Sunday, December 7, 2008

way cool professor

Homework and Missionary Work Come Together on Student Blogs

Ashley Evanson 12/02/2008 02:59 PM MST

Blogging is more than just posting family pictures, dishing on your favorite things, or a soapbox for you to stand on and spill your heart out. In the eyes of one BYU professor, blogging is how he and students share the gospel worldwide.

For his religion class this semester, Richard Holzapfel changed his usual scripture log assignment to an online blogging assignment where students write their thoughts and feelings on gospel subjects.

“I read Elder Ballard’s call for members of the Church to engage in the online dialogue about the Church this past summer [Ensign, July 2008],” Holzapfel said. He soon thereafter heard a returned missionary expressing disappointment in no longer being able to continue his mission work. “It hit me. We can continue doing missionary work in Provo and at BYU because ‘The world is our campus,’ and the world is alive online.”

In Elder Ballard’s Ensign talk, he wrote, “The emergence of new media is facilitating a worldwide conversation on almost every subject, including religion, and nearly everyone can participate.”
Holzapfel asked his religion classes to create a blog for the sole purpose of Gospel discussion. “I asked them to be ‘real,’” he said.

He explained the impact he and students can have by comparing the situation to cars. People aren’t always convinced by a car commercial, but if their friend has a new car and likes it, they might be more willing to buy one because of the non-authoritative recommendation. “The Church Web site is important,” he said. “However, people will more likely listen to real, flesh and blood members than the official Web site.”

Ryan Howard from State College, Pa., is one of professor Holzapfel’s students. He told BYU’s newspaper the Daily Universe that he was hesitant about the assignment at first.
“After we discussed it a little in class, I realized that blogging can actually be a pretty effective way to get ideas and opinions out there, and in the context of this assignment, increase the amount of pro-Mormon material on the Web,” he said.

Holzapfel said he and students have already seen positive results, engaging in conversations about the gospel with people all over the world.

To read Holzapfel’s blog, go to For a full list of his students’ blogs, e-mail with the word “blog” in the subject line.
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1 comment:

TabithaK said...

I never really thought of using a blog in that way... of sharing views and thoughts on various scriptures and such. That is a great idea! Maybe I can get myself to start that with the new year. That would be a great way to learn and grow, as well as inspire and uplift others.