Can You Miss What You Never Had?

I have heard stories about course reviews, reviews that used to exist on the Athabasca University Student Union (AUSU) website. I have been a student at Athabasca University (AU) since 2012; I have only ever heard about these mythical reviews through whispers in dark corners of the forums.

What happened to these reviews? Anytime I have heard them discussed students have been adamant that they would love to have access to these. I had heard that the platform that was being used needed to be updated, and that was proving challenging due to the extent of information. It is my understanding, though, that these reviews disappeared a couple years before I became a student, and, while I am not technically minded, I cannot understand why it would take this many years to resolve the issue and have student course reviews back up and running. It is my understanding that “they” were working on it. This is all information that I have heard in dribbles over the years. It leaves me wondering if these reviews are still being worked on, or if “they” have thrown their hands up and abandoned them altogether?

I know that at the end of every course I get sent a survey. I always take time and care when answering these surveys, hoping that my input may benefit future students. What happens to these surveys? Couldn’t this information be used and presented to students who would like information on a course? Information such as workload, reading weight, and overall enjoyment?

Right now students have come together on Facebook, posting questions about courses and asking for student feedback. This process works well for popular courses. If you post a question about Women and Gender Studies course 333 (Goddess Mythology) you will become bombarded with opinions from students who have loved this course. If you post a question about a less popular course (less popular, at least, within the Facebook group) you may get a couple responses, or none. It is valuable for students to know how others have found the course, and the larger the pool of opinions, the better it is.

The course reviews would be an excellent source for students; especially if you are taking a course that not many have recently enrolled in. The reviews could have opinions from every student who has taken it and took the time to review it. This would give students a well-rounded opinion to make an informed discussion whether this course would fit into their current schedule, or if they would be better off waiting until things slow down before attempting it.

It’s possible that it is a large undertaking?that it is being worked on, however, I have not seen it mentioned or talked about recently, and it does not appear to be on the minds of those currently at AUSU. Not according to the recent AGM package or Council meeting agendas that I have seen. I would like to ask AUSU to, if the reviews have fallen out of sight, to bring them back into focus. Consider the ways reviews would benefit all students.

Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature