Minds We Meet—Deanna C.

Interviewing Students Like You!

The Voice Magazine recently had a chance to chat with Deanna C.  (she/her), a Bachelor of General Studies – Applied Studies student (with a focus on Indigenous Studies and Educational Psychology) from Thunder Bay, Ontario.  This “qualified OCT teacher,” who works “full-time for an Indigenous organization in curriculum development,” has plans “on continuing to work in education and continue onto a Masters of Education Program.”  On a personal note, Deanna stated, “I am residing in Robinson-Superior Treaty territory, and I am a Métis citizen.”

This busy student had some great study tips for fellow AU learners.  “I study best before my work day—early morning or early weekend mornings.  This is helpful for me because I still feel like I have contributed to my learning even after my work day gets busy.

Some of my study tips:

  • Don’t cram or procrastinate
  • Get ahead on your assignments
  • Be proactive and reach out to your tutor
  • Study in a place with few distractions
  • Take Breaks – reward yourself
  • Set SMART goals
  • Review”

She also had some advice for new students and/or prospective students.  “Take some time to look over the course, assignments, and forums online before starting the first readings and assignments.  Once I started doing this, I found I was able to connect to the material on a deeper level.”

When she is not busy studying, Deanna enjoys spending time with family, reading, and travelling.  Speaking of travel, she shared her most memorable vacation with The Voice Magazine.  “I feel grateful for all my vacation experiences but think the most memorable would be going to Disney World in Florida with my husband and daughter.  Seeing the joy and amazement through her eyes was truly magical and unforgettable.”

Like many AU learners, the flexibility and accessibility of online learning has been a great asset for Deanna.  “Online learning has been a good option for me because I live in Northern Ontario, with little access to many post-secondary schools.  The platform AU uses has been much like other additional qualification courses that I have taken remotely.  I found the experience with online learning has been great and easy to maneuver if you are okay with being more independent with your learning.”

As for communications with her course tutors?  “I feel like the tutor’s communications are vastly different from course to course.  Some tutors respond quickly, and some tutors respond a week or more later.  Most responses have not been all that helpful.  Clear and consistent expectations on the tutors for what a reasonable and meaningful response should look like.”

The Voice Magazine asked Deanna what her first project would be if she were the new president of AU.  She stated, “I would like to see each course have actual check-in points with the tutors/instructors.  This could look like a meeting at the start of each course, and then a halfway and end point meet.  These could be online through Zoom, or Teams in a drop in setting.”

As a final note, we asked Deanna about her most valuable lesson learned in life.  “My most valuable life lesson is that growing old is a privilege,” she said.  And her proudest moment?  “Becoming a mother and learning how to be the best version of myself for her by being a mom.”  Best of luck Deanna!

At times, in an online learning environment, it can feel like you are all alone, but across the nation and around the globe, students just like you are also pursuing their Athabasca University (AU) studies!  Each week, The Voice Magazine will be bringing you some of these stories.  If you would like to be featured next, do not hesitate to get in touch!