New psychology course offered Winter 2018: Positive Psychology

Beginning in winter quarter of 2018, the Psychology Department will be offering a new online course, Positive Psychology or PSYC 109. This new course focuses on happiness and well-being and how to lead a meaningful life. The course will be entirely online, worth five credits, and no pre-requisites are necessary.
“Throughout the course, we will also engage in experiential learning and practical exercises to increase well-being, which will inform our theoretical and empirical understanding of positive psychology,” said Deepti Karkhanis, chair of the Psychology Department. “Topics covered will include: self-compassion, mindfulness, gratitude, emotional intelligence, love, resilience, grit, spirituality, prosocial behavior, optimism etc,” she added.
Historically, the field of psychology has often focused mainly on the flaws in people’s mentality and behavior. Psychologists often spend their careers figuring out how to learn about and treat certain mental disorders. They use this information to determine how to bring people to a healthy state of mind by prescribing medication that may solve mental abnormalities. “More recently, however, the field has broadened its scope to give more attention to the positive side of human nature and the most effective ways to pursue a good, meaningful life,” Karkhanis told The Watchdog.
In a promo video for the course created by Maggie Seibel, co-creator and instructor of the new online course, it is stated that Positive Psychology is a “course on the nature of happiness,” It will include “experiential learning and practical exercises.” Seibel broadcasts that the course is intended to show people a more positive side of humanity.
“The course will help students learn about the scientific research behind happiness, experience the positive side of human nature, and learn effective practical exercises to increase well-being and pursue a meaningful life,” Karkhanis explained. “As a program chair, I consult my department’s faculty to see if there are any ideas for new course offerings. Since [Positive Psychology] is so relevant and applicable for students’ improvement of lives, we proposed it and got it added to the course catalog.”
“While the ideas of what makes a self-actualized person started much earlier, research in positive psychology really picked up in the late 1990’s,” said Helen Taylor, a co-creator and instructor of the course along with Seibel. “Every week, in addition to the usual reading, discussions and assessments, students will have the opportunity to practice real-life skills they can apply to their own lives,” Taylor added. “[Positive Psychology] will cover a lot of the research on what contributes to health and happiness, Including positive emotions, optimism, gratitude, relationships, engagement in one’s community, using one’s strengths, and other elements of a good life […] We hope that students will find the course interesting and very useful!”
For more information about the new online course Positive Psychology, or PSYC 109, contact the Psychology Department of Bellevue College or visit the online course catalog and search item number 5421, section OAS.