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3.3 Million People Take Yale’s Online Happiness Class

Updated: Jun 16


An astounding 3.3 million people have taken Yale University’s “Happiness” class since March 2018. That was when the free version of the university’s most popular course ever launched on Coursera, the free online learning platform.


“We octupled the number of people taking the class,” said instructor Laurie Santos, a professor of psychology at Yale and the head of the university’s Silliman College, of its pandemic-era popularity.


“The Science of Well-Being” is a self-paced, 10-week course. In the course, students engage in a series of challenges designed to increase their own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Dr. Santos reveals 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 class was only ever taught in-person once, during the spring 2018 semester, as a 1,200-person lecture course in the largest space on campus. The more intimate online version was recorded in Dr. Santos’s living room.


This course is geared toward anyone with any professional background, although, interestingly, 36% of participants started a new career after completing it. It has received nearly 10,000 5-star reviews from students as of March 2021.


New York Times, MSN.com, Indian Express

Photo: Dr. Laurie Santos/Coursera.com


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