Read more about copyright and attribution here]

Where can I find help in writing essays?

This helpful advice from the MAET program will help you know more about our general expectations for writing and how you can meet them. [Read more about it here]

🔗Mission 1

picture of binoculars

Overview – Your Future Learning Goals Essay

While we describe this Mission as an essay, it’s more than that. In this module, we ask you to create a 750-word Future Learning Goals “guiding document” that summarizes and represents your plans to continue acquiring the vast knowledge you need to excel in your professional practice. We mean “knowledge” in a very broad sense, from subject area knowledge to technical knowledge, leadership and organizational skills, creative talent, and so on.

As you complete this Mission, keep in mind that by the end of the Mission you should have an articulate essay to share with others and should be ready to talk about the decisions you made. However, we expect that you will make changes throughout the semester. Complete this Mission by taking each of the following concrete steps:

Think about an overall narrative

Your essay should tell a coherent and compelling story about the knowledge you need to excel in the future. Begin by including an introductory paragraph, which broadly outlines your future goals and plans and introduces the following paragraphs. You should also use this introductory paragraph to discuss how you decided on the goals and resources that you discussed in the essay. Chances are that you didn’t just pull them out of a hat—tell us some about how these specific goals fit in with the larger picture that you’ve been telling us about.

Identify specific topics for future study

In the main part of your essay, you should tell us more about the specifics of your plan. Please identify three specific topics or areas of focus that you want to learn about in the future. These topics could be technical skills, such as learning HTML and CSS. They could also be broader themes, such as leadership in education, or integrating technology into a specific content area, such as mathematics.

You should dedicate at least one paragraph to each of the three topics; that paragraph should introduce the topic, describe why you chose that topic, and identify (and link to!) at least one resource (a blog, a class, a video, etc.) that you plan to use to help you to learn about and master that topic.

Please don’t forget that you want to make this entire essay coherent and compelling — consider adding transitions to these paragraphs that show how they relate to each other and a conclusion that summarizes what you’re trying to accomplish overall and how these topics will help you with that. Please also remember that you’re shooting for 750 words. We don’t say that as an invitation to be wordy, but as a reminder that we’re genuinely interested in your plans for the future. Please tell us about them!

Consider the standards of excellence for this module

As you design your page, please use the following standards of excellence to guide your work. These represent the particular criteria that your instructors will be looking for and giving feedback on in this Mission. These standards form the basis of our full grading rubric, on which we base our end of the semester assessment of portfolios.

  • Title: Does your essay have an expressive title?
  • Introductory Paragraphs: Do the introductory paragraphs outline future goals and plans and the criteria, guidelines, or strategies used to determine the areas of focus for the essay?
  • Compelling Narrative: Does the essay tell a coherent and compelling story about the knowledge you need to excel in the future? Does it effectively use text (and possibly other media) to do so?
  • Topics and Resources: Do you include three distinct topics with fully-functioning links to corresponding resources?
  • Word Count: Is your essay about 750 words?

Common issues

  • Remember that people outside your program or workplace might not understand all the terms and acronyms you use. It’s always a good idea to “spell out” an acronym the first time you use it, and you should also consider defining terms that aren’t commonly used.
  • Think about adding an “advance organizer”— a sentence or two to introduce and summarize these goals—before writing about them in more detail.
  • Your goals are your own, but they fit into a larger context—try to relate these goals to the school where you teach or the world that you live in.

🔗Mission 2

Post in Piazza

For this module, please post the following to Piazza:

  • A link to the Future Learning Goals essay you created for Module 7 and
  • One healthy paragraph on: (a) what you like about the content and design of your Future Learning Goals essay, and (b) what you could use some help with on your essay.

Posting your Powerups in Piazza

If you have completed a new Powerup then post about it in Piazza by doing the following:

  • Go to your house in Piazza
  • If this is your first Powerup, find the post called “Powerup #1!”, if this is your second Powerup find “Powerup #2!”, and if this is your third (or fourth, or fifth…) find “Powerup #3!”.
  • Post a reply to the post with the following
    • The Web address of your Powerup.
    • A paragraph explaining why you chose to complete this particular Powerup.
    • If this is your second or third Powerup, please include how you see it relating to previous Powerups and the overall shape and development of your portfolio.
    • Anything you’d like your housemates to pay particular attention to.

Just as for our regular weekly postings, give feedback to two others. Give preference to those who have little or no feedback yet (of course, this is all subject to the Bonuses and Bummers Policy).

How to post in Piazza (in brief)

If you need a hand posting to Piazza, use the “Class Discussion” links on the right hand side of the page to go directly to your house’s discussion space on Piazza, find the correct discussion for this module, read the directions carefully, and post. More detailed instructions are available here.


Grading rubric for this module

Each Mission in this course is important for developing your abilities to design and implement your portfolio. Recall that there are 100 total points assigned in this course; the specific Mission(s) in this module will count towards your grade as follows:

  • (1 point) – Initial Post – Posting about your Mission as described in Piazza. Up to one point will be awarded based upon the completeness of your initial Piazza post.
  • (1 point) – Providing Feedback – Up to one point will be awarded based upon the quality and completeness of your feedback to two of your peers. [Keep in mind our “Bonuses and Bummers” policy.]
  • (2 points) – Tech Check – Carry out your Tech Check before the end of Module 10. To learn more, see our Tech Check information.

Advice and help about course grades

  • Learn how to check grades in the course by reading this helpful guide.
  • Check grades early and often! This will help you understand your progress in the course and will help us correct any errors as soon as possible.
  • Pay attention to how each module is graded. We provide details about the grading rubric for each module.
  • Understand the late work policy. If you know you’re going to be late, contact us ahead of time and ask for a (reasonable) extension. Otherwise, work is accepted up to 48 hours late with 1/2 credit. The full policy is detailed in the syllabus.
  • The full grading policy is detailed in the syllabus.


Powerups information

In addition to the weekly modules and components that we walk you through, each portfolio is required to have a number of Powerups. These Powerups are features, technologies, or pages that you add to your portfolio based upon what best suits you and your audience.

Keep in mind that you will have to add three Powerups to your portfolio before the course is over. We recommend the following timing to stay on track with Powerups. While there are no points or late penalty associated with this timing, it is in your best interest to try to stick to it in order to stay on pace to successfully complete the course.

  • First Powerup – Complete by the end of Module 5
  • Second Powerup – Complete by the end of Module 8
  • Third Powerup – Complete by the end of Module 11

More details about Powerups, including a list of all possible Powerups and full details on the timing of Powerups, is available here.

Recommended Powerups

If you’ve completed this Mission early or if the theme of this module is particularly important for your portfolio, we encourage you to start thinking about Powerups that are related to this module’s work. We think the following ones fit particularly well with what you’re currently working on:

  • Badges – This might be a good time to explore how to use badges to help you to track or accomplish the goals you describe in your Future Learning Goals Essay.
  • Active Blog – Consider creating an active blog to highlight your current and future learning.