Editorial – Taking Advantage

It’s been quite the week. The AUSU mail-out featuring The Voice Magazine generated a lot of interest, both for the positions described as well as some ideas from students for new articles and columns in some areas that the Voice doesn’t typically cover. I’m hopeful these will pan out and you’ll start to see some new and interesting content in these pages over the next few months.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some great new content this week, starting off with the first part of our interview with Dr. Neil Fassina, AU’s new non-interim (finally) president. Conducted before he was officially installed, writer Scott Jacobsen asked him about the impressions of AU he was coming in with, and what we might expect to see coming from his office because of it.

We also have one students’ impression of the recent talk by AU’s new Writer in Residence (profiled a couple of issues ago). I was lucky enough to find some time to attend this talk and I agree with the assessment. Fortunately, AU has made the video of the talk available, so you can experience the whole thing if you want. What’s more, I would urge you to do so. One of the short-comings of a distance university is that, compared to traditional bricks-and-mortar schools, there are relatively few opportunities for AU students to have shared experiences. Yet those experiences are typically some of the most memorable points for students in most other post-secondary institutions.

You might be the type of person who thinks that you’re just here to get your degree, or even just that single course you’re picking up from another university, so don’t need to participate. And you’d be absolutely right. You can complete your entire degree without ever attending any of the talks that AU hosts, nor going to a student organized meet-up, attending an information session, or even convocation. But just because you don’t need to doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Going to any of these types of events will give you one thing that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere in your AU courses?a sense of passion. When you attend one of these events you suddenly realize how excited everybody at AU, even you, is about learning and expanding their horizons. It can be both eye-opening and inspiring. So I say to you, participate. Take a look at our AU-Thentic events column and pick something to attend. Go to a student meet-up. Maybe come and sit through a Council Meeting, just to get a sense of the community that surrounds AU. Or if that’s too much, consider submitting your name for a student interview with The Voice Magazine, or, if you’re having problems, write a question to Dear Barb. Not only will you get an answer, you might help other students out there who have the same question as you, but are worried about asking.

And then, push your tutors, your students’ union, your university, for more of these opportunities. Because a first-class university is about more than just the courses it teaches, but about the opportunities it provides. We need Athabasca University to take advantage of new technologies in the web and streaming to ensure that AU provides as much opportunity for growth as any bricks and mortar institution.

Enjoy the Read! 

P.S. If you didn’t already know, The Voice Magazine has a Facebook page and a twitter feed if You’re into that kind of thing!