What province and city/town do you live in?
Peterborough, Ontario (I welcome all emails at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Do you have a family/ kids/ pets ?
I am married to Roann, an Occupational Therapist at our local Hospital. We have a daughter “Jayah” who is 18 months and a Border Collie named “Blue”.
Arthur and Roann
Lake Superior Provincial Park
What are your hobbies / interests/ activities/ etc.
I’m an avid canoer, cross country skier and snowshoer; I love being a Daddy to my daughter.
Can you tell us about the AU Courses you are taking at the moment, or a favourite course?
History 1867 to Present; History to 1867; and Native Studies 200. If you are taking these courses, let’s become study buddies. Email me if you are interested.
How long have you been a student? (And where)
I’m new to AU this year. Working in computers means you are always a student.
What do you think of your courses/ the AU experience/ distance education?
I like it a lot. I am a computer teacher at 2 colleges and have been a guest speaker at a University. I teach at many private schools as well.
This is a different type of service. I prefer this type of education because it is accessible to all people, which as an Educator is something I am passionate about. You don’t have to worry about daycare costs and other hassles (which are a big plus! A $30 a day plus!), parking, classroom times and all the hassles of a traditional school. As well there are those classes that really only require you to read the book anyway.
In my perfect world there would be a combination of in-class study for some subjects and online courses for other subjects. This would greatly reduce the costs of education and allow more people to enrol. But traditional schools are pretty territorial predators and often don’t like sharing with others. As well they are very fixated on signing people up and having them show up 4-5 days a week. When in actual fact they are only in class for 20-25 hours over a 40 hour week.
I like AU as well because they are big on Prior Learning Assessments. At least they claim too be anyway. I will soon find out when I run the paper work through. I work with HRDC a lot and many people who have just lost their jobs and need to upgrade their skills have excellent experience. But the PLA system at most Universities and Colleges (in Ontario through my experience) are poorly run at best. AU seems to support this process very well. Again I will find out and follow up with a letter to keep you posted.
But I would also say that I am paying the same price as normal tuition and I don’t have a campus pub to hang out at,J so it’s a different type of service. So far the only thing I would like to see AU develop is a better writing tutor program. At Trent University they have a service devoted just to that. AU has a website for helping you write essays and stuff but that is pretty minimal. It would be nice for them to post some comparative or long essays that they thought were good examples. That way students would have a better feel when they get those essay assignments. I write a lot of code, but I don’t write essays so even that is a little scary for meJ
So AU is not better or worse, just different. I think people need to keep that in mind.
[editors note: AU has just introduced a new How To Write A Term Paper resource, at: http://www.athabascau.ca/html/services/counselling/writing/].
Do you work? What do you do?
I’ve been a Web Master specializing in web programming for the last 6 years. I also have a Computer Networking Diploma and do that as well. I am an avid Linux fan for your FYI if you know geektonianJ. The last 3 years, though I have been a teacher primarily.
How is AU helping you toward your goals?
I want to complete my degree. I have 2 college diplomas and I want to go to teachers college so I can teach computers to grade 12 students. I have 21 certifications in computers and companies like Microsoft will pay to train high school students and for the equipment. However, the teacher has to be Microsoft Certified and have a teaching certificate. That is very rare at least here in Ontario. I want to do this so that we can reduce failure rates for first year computer students at University and College, which tend to be rather high.
What are your future goals?
Teachers College:..maybe an MPJ way off though.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for other students?
Well, persistence is what I would say is the biggest factor in determining your success out there. Don’t give up just keep going. Master what you love and the doors will open for you. I tell my students that “studying computers is like canoeing: the more portages you go over the fewer the number of people on the lake,” meaning take the harder subjects and tackle them. You’ll have skills then that nobody else will.
Anything else we should know? Funny stories about the dog eating your laptop/ praise for AU, a friend or a tutor?
My dog ate my TV remote once. I tell everyone I pay him 25 cents a day for guarding the house. He has just finished paying me back.
I was informed that rising tuition is something that is on everyone’s mind. Being a teacher and a student I see both sides of the coin. I know here in Ontario at least, Universities and Colleges are seriously counting change. They don’t have money for anything really and money is always a big issue with regard to everything. I always see students walking around with signs saying, “Freeze tuition” on them. I say to them “great lets do it” and if you are really serious I will stand out here with you. But then I hear them complain about taxes being too high. If you want cheap tuition you better be willing to pay for it later through higher taxes. We have a whole generation who went through school for a quarter of what our 20 and 30s generation is paying and are they are the most vocal ones now demanding these tax breaks. Their parents likely didn’t even finish high school before being sent off to WWII and they footed their educational tax bills.
Westerners in the last 10 years have tended to vote both federally and provincially for very right wing people, who give taxes cuts to the rich and run Canada like a dot-com company. Ontarians have tended to vote for a very right wing conservative government provincially and a center-left party federally. It really does cause a lot of confusion when it comes to spending.
What I am trying to say is that since we started running Canada like a dot-com company we have seen a smaller group of people just living the high life and a lot more poorer people out there with a lot less. How you vote “and voting as a student” can make a big difference! I can tell you that as a teacher the elected people are the ones really holding the purse strings! I can also tell you as a person who is very involved in politics and is very active with an MP and MPP, that they don’t tend to listen to students much because they don’t vote!
Arthur, thanks for taking out the time to answer our questions and letting us get to know you. Good luck with your studies and with finding a study buddy for your courses.
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