One of the key insights from the science of happiness is that our own personal happiness depends heavily on our relationships with others. By tuning into the needs of other people, we actually enhance our own emotional well-being. The same is true within organizations: those that foster trusting, cooperative relationships are more likely to have a more satisfied, engaged—and more productive and innovative—workforce, with greater employee loyalty and retention.
Individual course: $149
Course duration: 4 weeks total
Time commitment: 1-2 hours each week
Experience level: N/A
Learning partner: University of California, Berkeley
Course type: Instructor-led on a course schedule
Subjects: Business, management, and social sciences
This course delves into the social and emotional skills that sustain positive relationships at work. It highlights the foundational and related skills of empathy and “emotional intelligence,” also known as EQ, which refers to the skills of identifying and regulating our own feelings, tuning into the feelings of others and understanding their perspectives, and using this knowledge to guide us toward constructive social interactions.
Drawing on research and real-world case studies, the course reveals how honing these skills promotes well-being within an organization, supporting everything from good management—managers high in empathy, for example, have employees who report being happier and take fewer sick days—to more effective teamwork, problem solving, and recovery from setbacks. The course also explains the psychological and neuroscientific roots of cooperative, compassionate behaviors, making the case that these are not just “soft” skills but core aspects of human nature that serve basic human needs as well as the bottom line.
What’s more, it offers practical ways to strengthen empathy, trust, and collaboration among teams and resolve conflicts more constructively—with a special emphasis on how socially intelligent leadership can build cultures of belonging and engagement.
The course instructors are expert faculty from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., whose earlier edX course, The Science of Happiness, has been a global phenomenon, inspiring a half million students worldwide. Here they take a central insight from that course—that our personal well-being is entwined with our social connections—and explain how to apply it to the modern workplace to create more productive, satisfying experiences at work.
Topics of study
Discover the psychological and biological roots of empathy, trust, and cooperation
Understand how the skills of emotional and social intelligence support organizational happiness and productivity
Develop research-based strategies for strengthening empathy and resolving conflicts constructively
Learn how to lead with social intelligence
About the University of California, Berkeley
Free online courses from University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley was chartered in 1868, and its flagship campus — envisioned as a "City of Learning" — was established at Berkeley, on San Francisco Bay. Berkeley faculty consists of 1,582 full-time and 500 part-time faculty members dispersed among more than 130 academic departments and more than 80 interdisciplinary research units. Berkeley alumni have received 28 Nobel prizes, and there are eight Nobel Laureates, 32 MacArthur Fellows, and four Pulitzer Prize winners among the current faculty.
In September 2012, to mark Berkeley's commitment to innovation in teaching and learning, The Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE) was formed. The Center is a resource hub and an operational catalyst for all internal campus-wide and external resources to advise, coordinate, and facilitate the University’s online education initiatives, ranging from credit and non-credit courses, to online degree programs and MOOC projects, including the MOOCLab initiative.
BRCOE's new MOOCLab is a three-year research initiative to fund and develop Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as vehicles for pedagogical research in online education.
Berkeley is also working with edX to develop and foster adoption of Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) on campuses around the world. SPOCs are designed to supplement and enhance the learning experience of on-campus students, while providing local faculty an opportunity for more interactive activities and more time for “high-touch” pedagogy.