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09 Apr 2020

Two million people enrol on free online Yale ‘happiness’ course
BY Megan Whitby

The course will have participants ‘engage in a series of challenges designed to increase happiness and build more productive habits’.

The course will have participants ‘engage in a series of challenges designed to increase happiness and build more productive habits’.

Yale University has launched an online happiness course to help people cope with self-isolation and focus on their mental health.

Named “The Science of Well-Being”, the course was originally taught at Yale University in 2018 by psychology professor Laurie Santos and was already a popular class choice before the pandemic.

However, the arrival of coronavirus has seen a vast resurgence in interest in the course, causing the university to make enrollment open to the public for free.

Before the pandemic, total enrollment for the class between 20 March 2018 and 19 March 2019 stood at 539,000 people, however as of 8 April 2020 over 1,934,400 people have signed up.

The course is 19 hours long and will have participants ‘engage in a series of challenges designed to increase happiness and build more productive habits’. Content includes a combination of videos, quizzes, readings and surveys.

Santos will ‘reveal misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do and the research that can help us change’.

"The interest in the class in just the last few days has been incredible and a bit surreal," Santos told YaleNews. "I think that just as people are focused on evidenced-based ways for staying physically healthy during the coronavirus crisis, so too are people looking for evidence-based ways of improving their mental health."

The course is available to all on Coursera.



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