VANCOUVER -- A university new course that digs into some of the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic has attracted so many students, it now has a long waitlist.

COVID-19 and Society, which is being offered online, runs through the University of British Columbia's sociology department.

The 300-seat course looks at the virus as a global public issue and requires students to partner with a local non-profit to help them develop materials during the pandemic. 

Katherine Lyon says she developed the course because people are eager to learn more about the effects of COVID-19. 

"We're all going through this together and people are really hungry for information to sort through all of the data that's coming out and it's really overwhelming," she told CTV Morning Live Wednesday. 

"I think people are also really wanting to have a positive community impact right now while it's still happening."

The course will consider how COVID-19 has impacted families, media, work, health care and marginalized groups. 

"We're going to talk about, for example, systemic racism and the rise of hate crimes under COVID," Lyon said. 

Students will also consider how governments and public health officials have made a difference in community responses to the pandemic.

"People have been quite inspired by (Dr. Bonnie Henry's) transparent and consistent leadership," Lyon said. 

"One of the things her work has done is show that the actions and policies of government and health care really matter and really impact health outcomes."

Lyon said she's structured the course so students can focus on the topics they're most interested in. 

"Students can choose what they want to study more deeply and what they just want to look at at a surface level," she said, adding that she purposefully wanted there to be flexibility in the assignments. "I do appreciate that everyone is affected differently."