The Course of History

 Since after tomorrow the long, dark TV winter until Series 9 will set in…

// ONLINE & Open to the Galaxy
// LIVE at Syracuse University (M 6:00-8:00pm)

Doctor Who Class is a course presented by Prof. Anthony Rotolo of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. This free, open course offers students an incredible adventure through space and time as we explore the history, evolution and cultural impact of the long-running BBC program, Doctor Who. This series will mirror the unique experience of Professor Rotolo’s popular #TrekClass course on Star Trek, though #WhoClass is available to all students at Syracuse University…or anywhere in space and time…

#WhoClass will feature a series of entertaining and informative lectures from Professor Rotolo spanning the whole of Who history. Rotolo’s unique teaching style involves the use of real-time Twitter and interactive polling during lecture as well as live screenings of media content. Those attending the live class sessions on the Syracuse University campus will need to keep their smartphones and sonic screwdrivers at the ready.

Those who cannot attend the live version of the course are invited to join #WhoClass in our MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). By joining us online, you will get all the same content as the students on campus, and you will be part of the same discussions and online community, too! No matter where you are in the Universe, you can be a part of #WhoClass.

The course will feature screenings of classic and recent Doctor Who episodes presented in the live class with interactive discussion. Online students will screen content at home. We will also view and discuss rare clips and lost stories, sample Who foods (would you like a Jelly Baby?), give away prizes in our trivia games and a lot more. #WhoClass is a whole new way to learn about and experience Doctor Who, whether you are a longtime “Whovian” or you’re looking for a crash course on The Doctor and his travels in time.

Familiarity with Doctor Who or science fiction is not required for this course.

*Students interested in earning credit for this experience should see the information below about Independent Study.


Doctor Who is an iconic science fiction serial that debuted on the BBC in 1963. It remains the longest running sci-fi series after more than 50 years on television, radio, print and now online. Beginning as a children’s program, Doctor Who became an unlikely pop culture phenomenon in the United Kingdom by continuously reinventing itself and the series title character. Today, powered by the convergence of Internet technologies and digital media culture, Doctor Who has emerged once again, this time becoming a global media juggernaut.

Like Doctor Who, technology and media culture have changed quite a bit in the last 50 years. With access to the Internet and digital media, fans are now able to connect online in a global community. Unlike analog generations that grew up knowing one or two “Doctors,” today’s Whovian is able to experience not only the current Doctor Who series, but revisit the classic serials as well. Our streaming, time-shifting and binge-watching allow us to consider the whole of Who as a collective work, and even to restore pieces of the story that had once been thought lost forever. Speaking in Doctor Who terms, we can, in a sense, travel back in time to experience the series all over again.

Twelve actors have headlined the series in the lead role of The Doctor, a time-traveler from another planet who is able to regenerate upon his death into a new body, with a new face and personality. Often accompanied by a traveling companion, the Doctor visits places and events throughout all of time and space in his ship, the T.A.R.D.I.S., which is disguised as an emergency police call box circa 1960s London. In his travels, the Doctor has saved countless worlds from destruction at the hands of aliens monsters like the iconic Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Sontarans.

#WhoClass is an adventure through space and time to discover the history of Doctor Who, with special focus on the modern revival of the series that launched in 2005 under the direction of showrunner Russell T. Davies and later Steven Moffatt. Through a series of seminars and screenings, we will answer questions like:

WHO is The Doctor?
HOW has Doctor Who endured for more than 50 years?
WHY were some early Doctor Who stories lost or destroyed by the BBC?
HOW have modern digital methods been used to restore or replace the lost episodes?
HOW has the series evolved over time to address cultural and technological changes?
WHAT role do the concepts of time travel and regeneration play in the series longevity?
HOW has Doctor Who used futuristic and alien concepts to deliver social commentary on current affairs?



The live version of #WhoClass will meet on select Monday evenings (6-8pm), January – April 2015 on the Syracuse University main campus.

This is not an official Syracuse University course, but it is presented by Prof. Rotolo of the Newhouse School who has delivered similar, award-winning courses on Star Trek at South by Southwest, the NASA Johnson Space Center, and the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas.

The campus version of #WhoClass will also feature a unique Trivia Challenge played in real-time during each session. Winners will receive special prizes, including Doctor Who memorabilia, toys, books, comics, and even 3D-printed Doctor Who collectibles!

…and that’s just the beginning! #WhoClass will be an unforgettable experience filled with lots of special surprises!

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this groundbreaking event. The Doctor is not be limited by Space and Time, and neither are we! If you can’t make it to the live class in Syracuse, register now to join us for the #WhoClass adventure online!

Can I get credit for taking #WhoClass?

Doctor Who Class is NOT an official course at Syracuse University. It is offered independently by Professor Rotolo as a series of seminars based on his work and research. However, students from many different colleges and universities have registered for the course, and some students may wish to pursue academic credit. Those students may wish to speak with their advisors or home schools about registering for an independent study that includes participating in #WhoClass as a requirement toward credit. Your school or advisor may approve such a study, or perhaps with additional assignments, if they deem it appropriate for your particular program of study or elective requirements. Please note that approval of an Independent Study is up to the student’s home school, college or university. Professor Rotolo cannot consult in the advising process for students seeking approval at Syracuse University or elsewhere.

A NOTE TO FACULTY & ACADEMIC ADVISORS: #WhoClass refers to a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called Doctor Who and the Digital Age taught by Professor Anthony Rotolo. The course will be offered live and open to the public on the Syracuse campus as a series of lectures (Jan-April 2015) addressing the history, evolution and impact of the Doctor Who television series with special focus on its revival in the era of digital media. In addition, all students (whether able to attend in person or not) will have access to an online course which will feature the recorded lectures, as well as 15 weekly modules in which students will conduct home screenings, complete assigned readings and contribute written analysis, among other activities. The contact hours and rigor of the course, if completed in earnest, will be equivalent to a 400-500-level college course.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: In this course, students will discuss how Doctor Who has been produced as a continuous work over the course of 50 years, and how the program has evolved to address cultural, technological and global changes. Students will be able to explain the reasons (technological, cultural, business) why some early Doctor Who serials were lost or destroyed by the BBC, as well as identify and analyze the digital methods used to restore or replace the missing stories. Students will consider and reflect on how Doctor Who has reached audiences from children and families to young adults and lifelong viewers through a wide array of broadcast, print and digital media, as well as describe how Doctor Who has applied elements of many media genres — sci-fi, horror, action, comedy and many others — to form a style that is unique to the series. The class will also learn about the series original producer, Verity Lambert, and director, Waris Hussein, and their impact on the show, including the circumstance of a woman showrunner and a British-Indian director at the helm of a television series in the early 1960s. The contributions of Lambert, Hussein and other early influencers will be analyzed, along with the auteur of each successive showrunner, writer or director from Terry Nation to Philip Hinchcliffe and later Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat. Along the way, students will also learn to identify and discuss cultural, social and political issues that have been addressed in the series over five decades, and how Doctor Who, like many science fiction series, applies futuristic and alien concepts to deliver social commentary on current affairs. Topics addressed will be relevant for students studying media, as well as seeking electives in the humanities, as well as writing, technology and digital culture, and diversity.


About mydoctor1962

Doctor Who fan like few others. Also a fan of Science Fiction, Cooking Shows and more.

Posted on November 7, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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