I’ve been following Margaret Young’s plans to teach the “Literature of the Latter-day Saints” class at BYU this coming semester, and I was pleased to see that she has posted her reading list for the course on her blog, and plans to post “parts of the class” on her blog also. I even suggested to my BYU student daughter that she take the class.
Nope. That won’t work. In addition to the students who have grabbed one of the 30 seats for the class, there is a waiting list of 63 (as of this morning).
While I would love to think that this represents a large demand for classes in Mormon literature, I don’t think I can make that claim — I don’t have enough information. I don’t know if the class has been taught regularly — so the backlog could represent the accumulated demand since the last time the class was taught. Its also possible that Margaret is just very popular (a very believable idea, IMO), and students were looking for a class she taught that didn’t have pre-requisites. Hopefully some reader here knows and can tell us why there is so much demand for this class.
If this demand isn’t due to something outside of the demand for a Mormon literature class, then I think its a good sign. And if nearly 100 students at BYU (out of 26,000) are interested in such a class, then how many might there be around the world? Perhaps thousands!
This all reminds me of my suggestion more than a year ago that Mormon literature would be a good fit for an online course (or independent study, or courseware or mooc or whatever you want to call it). While many of these online courses cover topics that are popular on every campus, I think the most important educational gains will come from teaching subjects, like Mormon literature, that aren’t being taught on most campuses because there isn’t enough local interest.
So what does all this mean? If the waiting list at BYU is a good indicator of interest in Mormon literature, then perhaps an online Mormon literature course is a very, very good idea.