Understanding Happiness

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    Welcome to Understanding Happiness. You are about to dive deeply into one of humanity’s most enduring interests: the good life. We want you to leave the course with more than opinions and intuitions about happiness; we want you to understand the wide range of research on this topic. What’s more, we don’t just want to introduce you to this information; we want you to understand it and know it forever. To accomplish this, we have designed this course with several instructional tools to promote deeper learning.

    Understanding Happiness is a self-paced study course. We have created several pedagogic tools to interact with course materials. You are highly encouraged to pace yourself– to create space for reflection and practice between each lesson– to deepen your learning. 

    Here’s how the learning in this course works:

    This course has 15 lessons, including a unit on money and happiness and another on happiness interventions. Within each lesson, there are:

    A) A Learning anticipation guide

     B) A lecture

    C) Homework

    D) A quiz.

    Using all of these tools will enhance your enjoyment, deepen your learning, and give you more responsibility and control over your learning process. Here is how each of these tools works:

    1. Learning anticipation guides

    These guides help orient you to each lesson. Before you listen to the lecture, determine whether you agree or disagree with each of the 3 statements in the learning anticipation guide. These statements will give you a hint about important content to listen for. More importantly, you can review your answers after listening to the lectures to determine if they have changed. This is known as “meta-cognitive learning” in which you reflect on what you know, what you don’t know, and how your knowledge changes over time. 

    1. Lectures 

    Each lesson contains a pre-recorded lecture. You will see PowerPoint slides and hear the lecture. You can pause and shuttle forward and backward so that you can stop to take notes and review information. You are highly encouraged to take notes as you listen; this is a proven way to enhance learning.

    1. Homework 

    Each lesson has a “homework” assignment, and each has a standard format. First, two questions require you to reflect on the main themes of the lesson. You are encouraged to write out or discuss your answers rather than think. Following the reflective questions are simple behavioral assignments such as filling out 1-10 scales or interviewing another person. These are intended to help you gain deeper insights into each topic. Finally, there is a list of 2 to 3 reading recommendations. Many of these are openly licensed and free to read. Some are popular books. In each case, these curated recommendations offer the curious an opportunity to learn more.

    1. Quizzes 

     You will take a short multiple-choice quiz at the end of each lesson. These quizzes are “low-stakes” in that they are not graded, and that you can take them as many times as you want. These quizzes can provide feedback about how well you understand the material. In addition, getting most of the questions correct will unlock the subsequent lesson.

    You can access downloads of homework by clicking on the “materials” tab on each topic.

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