Skip To Content

Athabasca University

Course-Related Procedures

Students are encouraged but not required to complete COMP 505 and COMP 506 before taking COMP 607. Elective courses may be taken upon the completion of the core courses or concurrently with the core courses offered in any term.

Delivery Modes

PBC ITM courses are delivered via online grouped study and online individualized study using distance education instructional design principles and enabling web-based technologies:

  • Some course materials (textbook(s), CD-ROM, etc.) are sent through the mail.
  • Other course materials (study guides, assignments, links to online resources, etc.) are made available through SCIS server.
  • Courses may have required online components.
  • Students work their way through the learning materials and complete assignments at their own pace, and communicate with the instructor, the university, or with other students through the Internet.
  • Students have access to an instructor, who may be contacted by email. The instructor gives subject matter assistance and discusses scholarly issues, marks assignments, provides feedback, and helps prepare for examinations.
  • Concluding examinations (where applicable) can be taken at many post-secondary institutions across Canada and overseas.
  • Students are expected to use computer-mediated communication for the following purposes:
    • Instructor and student-to-student interactions in computer conferences,
    • Electronic mail, both within and outside of the course structure,
    • File transfer or file attachment of assignments and feedback between instructor and students and between students on joint projects, and
    • Accessing web-based resources such as electronic databases (the Athabasca University library maintains subscriptions to ACM ad IEEE digital libraries).

Online Grouped Study

A mode of learning involving online study as part of a group, with specific start and end dates. Synchronous communication requirements are generally more central to the learning process than in individualized study courses. In the PBC ITM program, this delivery mode will be used primarily for courses which have elements of professional practice requiring that students work in various group configurations to complete assignments.

Online grouped study courses in the PBC ITM program will be offered during these sessions each year. Refer to the Academic Schedule for each session start date. All course work should be completed during the semester periods. Online grouped study delivery has the following characteristics:

  • Students work with fellow students and instructors on a 13-week timetable.
  • Sessions start three times each year: September, January, or May.
  • Exams, where applicable, are written in the last scheduled week of classes.

Online Individualized Study

Online individualized study courses begin on the first day of every month. Course registration form and fees must be received at least one month in advance of your intended start date.

Online individualized study courses comprise a self-directed learning environment. Typically learners are required to:

  • follow an outline provided in a Study Guide
  • schedule study time to achieve course objectives and complete assignments
  • prepare for and complete assignments on time.

Online individualized study delivery has to the following characteristics:

  • Students communicate with their instructor via email, and assignments are submitted via the course website.
  • Sessions start at the beginning of every month.
  • Exams, where applicable, are written on or before the contract end date.
  • The course contract period for individualized study courses is six months.

Course Withdrawals and Refunds

Early Withdrawal

(Within 30 days of the Course Start Date)

Students may withdraw within 30 days from their course start date for a refund of the full courses fee, less the withdrawal processing fee. The registration will not appear on the transcript and will be deleted from the official record. Please refer to the refund policy for further details. Learning resources should not be returned to Athabasca University.


(Before the course contract end date)

Students may withdraw from a course before the course end date without academic penalty. A "W" (Withdrawal) will appear on the transcript, which means the student has withdrawn without credit and without penalty. There is no refund, and learning resources should not be returned to Athabasca University.

Students will not be able to withdraw from a course without academic penalty in any of the following cases:

  • The course has a final exam and the student has written the final exam, or
  • If the course does not have a final exam, but all of the assignments have been submitted for marking.

If a student does not formally withdraw by the course end date, and does not complete the course, the official record will reflect and "F" (Failure). A grade will be assigned and calculated into the cumulative average. There is no refund, and learning resources should not be returned to Athabasca University.

The course end date is the scheduled end of an independent paced session for grouped study courses, and the expiry date of the course contract period for individualized study courses. We also do not automatically withdraw students and we handle re-enrolment on a case-by case basis.


Students will receive a refund of their full course fees minus the course withdrawal processing fee (refer to PBC ITM fees) if they withdraw from the course within the first month. Students should not return their learning resources. Students wishing to withdraw from a course(s) before the first day of class will receive a full refund providing all materials are returned completely unmarked and are able to be reissued to another student.

Minimum Course Load

To maintain program status, students who are completing the course requirement of the PBC ITM program must complete a minimum of six credits of course work during each academic year. Students who fail to maintain a minimum course load will be placed on academic probation and will be withdrawn from the program if they do not maintain program status in the subsequent year.

Program Extension (Continuation) Fees

Program extension fees are the same as course fees. Program extension fees are normally assessed when program students do not register in the required six credits per academic year.

Minimum Academic Performance

Students who do not maintain academic standards will be withdrawn from the program. Minimal acceptable academic performance is defined as:

  • No more than one B- (70 to 74 per cent) in a core course.
  • No more than one C+ (66 to 69 per cent) in an elective course.

Please note that although COMP 605 is an elective course in PBC ITM, it is a core course in the MSc IS program. Those students wishing to apply for admission in the MSc IS program should note that they would need to achieve at least B- to count COMP 605 in the MSc IS program.

Grading System (thesis or project are not included in the PBC ITM)

All courses in the PBC ITM will be graded using the Graduate Grading Policy.

Program Registration Procedures

Registration in courses is subject to prerequisite requirements or professor permission. Elective courses may be taken on completion of the core courses or concurrently with the core courses offered in any term.

Course Extensions

Course extensions are not available for any of the core and elective courses in the PBC ITM program.


Students are allowed only one re-registration in each course. Both the initial registration and the re-registration will appear on the student’s academic record.

Students may re-register in a course only if they have received more than one final grade of B- or lower in a core course or more than one final grade of C+ or lower in an elective course, or have withdrawn from the course in good standing. In re-registering, students must complete all course requirements and pay the full course fee.


Information effective September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017.

Updated December 19 2016 by laurab

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.