Your Name and Title: Naresh Kumar Agarwal, Dr. (Assistant Professor)


Library, School, or Organization Name: Simmons College (Graduate School of Library and Information Science)


Co-Presenter Name(s): N/A


Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Language in Which You Will Present: English


Target Audience(s): My talk is very generic, so everyone should be able to participate


Short Session Description (one line): Happiness as a learning outcome in the digital age


Full Session Description (as long as you would like): When imparting higher education in the field of library and information science, we, as educators often stress on student learning outcomes ranging from critical thinking, communication skills, leadership, problem solving skills, ethics, etc. In this talk, I’d like to make a case for happiness as a student learning outcome. While we often think in terms of pursuing happiness, happiness lies within us. It is an art that can be practiced and perfected like playing the violin. It is something that can be taught and learnt and imbibed as a learning outcome.

The United States Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776 reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” ( While these are profound words, they do seem to put happiness at an arm’s length, like an ever dangling banana, one that we’re ever pursuing, but never really within our reach.

We spend most of my lifetimes basing our happiness on the external environment – what other people say of us, the events that happen in our lives or the outcomes of our pursuits.  We say we’d be happy if we do well in those exams, win that competition, get that next job, buy the next car, the next house, the iPad 2, get the raise, get the next contract, etc. When things happen the way we want them to and we get what we’re pursuing, we become happy. If things don’t go the way we want them to, we become sad and disheartened.  If we think about it, we spend our time allowing ourselves to be blown about like fig leaves – one whiff of air and we’re blown in one direction. Another whiff and we’re blown in the other.  One person comes and says something nice about us and we become elated. Another person comes and says something nasty or insensitive and we lose all our composure.  We are, in a sense, remote-controlled by the events happening around us and the words spoken to us or about us.

In the talk, I’ll share my 7 commandments in life and arrive at a theoretical model of happiness. This should help bring out a realization that happiness can be practiced and learnt and help bring about transformative learning in the digital age.

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