Universities Offering online courses

630-5-puppies2Coursera is partnered with more than 100 institutions worldwide and offers more than 1, 200 classes. This includes Hare’s course, which he says already has more than 10, 000 students enrolled in the two weeks since it has been active.

“I just wanted to make sure that anyone can have access to all of the exciting stuff that’s going on, and that’s what [Coursera is] all about, ” Hare says.

According to the class’ website, “Dog Emotion and Cognition is a course designed to introduce the exciting new science of dog psychology to any level of dog enthusiast.” The class can serve as an introduction into the general study of animal psychology, or even as an educational platform for dog trainers.

Hare adapted “Dog Emotion and Cognition” from a seminar he currently teaches at Duke. The online version of the course is taught through online videos in which Hare outlines different topics including “The Paradox of a Best Friend That Evolved From Our Worst Enemy” and “Finding Your Dog’s Genius.” The class culminates with a final exam.

“The real challenge in life is trying to find your genius and the challenge in your dog’s life is finding their genius, ” Hare says. “With this course dog lovers can supplement their observations and experience with what the latest science has to say about how dogs feel emotions and solve problems cognitively.”

Hare believes the most beneficial part about teaching the course online is his class’ willingness to discuss topics in the course’s online chat room. So far, 82 of Hare’s students have posted discussion questions and have received multiple replies from their peers.

In one discussion, for example, Hare asked his students whether they believe dogs can understand physical principles — such as gravity and connectivity — like they do social problems. One student believes that in order to answer questions like these, new experiments must be developed.

“I think we need to be a lot smarter designing experiments… many dog cognition experiments are based on the idea that dogs are looking at some object(s) and have to do something based on what they see. While their dominant sense is olfaction!” the student wrote.

Like its discussions, the class’ roster is also extremely diverse. According to Hare, less than half of his students are from the United States, and the age of his students varies from teenagers to senior citizens, with the largest percentage of studies being members of “Generation X and Generation Y dog lovers.”

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