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Josef's online course made global top 100 list

Published: 21 January 2022

Class Central, an equivalent to Tripadvisor but for cost-free education from universities and colleges across the globe, recently listed the 100 most popular online courses from the past year. Included on the list is Luleå University of Technology's course Workplace Wellbeing: How to Build Confidence and Manage Stress, developed by Associate Professor Josef Hallberg.

– It feels great, because one of the purposes is to help others, he explains.

Josef Hallberg is associate professor of pervasive and mobile computing and has an assignment as education coordinator at the Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering. When the university and LTU Professional Education began the work to develop so-called MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), he seized the opportunity.

– I have known about the concept for a long time, and it is common in the field of computer technology. When a colleague at HPC (Centre for Educational Development) reached out and asked if I was interested, it felt natural to jump at it, Josef says.

– You reach more people with your teaching and increase your visibility as a teacher. Already, several people have seen my course and reached out to me, he says.

A course based on own experiences

The content of Josef's online course gives participants strategies for managing stress at work, for strengthening their self-confidence and reducing their workload thanks to more effective prioritization. By being able to identify negative thoughts and feelings, to reflect on them and take measures to counteract them, the participants can improve their mental health and experience more joy in their working life. Josef's choice of course subject has its origin in self-experienced events.

– I went through a depression early in my career, and when my health improved, I started lecturing about my experiences to help others. I have given the lecture a few times a year. I think it is important to know that you are not alone in your feelings and that it is possible to get out of your situation, he says.

The recipe for success

Josef says that it doesn’t have to be a big deal to develop a MOOC:

– Producing the material is a quick process if you know the subject. My tip to other teachers is to use feedback from students in the regular teaching to get indications about which subjects may interest a broader target group. After that, you can get help from HPC to produce the course.

5,500 people have started Josef’s course since it was published last summer. The participants are from all over the world and evenly distributed by age. Josef believes that the great demand for the course reflects society today.

– It is a subject that is relevant today, and the course was published in the middle of the covid pandemic. There are many who are looking for what the course provides, and it is quite short and to the point, so many can take part of it.

According to Class Central, the global MOOC market (excluding China) comprises 220 million training participants who have access to 20,000 different courses from about 1,000 universities and colleges.

– My primary motivation is not about making a top list. That is simply a consequence of the fact that many have taken part of the course and its content, which I feel great about. There is a discussion section within the course, and you can see how the participants talk to each other and share experiences. Seeing how the content and conversations help the participants is the most important reward for me, Josef concludes.


Josef Hallberg

Josef Hallberg, Associate Professor, Recognised University Teacher

Phone: +46 (0)920 493177
Organisation: Pervasive and Mobile Computing, Computer Science, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering