By Betsy Mikel, Aveck@BetsyM
When Yale began offering a new course this semester, over 1,000 students jumped at the opportunity. It wasn’t about business, technology or innovation. It’s about how to be happy.
Nearly a fourth of the undergraduate student body enrolled in Psyc 157: Psychology and the Good Life. It quickly became the university’s most popular class in Yale’s 316-year history.
Psychology and cognitive science professor Laurie Santos teaches the course. In it, she covers the science behind positive psychology and behavioral change. Students are required to embark on a self-improvement project throughout the course.
“Students want to change, to be happier themselves,” Santos told the The New York Times.
Don’t we all?
According to Santos, antidepressants are prescribed at 400 times the rate they were 20 years ago. That’s why Santos and Yale started offering an adapted version of the course for free via online learning platform Coursera. It’s called The Science of Well-Being. (h/t to Quartz for the news.)
Learning — and practicing — how to be happy
The Coursera lectures are filmed in Santos’ own living room. With a casual and personal approach, Santos hopes to reach people on a deeper, habit-changing level.
“The hope is that this isn’t gonna be an ordinary class or lecture series,” Santos explains in an introductory video about the course. “This is the kind of thing that we hope will change your life in a real way.”