The course focuses each on optimistic psychology — the traits that enable people to flourish, based on Dr. Santos — and behavioral change, or learn how to stay by these classes in actual life. College students should take quizzes, full a midterm examination, and, as their closing evaluation, conduct what Dr. Santos calls a “Hack Yo’Self Mission,” a private self-improvement challenge.
Some college students admit that they see the course as a chance to take a relaxed lecture with few necessities.
“I wouldn’t have identified in regards to the course if not for phrase of mouth, but it surely’s low-pressure, and perhaps I’ll be taught a number of tips to having a much less traumatic life,” mentioned Riley Richmond, 22, a senior who enrolled within the class with a number of of his pals.
Charlotte Emerson, 18, a freshman within the course, mentioned she worries some college students will make the most of the dearth of accountability that comes with a lecture of this dimension. For instance, Dr. Santos isn’t monitoring whether or not college students full weekly “rewirement” assignments, like performing acts of kindness and forming new social connections, Ms. Emerson mentioned.
However whereas others would possibly see simple credit, Dr. Santos refers to her course because the “hardest class at Yale”: To see actual change of their life habits, college students have to carry themselves accountable every day, she mentioned.
She hopes that the social pressures related to taking a lecture with pals will push college students to work onerous with out frightening nervousness about grades. Dr. Santos has inspired all college students to enroll within the course on a pass-fail foundation, tying into her argument that the issues Yale undergraduates usually join with life satisfaction — a excessive grade, a prestigious internship, a good-paying job — don’t improve happiness in any respect.
“Scientists didn’t understand this in the identical means 10 or so years in the past, that our intuitions about what is going to make us pleased, like successful the lottery and getting a superb grade — are completely flawed,” Dr. Santos mentioned.
School programs on optimistic psychology have a monitor report of attracting scores of scholars. At Harvard, about 900 college students enrolled in a lecture titled “Optimistic Psychology” in 2006. What distinguishes Dr. Santos’s course from the one at Harvard in 2006, she mentioned, is that it additionally focuses on behavioral change.
Nonetheless Dr. Santos mentioned she doesn’t plan to supply the course once more. Dr. Ahn, of the psychology division, mentioned, “Giant programs may be wonderful each now and again, but it surely wouldn’t be truthful to different programs and departments to take all of their college students away.”
She added, “It causes battle, and we are able to’t afford to supply this yearly when it comes to instructing fellows and assets.”
Dr. Santos mentioned a multipart seminar-style sequence on the course materials — filmed final yr in her house and titled “The Science of Effectively-Being” — will quickly be obtainable without cost on Coursera, a web based schooling platform. For now, she is raring to see whether or not her teachings alter campus life.
“We’ve this second the place we are able to make a distinction in Yale’s tradition, the place college students really feel like they’re a part of a motion and combating the nice struggle,” she mentioned.
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