A class titled Psychology and the Good Life at Yale University in the US is so popular that one in four undergraduate students have enrolled.
Laurie Santos, the psychology professor who teaches on the course, says it is the most students ever to enroll in a class in the history of Yale, which was founded in 1701.
Homework assignments include showing more gratitude, performing acts of kindness and improving social connections. The course also includes practical advice such as choosing satisfying careers, and separating satisfying pursuits from hollow ones.
Senior student Rebekah Siliezar told Reuters: “What’s most pressing on our minds is grades; the next job; potential salary after graduation.” “Now,” she said, “I really try to focus on the present moment and the people around me.”
In an effort to help the general public pursue joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Yale University is making the most popular class in the ivy league school’s 318 year history, a “happiness” course, available for free via Coursera.
The course, titled “The Science of Well-Being” is taught by psychology professor Laurie Santos, who lectures on things people believe will bring them happiness but don’t, and the things that ultimately will.
As result of its high demand — nearly a quarter of Yale students enroll every year — it transitioned into an online course. Now, anyone can enroll in the class online and watch the lectures, complete the assignments and submit them for a grade to earn a certificate of completion.
“We’re in a particularly challenging time not just for this health crisis, this physical health crisis, but also a potential mental health crisis as well,” Santos told CNN. This course is an excellent tool to help you step back and take stock — to use this time to analyze whether you’re pursuing substantive happiness, or if you are focusing on priorities you believe you will make you happy.