Philip Nel > Courses > English 440: Harry Potter's Library > FAQ
Philip Nel > FAQ > Harry Potter's Library: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Harry Potter's Library

Please read these before emailing me. If your question is answered below, you will not receive a reply.

Q: What's "Harry Potter's Library"?
A: English 440, "Harry Potter's Library: J. K. Rowling, Texts and Contexts," is a course created by Philip Nel, a Professor of English at Kansas State University. It is also taught by Associate Professors Karin Westman and Naomi Wood.
Q: What books do you teach in the "Harry Potter's Library" class?
A: Take a look at the syllabus: <>. Scroll down to the "Schedule of Assignments" for full details. The syllabus varies from year to year, and links to older versions are the the bottom of the page.
Q: Are there any prerequisites?
A: Yes. English 125 or English 200. And I expect everyone to have finished reading the first two Harry Potter books before the first class session. Those books are Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, if you have the UK edition) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. If this amount of reading is too great a burden for you, then please do not enroll in Harry Potter's Library.
Q: I'm an English major. Would this count as a British literature class?
A: Yes.
Q: When will you next offer "Harry Potter's Library"?
A: In the fall semester of 2013. Since 2002, the course has been offered about a dozen times. I've taught seven sections of the course. Karin Westman and Naomi Wood have also taught sections of the class. For each of us, the course is an "elective." Just as students get electives, so do faculty members. For example, I need to teach at least two sections of English 355 (Literature for Children) and one section of English 545 (Literature for Adolescents) each year -- the former class is required for Elementary Education majors, and the latter for Secondary Education majors. That leaves me -- at most -- two other courses each year. Since I have many interests beyond Harry Potter, I enjoy teaching other courses. (For a complete list of courses I've taught, click on this sentence.)

If you've been unable to enroll, I encourage you to read and to study the series on your own. Course syallbi for all previous terms will remain on-line -- just follow the links at the bottom of the page.

The questions below will again become pertinent when the class is next being offered.
Q: Hey, how come I can't enroll? Do I need your permission to enroll?
A: You can't enroll because the class is already full.
Q: The class is already full! Do you think I should keep trying to enroll using KATS? How often do the enrollment numbers fluctuate?
A: You are welcome to keep trying. I don't keep track of fluctuations in the numbers. I only know that they fluctuate.
Q: I need the class to fulfill my requirements.
A: Well, as I say, you're welcome to keep trying. However, given that last spring's two sections filled up in the first 48 hours of enrollment, you may have better odds on getting into a different course. In 2003 (when there was one section), the wating list was large enough to fill two to three more classes.
Q: Will you let more students into the class?
A: No, I will not let more students into the class.
Q: Will you open another section?
A: I do not have the power to open another section. As mentioned above, I also teach English 355 (required for Elementary Education majors) and English 545 (required for Secondary Education Majors). Were I permitted to teach a second section of 440, then someone else would have to cover 355 and 545 -- only we don't have anyone else to cover it.
Q: What about a waiting list? Will putting my name on a waiting list help me gain a place in the class?
A: I encourage you to put your name on a waiting list. Waiting lists let us know how great the demand is. In other words, they could prove useful in lobbying for more sections of the class in a future semester (not the upcoming one, because that schedule's already set). In fact, they already havebeen useful in that regard: in the spring of 2005, for the first time, we offered two sections of English 440. The subsequent two academic years (2005-2006 & 2006-2007), we were again able to offer two sections of English 440 (one in the fall, one in the spring).

Of course, I can't say that placing your name will speed your entry into the class. It can't hurt, of course. It would be logical if, when someone dropped English 440, the top name from the waiting list for English 440 were automatically enrolled in English 440: the top name from the waiting list should go into the first empty slot, shouldn't it? It's not clear to me whether iSIS works that way. KATS did not, and iSIS is, frankly, a baffling piece of course manaement software.

Q: I really want to get into the class because (pick your favorite reason or reasons): A) I'm the world's biggest Harry Potter fan, B) I'm a senior and won't get another chance to take it again, C) [your reason here], D) some of the above, E) all of the above. Please let me in. Please.
A: I can't promise anything, but you can always show up to the first class. People may drop. Or they may not. Who knows? If people drop, then you stand a chance at getting in. If they don't drop, then you don't. That's all I can say.

Harry Potter's Library: Links | FAQ | Syllabus 2002 | 2003 | 2005 | 2006 (Spring) | 2006 (Fall) | 2009 | 2011 | 2013

Philip Nel | Courses | Books | Blog | Crockett Johnson Homepage | Don DeLillo Society | Links | Self-Promotion | Site Map | FAQ
Program in Children's Literature | Department of English | Kansas State University

This page is © 2002-13 by Philip Nel. Read the Disclaimer.

Last updated Sunday, August 25, 2013