Canada's Athabasca University offers college courses at the click of a mouse
The university held its convocation in a
tent in the parking lot because it has no
gym or stadium-not even a campus, if
you get right down to it. Without a university
band, Athabasca's academic procession
features a bagpiper. Athabasca
holds a convocation because, as its president
Dominique Abrioux said, "Traditions
are important"-even for online learners.
"It's the only time we meet our students.
We want to leave them with a lasting impression."
Athabasca University, which is 30 years
old, is located in the small town of the
same name (Cree for "land of whispering
reeds and hills") 84 miles north of Edmonton.
The university is the town's largest
employer with about 300 people on staff.
From the outside, the offices resemble a
small liberal arts college. But inside, there
are no classrooms. The modern building is
set in a wooded area, and deer are often
seen on the grounds. Once in awhile, a
bear may amble along to peer into the registrar's window...(continue)
SAT Summer Camp
Parents and students hope for a score-raising experience
That's right: her number-two pencils.
That's because Tiffany had chosen to
attend Whitman Enrichment Programs, a
ten-day residential camp devoted to intensive
SAT preparation. Forget cabins,
canoes and campfire songs. This camp was
all about keeping score-and then raising
Tiffany's mother, Debra Pace, said
she'd never had to push her daughter. But
Tiffany's grandmother had picked up the
tab for the camp, and "expects a big return
for her money," Pace said, as she dropped
off Tiffany at Curry College, outside Boston.
It was one of two college campuses
(the other was California State University,
Long Beach) where Whitman held four
sessions of SAT camp
this past summer. Before
she left, Pace had
these words for Tiffany:
"Get the best
score you can."
That also was the
message delivered at
an introductory orientation
session by camp
director Bill Dorfman,
an affable New Yorker
and former private
We want to make
sure that everyone here-I hate to put it
so crassly-gets what they paid for,"
Dorfman told the campers, who came
from nine states and half a dozen foreign
countries. Most of the 22 campers-eight
boys, 14 girls-attend private schools,
many of which are boarding schools. "We
have all of these different backgrounds,"
Dorfman noted, "but we're all here for the
same reason: to get the best SAT score we
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