Informal HTML adaptation of the 1999-2000 Calendar      Effective September 1, 1999 - August 31, 2000
Index & Search


10.   Student Support Services

InformationCentre Learning Centre Learning Accreditation Registrar
Library >Computer Help Desk Student Association

There are several departments at Athabasca University ready to offer information and advice to students: the Information Centre, academic centres, learning centres (advising and counselling services), Learning Services, Office of the Registrar, Course Materials, Computing Services, and Library Services. If you require help in clarifying your educational objective Athabasca University's Advising Services will help you select courses appropriate to your program of study. Counselling Services will help you determine your educational and career goals and assist you in overcoming any barriers to learning you may experience.

Both services are located at Athabasca University learning centres. Please refer to Services in the Calendar preface for appropriate telephone numbers.

Remember, for ease of understanding, gathering, and confirming previous information, it helps us all considerably if you write down the individual's name to whom you were speaking at the time.

Check the Web

Athabasca University's Web site is maintained daily. Please refer to for the most recent updates and information.

10.1.  Information Centre

Information Centre staff answer a wide variety of queries from active students, first-time registrants and prospective students. As well as being a helpful voice on the telephone offering up-to-date information, the attendants arrange for a variety of materials to be mailed. To reach the Information Centre between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time, call the toll-free number, (800) 788-9041 or (780) 675-6111. Outside of business hours you may leave a voice-mail message or use electronic mail: or visit us on the Web at

10.1.1.  Hours of Service

All University departments in Athabasca are open at a minimum from Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Hours of operation and geographical areas served by the learning centres are listed in the Calendar preface. Voice mail and electronic mail are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Information Centre is open at 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Both the Information Centre and the Office of the Registrar remain open throughout the lunch hour.

10.1.2.  Closures

No services are provided by any Athabasca University department (including tutors) on Family Day (third Monday in February), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, August civic holiday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, or (between and including) Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

10.2.  Academic Centres: Tutors and Professors

Athabasca University professors work within academic centres. These centres are grouped according to program and research areas. Call the appropriate academic centre for specific information about your marks, final grades, and course permissions.

Athabasca University's part-time tutors and full-time professors (see Section 17-Faculty, Professional Staff, and Tutors) are the primary academic resource available to students. Tutors and professors help students understand course content and provide strategies for effective learning. They also mark and comment on assignments and exams and help students prepare for these tasks. Tutors and professors have experience in their field and are knowledgeable about the courses they teach. In addition, they are interested in following their students' progress and assisting them in achieving their educational goals.

10.2.1.  Student-Tutor Interaction
(Home Study)

Home-study students interact with their tutor or professor by phone, fax, electronic mail, computer conferencing, and regular mail. Tutors are supplied with toll-free numbers. In some courses, tutors and professors organize and help conduct lab sessions, workshops, or discussion and self-help groups.

The name, address, telephone number, and tutoring schedule of your tutor or professor is included in a letter you will receive soon after you register (it is usually sent with the registration confirmation letter) or about two weeks before the start date in the case of a pre-registration.

Students may telephone their tutor or professor toll-free from anywhere in Canada or the United States during scheduled hours. Those living outside these areas must pay their own long-distance charges.

Athabasca University has a commitment to offer year-round registration in home study. There may be times when a tutor or professor is unavailable to students because of illness, vacation, statutory holidays or other leaves. The University endeavours to inform students in advance, when possible, of such absences so they can rearrange their study schedule.

10.2.2.  Student-Tutor Interaction (Paced Study)

Students taking courses as a group work with their tutor or professor through a variety of paced delivery means (e.g., classroom seminars, videoconference seminars, audio-teleconference seminars). What distinguishes students taking paced courses from their home-study counterparts is they must complete all of the course requirements within the time-frame set by the University. Typically, this means that students complete paced courses on a semester basis and often this involves using facilities, equipment, and other resources provided by a collaborating institution (see 13-Collaborative Programs and Institutions) or an Athabasca University learning centre (see 10.4 Learning Centre Services).

Paced-study tutors and professors are required to provide their students with a course outline/syllabus on or before the first session that shows how the student will be evaluated and the dates by which the various required activities must be completed.

10.3.  Learning Services

Learning Services staff, working out of the Office of the Vice President, Academic, are responsible for the overall coordination of courses, tutors, professors, and students.

10.3.1.  Learning Services Tutorial

Working with the academic centres, this department administers tutoring workloads, leaves, introductory letters, and hours of tutoring among other duties. (Enquiries about tutor availability, lost tutor letters etc., can be e-mailed to

10.3.2.  Learning Services Outreach

Together with the undergraduate academic centres, this department administers the delivery of paced courses.

This involves working with cooperating institutions and special interest groups to assess needs, plan, implement, and evaluate the delivery of paced courses and programs.

10.4.  Learning Centre Services

The learning centres are primary points of contact and sources of information for anyone interested in the academic programs and services of Athabasca University. The following services are offered to help students make informed choices about their education and to succeed in their selected program.

The services listed are available in Calgary and Edmonton, and most are also available in Fort McMurray: advice about program requirements and course selection; Alberta Student Finance Board application forms; application forms for students with disabilities, and information about extensions and special examination services; audio visual playback equipment and course audio and videotapes; complete advising and counselling services; computer lab instruction; examination supervision; information about courses, programs, and procedures, as well as information on distance education programs from other educational institutions; paced courses; reference and self-help material in the resource centre; and registration services.

If you live within a local phone call away from the following learning centres, you may dial directly.

If you are outside the area, dial the toll-free number, (800) 788-9041, and an Information Centre attendant will connect you to the appropriate department or learning centre. Refer to Services in the Calendar preface.

10.4.1.  Advising and Counselling Services

Athabasca University advisors help students select courses appropriate to their program of study. They also explain and acquire information about University requirements and procedures, assist students in applying for financial aid, and refer students to other resources. Advisors are located in Calgary, Edmonton, and Fort McMurray, and can assist you over the telephone, in person, or by electronic mail. Please refer to the appropriate numbers in Services in the Calendar preface.

Counselling Services helps students define their educational and career goals and assists them in choosing a program of study. Counsellors can suggest ways for students to budget their study time, encourage those needing motivation to complete their academic requirements, or help students apply for financial assistance. They may also recommend the following materials that are available from Athabasca University Students Association (see 10.11 Athabasca University Students Association).

  1. Improve Your Study Skills: A Series of Seven Modules for Adult Students helps students improve their study habits and hone their skills. Topics covered include: getting started, time management, reading to remember, note taking, essay writing, surviving the slumps, and taking examinations.

  2. Study Smart: Study Skills Software for Students, consists of two disks (that require only a 386 PC) that provide an interactive study skills program designed for individualized use.

  3. Coping with Exam Anxiety Handbook: A Step-by-step Guide for Adult Learners focuses on the physical and emotional experience of anxiety. It shows how self-defeating thoughts can be replaced by performance-enhancing ones.

10.4.2.  Alberta Universities Writing Competence Test

Learning centres also offer the Alberta Universities Writing Competence Test that fulfils the writing skills requirement of the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Professional Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Science (Post Diploma) degrees. Students may write the test using Athabasca University's examination supervision procedure. Times for writing the test, request forms, and further information are available from the learning centres. Students will be charged the appropriate fee to write the Alberta Universities Writing Competence Test.

10.4.3.  Resource Centres

Each learning centre has a resource centre where students can consult a variety of reference and learning materials such as: sample course materials; the Alberta Transfer Guide (also available at; course-related audio and videotapes; career planning, time management, and educational job search materials; the Library's online catalogue (AUCAT); Improve Your Study Skills: A Series of Seven Modules for Adult Students-available to students only; and Coping With Exam Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Guide for Adult Students-available to students only.

In addition to Athabasca University Calendar and brochures about academic programs, learning centres distribute a variety of information and self-help publications developed for adult students in distance education. Please see under 8.4.2 for the appropriate fees for each publication.

10.5.  Centre for Learning Accreditation

Athabasca University established a Centre for Learning Accreditation in 1996. The centre provides opportunities for students to gain credit for non-formal learning and workplace and labour training programs. Several methods from many areas of learning will be developed to provide students with a variety of routes for credit assessment.

The centre is engaged in developing policies and procedures that will assess student learning; portfolio development and assessment by distance; and training and research in learning accreditation. The centre will cooperate with government, employers, unions, and professional organizations on specific problems. For more information contact:

Ken Collier Director, Centre for Learning Accreditation
Athabasca University
1 University Drive
Athabasca AB T9S 3A3
Phone: (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6481) or (780) 675-6481.
Web site:

10.6.  Office of the Registrar

Services from the Office of the Registrar are obtained by telephone, mail, fax, or in person at the University's central office in Athabasca. Some services may be requested using electronic mail addressed to For more information contact:

Office of the Registrar
Athabasca University
1 University Drive
Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3
Phone the Information Centre at: (780) 675-6100 or
toll-free (800) 788-9041
Fax: (780) 675-6174

10.6.1.  Admission and Evaluation Services

Admission and Evaluation Services admits students to the University, enrols them in specific programs, evaluates transfer credit, and monitors courses for application to undergraduate degree university certificate or diploma programs. Admission and Evaluation Services provides information and advice about: admission requirements; enrolment requirements; interpretation of and rulings on a program's regulations and requirements; authorization of courses to be taken at another university; evaluation of previous post-secondary education; questions regarding eligibility for graduation; and selection of courses before transfer credit is evaluated.

10.6.2.  Registration Services

Registration Services processes course registrations, withdrawals, extensions, financial aid applications, etc. Because of the need for signatures on these documents, students cannot request these services by electronic mail. Registration Services provides information and advice about: course registrations and changes in registration; extending course contracts; withdrawing; financial aid (e.g., Alberta Student Finance Board); course availability; general information regarding University policies, procedures, and services; and student identification cards.

10.6.3.  Financial Assistance

Part-time and full-time students may be eligible for financial assistance under the provisions of the Alberta Student Finance Board or other provincial programs if the student resides outside Alberta. Full-time students may qualify for a loan. Part-time students may receive bursaries. Amounts of loans and bursaries vary depending on individual needs. The Office of the Registrar provides information about financial aid and helps students apply for assistance (see 8.7 Financial Assistance).

10.6.4.  Services for Students with Disabilities

The University tries to accommodate students who have a permanent or temporary disability whether it arose before or after admission to the University. Prior to admission, prospective students with disabilities should contact the Office of the Registrar for a Verification of Limitation Form. If, after admission, circumstances arise that qualify students to receive special services, they should contact Coordinator, Access for Students with Disabilities, Brenda Moore (780) 497-3424 or e-mail to discuss their situation.

10.6.5.  Academic Records and Examination Services

Academic Records and Examination Services handle requests for transcripts, ensure final grades are sent to students, record final grades in the student's academic record, and distribute and supervise examinations. The unit is responsible for questions regarding a student's academic file; address or name changes; processing examination requests; mailing examinations to invigilators; coordinating examination supervision; distributing course composite (final) grades; sending out letters of certification and attestation (cannot be requested via e-mail); and issuing transcripts (cannot be requested via e-mail).

10.7.  Course Materials Production

Course Materials Production maintains an inventory of materials and distributes them to students. When you request a course registration by mail or fax, the registration is processed and the course materials package is dispatched as soon as possible. Allow approximately two to three weeks for the delivery of course materials within Canada, and up to four weeks in the United States.

Students may make special courier requests by using VISA®, MasterCard® or AMERICAN EXPRESS® payment. All prepaid courier costs will entitle the student to receive the University's special courier rates. Special rates do not apply to collect charges. See also 5.3.5 Foreign National/Other Students Shipping Expenses

Course Materials Production department assists students when course packages aren't received after registration confirmation has been sent by the Office of the Registrar. If confirmation has not been received, contact the Office of the Registrar. Contact Course Materials Production if items are missing from course packages, or there are damaged or inappropriate items in course packages. The department will replace lost materials.

Course Materials Production
Athabasca University
1 University Drive
Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3
Phone: (780) 675-6366 or (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6366)
Fax: (780) 675-6384,
Students who register at the Calgary, Edmonton, or Fort McMurray learning centres should direct enquiries about course materials to the Course Materials Production department in Athabasca.

10.8.  Library Services

Athabasca University Library serves its students through a collection of approximately 126,000 volumes of books and audio-visual materials, and nearly 800 journal titles. In addition, the library subscribes to more than 20 electronic databases that provide bibliographic citations, selected abstracts, and/or the full text of selected journal articles.

Electronic resources may be accessed through the library's Web page. Students may request materials and library assistance by contacting the library information desk. Students are encouraged to use library resources in their own community and may request assistance in identifying library services closest to them.

Athabasca University Library will make no guarantees with respect to the availability of materials and/or fees for services or materials at other libraries. Most library collections are available for in-house use at no cost, and according to each library's policies and procedures.

10.8.1.  Library Circulation Services

Students may request library materials by mail, telephone, fax, or electronic mail. Students must provide their name, student ID number, address, phone number, and the name and number of the course in which they are registered. Please specify the materials requested or provide a brief description of the subject or essay for which the materials are required.

The library normally sends the requested materials by mail to the home address, with an appropriate pre-addressed card for return to the library. Arrangements can be made for courier delivery to one of the Athabasca University learning centres. Reasonable attempts will be made to provide library services to students living outside of Canada.

10.8.2.  General Information

Telephone access to the library information desk is provided 24 hours a day. The library is open from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mailing address:
Athabasca University Library
1 University Drive
Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3
Athabasca callers 675-6254
Edmonton callers 421-8700
Calgary callers 263-6465
Alberta, Canada, and the United States call toll free (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6254)
Fax:(780) 675-6477
Web site:

10.8.3.  AUCAT, The Online Library Catalogue

Students may access AUCAT (the online catalogue of library materials) at one of the learning centres or through the library's Web page. Information about Athabasca University Library, the online catalogue, and services to Athabasca University students is also available on the Web at the URL listed previously in 10.8.2 General Information.

10.9.  Computing Services Help Desk

The Help Desk is designed to assist students and staff with the use of Athabasca University computing resources. For more information contact:

Fax: (780) 675-6333
Phone: (780) 675-6405 or (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6405)
Calgary automated attendant: 298-2915
Edmonton automated attendant: 497-3415

When using the automated attendant, choose the option for an extension or central office department in Athabasca, and then choose Computing Services Help Desk.

10.10.  Office of the Ombuds

The purpose of the office is to provide information or referral services to students and members of the University community. Office personnel act as facilitators between students and administrative staff and faculty, and assist in solving problems or complaints through informal negotiation rather than formal appeals and grievance procedures.

The Office of the Ombuds may be your first step in dealing with a question, problem, or concern when you don't know where to begin. Or it may be your final step in resolving an issue when you feel that the regular channels have failed. For more information contact:

Office of the Ombuds
Athabasca University
1 University Drive
Athabasca AB T9S 3A3

  • Staff and Student
    Relations Coordinator
    Phone: (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6131)

  • Administrative Assistant
    Phone: (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6116)

Fax: (780) 675-6450

10.11.  Athabasca University Students Association (AUSA)

Mission Statement

"To promote universal accessibility to open and distance university education."

AUSA achieves its mission by recognizing students' rights through advocacy, promoting student involvement and a sense of community, by developing support and collaboration with educational institutions, and by supporting the mission and objectives of Athabasca University.

AUSA is an organization of student volunteers governed by an elected student council of up to nine students from across the country. Offices and support staff are located at the Edmonton and Calgary learning centres. Job listings are posted at both centres and online.

AUSA's communications coordinator and editor publish a student newspaper, The Voice, from the Calgary office. Among other duties, AUSA hosts student socials (Meet Your Tutor night and open houses at learning centres); displays a job board at the Edmonton Learning Centre and online; provides out-of-province advocates; and helps students find a "study buddy." AUSA also funds a Student Services Award of $550, seeks funding from scholarships, provides assistance in forming clubs, and sends students to conferences. AUSA invites you to get involved. Your input and articles are welcome.

Fees are rated per course and are paid through your Athabasca University course registration. For more information contact:

Athabasca University Students Association (AUSA)
Athabasca University Learning Centre - Edmonton
3rd Floor, North Tower, Seventh Street Plaza
10030-107 St.,
Edmonton, AB T5J 3E4
Phone: (800) 788-9041 (ext. 2905) or
(780) 497-7000 (Edmonton) or
(403) 298-2905 (Calgary)
Fax: (780) 497-7003 (Edmonton)
Fax: (403) 298-2922 (Calgary, The Voice)
Web site:

10.12.  Athabasca University Alumni Association (AUAA)

Mission Statement

"The Athabasca University Alumni Association will promote and support the University and facilitate lifelong learning opportunities for its members."

All graduates (degree and certificate), honorary doctorates, friends of the University, and former members of Athabasca University Governing Council, are all considered full members of the Athabasca University Alumni Association (incorporated January 1996). Associate membership is open to former students who have completed successfully nine Athabasca University credits and have applied for membership in accordance with the Associate Member Policy.

All members may participate in programs and services offered by AUAA. Members are kept informed of news and activities of the association in the alumni newsletter. It is published semi-annually and mailed to all members. Chapters are now recognized by AUAA. Subject to AUAA approval, Chapters may be formed in any program or geographical area. Each Chapter may elect officers, form committees, and plan programs. Applications to form a Chapter may be made to AUAA.

Each year AUAA hosts the Alumni Reception in Athabasca the night before the June convocation ceremony. All graduands and their families are invited to attend. AUAA's annual general meeting is held each spring. All members are invited to attend in person, online, or by audioconferencing, to participate and vote on association business. The Alumni Award for Leadership is a $500 award presented annually to recognize an alumnus for active participation in the association. For more information contact:

Athabasca University Alumni Association (AUAA)
North Tower, Seventh Street Plaza
#318, 10030 - 107 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 3E4
Phone: (800) 788-9041 (ext. 3437) or (780) 421-8700 (ext. 3437)
Web site:

10.13.  Postal Service Interruption

If Canada Post mail service is disrupted due to a strike or work slowdown, ensure your distance education continues uninterrupted by reading the following steps.

To Communicate with Athabasca University

Phone: (800) 788-9041
Fax: (780) 675-6174 (do not mail any originals after postal service resumes)

To Receive / Send Materials

  • Clearly label all materials you are sending to the University. Talk with your tutor(s) about alternatives (e.g., e-mail, fax) for sending / returning assignments. Course materials and registration documents, library materials, and other written items can be picked up at Athabasca, Edmonton, Calgary, and Fort McMurray learning centres:

  • Edmonton 2nd floor, North Tower, Seventh Street Plaza, 10030 - 107 Street. (780) 421-8700.

  • Calgary 3rd floor, 1040 - 7 Ave., S.W. (403) 263-6465.

In Alberta (except Edmonton, Calgary or Fort McMurray)

You may drop off and pick up material:

  • at any provincial government courier location (usually government departments, agencies, boards, and commissions). Call your nearest Athabasca University learning centre (Athabasca, Edmonton, Calgary, or Fort McMurray) toll-free for your nearest provincial government courier location.

  • at several post-secondary institutions. Please call your closest learning centre for the post-secondary institution nearest you.

In Canada (Outside of the Province of Alberta)

  • at several post-secondary institutions. Please call your closest learning centre for the post-secondary institution nearest you.

Outside of Canada

  • Please call the Office of the Registrar (800) 788-9041 (for Canada or the United States callers) or (780) 675-6100 (for callers living outside Canada or the United States), to discuss the necessary arrangements.

To Make Examination Requests

  • To make examination requests contact the nearest examination centre.

  • Contact Examination Services in the Office of the Registrar to discuss alternatives to writing examinations at established examination centres.

To Request Course Adjustments

Adjustments may be made to a course contract based on the length of the postal disruption. Contact the Office of the Registrar to request an adjustment.

Your education is important to us. Please call Athabasca University Information Centre at (800) 788-9041 if you require additional information or check Athabasca University's home page,, for the most up-to-date information.

In the event of a discrepancy between the informal web site version and the printed 1999-2000 Calendar, the latter alone is to be regarded as the authoritative and legally binding source.

Public Affairs

AU  Homepage