Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series written by Athabasca University (AU) students and alumni who want to share how AU has helped shape their lives.
It’s a space to thank the people who provided help and support along the journey, and to share insight on how learning at AU has transformed their lives, careers, families, and communities.
These stories are worth shouting from the rooftops! Do you have an inspiring story to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.
After working in the IT industry for the past 30 years, I never imagined that I would be going back to university to complete/continue my education.
I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1995 with a bachelor’s of applied science in electrical engineering. Ever since, I have been employed in the software testing area for various organizations, working on leading-edge technology and expanding my professional network.
It was not until I began teaching part-time at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont. during the summer of 2016 that I truly found my passion. I really enjoyed passing on my knowledge and experience to up-and-coming software developers and testers and seeing them succeed. One thing led to another, and soon I was encouraged by my supervisors at Conestoga to pursue a master’s degree in information systems. Upgrading my education would allow me to be considered for a full-time teaching position.
Returning to school after 25 years
I dreaded going back to school and initially had doubts as to whether I would succeed. I was in my late forties at the time with a growing family and had not gone to school for a quarter century. Registering for the Master of Science Information Systems program at Athabasca University was a breeze. Due to my experience, I was accepted to start learning in September 2019.
I felt overwhelmed at first using systems such as The Landing and Moodle for collaborating and retrieving course information, but it wasn’t long before both were easy to understand and use. On a personal front, I had minor surgery in September 2019 and was worried about missing work or being late with assignments. Thanks to the systems in use at AU, I didn’t miss any material and was able to keep abreast with the coursework.
“No matter your age or your educational background, AU keeps students engaged and connected for their ultimate success.”
– Baljeet Bilkhu (Master of Science Information Systems ’21)
I really enjoyed having access to all course material 24/7 as it allowed me to focus on my studies at my leisure. It was also great to have access to professors through email and other virtual means for help and guidance. This last point was key to my success at AU; being able to collaborate virtually with colleagues and professors allowed me to be engaged during this whole process.
Now speaking from the perspective of a professor, I can relate to the correlation between student engagement and their success. This is something I have taken to heart in my current profession. All in all, AU and the Master of Science Information Systems was a great experience. No matter your age or your educational background, AU keeps students engaged and connected for their ultimate success.
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