Get the lowdown on the new BYU-I devotional format

2 min


For BYU-I students…

If you’ve ventured near your I-Learn this semester (at nine weeks in, you should have by now) you’ve probably noticed a new discussion board popping up.

This one is different. It doesn’t have you meeting a word count or responding robotically to fifteen of your classmates. In fact, it’s not even mandatory.

But it is a new way that BYU-Idaho is making Tuesday devotionals more interactive.

The new format

Thousands of students attend devotional each week, whether in person, online or even on BYU-I Radio. Some of you, perhaps, find that devotional falls right in the middle of a work day or during nap time.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to tune in to a BYU-I Devotional this semester (i.e since mid-April) this is the lowdown on how devotional has changed.

President and Sister Eyring reenvisioned devotional as an innovative, engaging experience. The explanation on the discussion board page reads:

“Devotional discussion boards were developed as a way to implement the principles of the Learning Model into devotional. The hope is, that when you are prepared for devotional, by participated in the pre-devotional discussions and activities, you will be better prepared to be taught by the Spirit.”

In short, students are able to participate in these discussion boards to be better prepared for devotional. Often before a CES Fireside, the Brethren invite those planning to attend to study a certain passage of scripture or topic. This new format follows that structure.

As the passage notes, the discussion board will help prepare the student to receive spiritual instruction.

The new devotional format prompts better spiritual preparation.

The learning model

Those familiar with schooling at BYU-Idaho are familiar with the learning model. It prescribes that students teach one another, and that this learning better fits within the framework of the “disciple training” that is BYU-Idaho’s goal.

Even during devotional, the speaker may invite students to discuss a certain topic or question with their neighbor. Trish Gannaway, Guest Hosting & Institutional Events Coordinator, explains, “We are trying to get away from that ‘sage-on-the-stage,’ lecture-type environment.”

Those participating in the devotional online and through other media are also in consideration.

According to the BYU-I news brief regarding the topic, the questions and comments on the discussion board “are displayed for the Livestream.” The student DJs at the radio station will also either read the comments on the discussion board or even contribute their own ideas.

This method of learning isn’t new to BYU-Idaho, but it certainly is an innovative new format for Tuesday devotionals.

If discussion boards didn’t excite you before, perhaps this is one you can get on “board” with. Nonmandatory, no word count, and the opportunity to become spiritually enlightened by Church leaders.

Real talk: when an Apostle comes, that thread’s going to blow up.