When Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos launched "Psychology and the Good Life" on the New Haven campus earlier this year, 1,200 students — about one-fourth university's undergraduate population — enrolled. And now Santos is taking the course to an even wider audience as it's set to launch online this month.
Rebranded as "" on the platform Coursera, the class will feature lectures by Santos on things people think will make them happy but don't along with things that actually bring lasting life satisfaction. In other words, she'll teach students how to be happy.
"Laurie is a rock-star professor," says Belinda Platt, assistant director of digital education at Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning. "She came to us with this idea and said, 'I’m proposing this course that I want to teach on campus, and I'm doing a pilot run with a small group of 20 to 30 students in my residential college. Why don’t you come film it and then we can use that material for an online course?'"
Those five lectures in her home in Silliman College make up the course, which, according to its syllabus "."
Santos's course joins 20 other Coursera classes taught by Yale faculty, and it will be accompanied by a mobile app to track behavior that contributes to wellness. Platt said that it's free to enroll (and as of Monday more than 11,000 users had already registered), and for a $49 fee students will receive a certificate as long as they pass all graded quizzes and writing assignments.