For decades now, Doctor Who has been a staple of the science fiction genre, drawing fans from all walks of life, much like other television shows of the genre like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica. Since its debut in 1963 on the BBC, Doctor Who has become a phenomenon in Britain and throughout the world, inspiring fans (or Whovians, as they are commonly known) to appear at conventions dressed as their favorite characters, as well as spawning spinoffs such as Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Now it seems the Doctor is making the leap from the small screen to the classroom. The Daily Orange reports that, although the course is not officially offered through Syracuse University, it will be taught by Anthony Rotolo, the director of the online masters in communications program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The Doctor Who course will be offered as an independent study course, available to any Syracuse University student in any college. Students enrolled in the course are able to petition the university to have the class count towards their degree requirements. Additionally, massive interest in the course has prompted Rotolo to offer the course free online for any interested Doctor Who fans.
“We’ve had registrations from the UK, Portugal, all around North America — those are just off the top of my head,” Rotolo said. “It’s overwhelming, but it’s excellent.”
To judge by the numbers, it may not be long before Syracuse University is compelled to add its official seal of approval to the Doctor Who course. Anthony Rotolo opened registration online for the Doctor Who course on October 26 and within 24 hours, over 100 students had listed to take the course. Those numbers swelled to 350 students enrolled to learn more about the Doctor within that 48 hour window. Rotolo said that, with 125 seats already confirmed, he expects the course to have a 200 student occupancy.
When asked about the appeal for him as an instructor, Rotolo replied, “Doctor Who has a very long legacy as one of the longest-running TV programs of all time. It gives us the ability to look at many different periods of post-war history and much of the mass media era.”
Having had a year to work out the curriculum, Rotolo plans to incorporate live screenings as well as social media interaction throughout the viewings of the Doctor Who episodes. College reports that the Doctor Who course will also reflect on the changes in media presentation since the debut of Doctor Who fifty-one years ago.
For more on Doctor Who, Whovians might be interested in an earlier article on Inquisitr, concerning the Season 9 cast.