Lecture #1: 
Introduction to the Science of Learning
and Wellbeing (FSS1150)
by Darcy A. Santor | June 2022 

What is the good life? What makes you happy? For well over two thousand years, writers from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, literature, religious and spiritual studies, as well as neuroscience and psychology, have attempted to answer this most basic and fundamental question that concerns each and every one of us.  But it is only in the past few decades that research psychologists have started to measure what happiness is, figure out what predicts it, and determine whether your degree of happiness can be increased.

In this introductory lecture, you will be introduced to some older theories about wellbeing but also learn about Martin Seligman’s psychological theory about wellbeing, called PERMA, as well as some contemporary research on wellbeing from all over the world.  All of the skills that you will learn and acquire in this course contribute in one way or another to your emotional and academic wellbeing.   

In this first lecture, you will also be introduced to the importance of a variety of learning skills all of which have been proven to predict academic success.  Not surprisingly, most students report that they are not quite ready when they started university or college which research confirms. Results of a 2019 survey of academic challenges facing incoming students showed that most students report difficulty with a variety of skills and abilities that are generally assumed to have been acquired before starting school.

In this first lecture, you will also be introduced to how this course works. In this course, your instructor will be more like a coach – helping you acquire skills the same way a coach helps an athlete – by going over and over and over it until it sticks and you are ready. Here the focus of the course is on skill acquisition, in addition to knowledge.  Throughout this course, you will be introduced to a variety of skills, both academic skills (e.g., how to write a paper or take an exam) and coping skills (e.g., how to use relaxation breathing on demand), and be provided with an opportunity to master them.   



Resources:  Before the next lecture, please download the worksheet and complete the surveys.

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