Credit: Andy Kelly on Unsplash



MIT to launch "Shaping Work of the Future," a free MITx online course


Participants may enroll at any time throughout the year and work at their own pace starting on January 7, 2020

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., January 6, 2020– Are you worried about artificial intelligence impacting your job? Are you concerned about growing societal divisions as new technologies leave workers behind? What does making human-centered technology decisions really mean and how might workers influence the design and use of technology that affects their work? What role should institutions play in this changing landscape?

MIT’s free online course, Shaping Work of the Future, goes beyond the headlines and focuses instead on what steps we can actually take to impact the future of work along with future-proofing our own skill set. This eight-week long course—made available through MITx on edX—may be accessed at any time of the year starting on January 7, 2020 through January 6, 2021. Previously, enrollment had been limited to one eight-week period. Participants are eligible to sign up to receive an MITx Certificate upon completion.

Now in its sixth year, Shaping Work of the Future has added new content, case studies and lectures from MIT’s leading technology and workplace academics. This year’s partnerships include, among others, the World Economic Forum and the International Labor Organization.Key to this year’s new content are: findings from the initial report by the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future with a focus on how to improve the quality of jobs, reduce income inequality and provide opportunities for long-term career success for everyone in the labor force; a case study on Optimax Systems, Inc.’s innovative management philosophy built on three key pillars; and a discussion on the ways participants can bring their ideas to fruition around the creation of a new social contract.

Co-designers of the course include, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and co-director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research; and Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future and the MIT Industrial Performance Center. Kochan has contributed two new lectures on “High Road Business Practices” and “The Role of Government” to the curriculum; Dr. Reynolds’ lectures are “Geography of Work” and “Policy Recommendations from the Task Force.” A new lecture by David Autor, the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT, on “Work of the Past: Work of the Future” has also been added.

Session topics are:

  • Class 1: Challenges & Opportunities for Work: Today and Tomorrow
  • Class 2: The Past Century of Work
  • Class 3: How Emerging Technologies are Changing Work
  • Class 4: Rethinking Skills and Education
  • Class 5: The Role of Business in Shaping Work
  • Class 6: The Role of Labor in Shaping Work
  • Class 7: The Role of Civic Institutions and Government in Shaping Work
  • Class 8: Putting it all Together: Social Contract Phase 2 and Developing a Personal Impact Plan

Once having completed the course, participants are welcome to post their own proposals on designing and implementing a new social contract. They may also review their classmates’ contributions at any point during the year, along with debating them, and helping to select the top proposals that will go into the final round of voting on January 6, 2021.

“If we take the right actions, we can empower workers to build rewarding careers and shape the future of work in ways that meet the needs of individuals, families, economies, and societies,” says Prof. Kochan. “To do so, we first need to understand how work is changing, how firms can compete and prosper while still supporting good jobs, how to update the policies, institutions and practices governing the world of work, and then outline a path for everyone to help build a new social contract. That’s what this course is all about!”

To register for Shaping Work of the Future, please visit:

About MITx on edX

MITx on edX offers free, online, high-quality courses to learners around the world. MITx course are developed and taught by MIT faculty members and certificates of completion are available for a nominal fee. MITx aims to expand access to quality educational opportunities worldwide, enhance on-campus education, and advance the understanding of e-teaching and learning through research. Find MITx courses at or learn more about us at

About the MIT Sloan School of Management

The MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more at

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