Editorial – Illuminated

Volume 23, issue 23. If you’re a fan of the work of Robert Anton Wilson, that would make this an auspicious issue indeed. And while I could probably go on at length here about corruption in power and groups that meet behind closed doors to discuss what they plan to do with our resources, dreams, and lives, this issue really doesn’t back that up.

What we do have, however, is an attempt to start a bi-weekly column that examines the AU student perspective in a manner that’s a little less concrete than many of our articles. Check out “Fly on the Wall”, by Jason Sullivan, to see how it goes, and if you have a moment, let me know what you think.

However, if what you’re looking for is concrete advice to help you as an AU student, then we’ve got a number of good articles this week, from Barb Lehtiniemi’s look at the latest Library tutorial, to Deanna Roney having to deal with her own burn out as she nears the end of her degree, as well as our advice from The Study Dude and The Writer’s Toolbox.

Our feature article this week is an interview with fellow student Maryam Adham. Maryam comes from a background with a brick-and-mortar university, so has a bit of a unique perspective in being able to compare being a program student in both. I’d also like to point out that The Voice Magazine is always looking for more students, like you, who would be willing to take a few minutes out of their day to be interviewed. Part of what I hope I’m achieving here with The Voice Magazine is helping students to understand that they’re not in this alone, that even though we may not see the thousands of others, or even be aware of their existence every day, we’re all out here, we’re all doing this, and that desire to learn on our own terms serves to unite us in some fashion, even as we are all so incredibly different in our goals and experiences.

This is something that AU, in my opinion, doesn’t leverage enough. The non-paced model of AU course delivery makes it difficult, of course, but AU puts very little effort itself into creating experiences that could be used to bring students together. For most universities, that task is handled simply by there being a campus that students need to congregate at to get to their classes, but at AU it takes something extra. Personally, I’d love to see AU start spending time and resources into developing a set of online symposiums. Bring in luminaries in various fields, along the lines of the TED conferences, and invite students and staff to watch these people do their presentations and perhaps even answer some live questions. Many universities host many speakers and conferences, and yes, some of them can cause some controversy, but shouldn’t those shared experiences be part of your university experience as well? As distance students, we have limited opportunities for shared experiences. We have some opportunity for communication, through Facebook, the Landing, and the AUSU forums, but, to me, that’s different from sharing an experience. Participation is not the same as illumination.

Hopefully, The Voice Magazine serves as one such experience, and my hope is that one day we’ll see more.
But until then, enjoy the read!