Posts By: Jason Sullivan

Jason Sullivan

An unofficial AU advocate at large, Jason never misses a chance to recount the merits of an Athabasca education. Jason’s studies began alone in front of a rustic rural fireplace in December of 2003 and carried on through various brick and mortar college classrooms yet always with Athabasca as part of his journey. In 2014 he completed his BA in Sociology and in 2022 graduated with an MA in Cultural Studies. To this end, his columns seek to explore edifying moments of learning how to learn within the challenging ideological terrain of that great bugaboo facing students everywhere: the real world!

Fly on the Wall—Progress Not Perfection

Working from home has probably gained cachet by being a preferable alternative to COVID scares and toxic workplace cultures.  As distance students, we might then fly into a heavy course load and figure it’d all be free sailing.  Just catch the breeze of your inner motivation, right?  And no commutes to class in January, booyah!… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Humility and Vanity

What do we learn by becoming adult students?  Humility, maybe, in the face of a labour market culture that values us chiefly on our ability to bring in the big dough—usually for someone else.  Probably we all know a few folks who make, uh, phat cash on things that history may judge them negatively for. … Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Requiem for a Yew Tree

Academic disciplines are by nature exclusive in their views.  The word discipline says it all; disciplinary actions invoke strictures and disciplinary biases reveal a denuded emperor within any thought structure.  There are no limits to creativity as the re-forming of reality; learning is as much about unlearning prior beliefs than about gaining information.  In the… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Convoys and Herstory

Tom Petty once sang that “love is a long, long, road” (Petty, online).  The same is true of herstory, and particularly the herstory of dissent and protest.  In Martin Luther’s time, German peasants took literally the Protestant call for worldly authority to bow to scripture and the supremacy of personal relations with the other-worldly.  It… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Groundhogs and Their Day

Groundhog Day has come and gone and, well, it’s still February and it’s still Covid flu season.  The most famous Groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, forecast in “groundhogese” that Pennsylvania, at least, faces six more weeks of winter.  But wait, Phil has only been right four years in the past ten! (Rice, online).  Meanwhile, New Jersey’s most… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Video Games and the Nature of Community

Part of being human is the desire to be part of something larger than ourselves.  Truth, meaning, and learning all fulfill the role of giving a sense of shared understanding to our minds.  Being with others, physically or virtually, can also feel like a disadvantage.  Think of the quote: “I used to think that the… Read more »

This is Still Not a COVID Article–Part 2

What matters most and how do we represent it?  Not COVID; COVID doesn’t matter most, not in our sense of ourselves as AU students.  We are bigger than our times.  The tragedy of propaganda, whether true or false, as George Orwell reminded his readers, is that propaganda reduces our minds as it claims to represent… Read more »

This is not a COVID Article.

This is not a COVID article.  Computer algorithms may spot a key word, like teachers who spot head lice on children, but this article isn’t about words.  And it’s not about parasites, per se.  Remember when a phrase like gut fauna might have turned tummies?  Well, truth is, it is the representative weeds, er, wee… Read more »

They’ll Stone You When you Try to Use a Touchscreen

Did you ever write an AU assignment on a tablet?  Me neither!  While touch screen keypads might be suitable for kibitzing with family and friends and dolling our faces up with filters ranging from Capuchin Monkey to Octogenarian Granny, nothing beats the tactile nature of a physical keyboard. Traditional keypads contain ample space for flourishes… Read more »