Informal HTML adaptation of the 1999-2000 Calendar      Effective September 1, 1999 - August 31, 2000
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6.  Undergraduate Course Registration,
Progress Information

After being admitted to the University and enrolled in a credential or unclassified status (see Section 5 - Undergraduate Admission and Transfer Credit Procedures), you are registered in a course.

If you require assistance with your course selection, contact an advisor at one of the University's learning centres. (Refer to Services (in Calendar preface), telephone numbers) or Admission and Evaluation Services in the Office of the Registrar.

Please remember it is your responsibility to select courses that meet the program regulations and requirements in effect on the date you enrol in your program of study.

6.1.  Registering to Earn Credit

There are three primary ways you can earn credit for Athabasca University courses:

  1. Through home study. Home-study courses allow you to work on your own, set your own pace and set your own schedules for submitting assignments and writing examinations (within the course contract time).

  2. Through paced delivery mode. In paced courses offered by classroom, teleconference, and/or videoconference seminars, you meet with your instructor and classmates at scheduled times. You are also expected to submit your assignments and write exams at predetermined times.

  3. Through the challenge for credit option. The challenge for credit process allows you to demonstrate you have sufficiently mastered the contents of a particular course making it unnecessary for you to register in it.

6.2.  Course Start Dates/Registration

6.2.1.  Home-study Course Start Dates

Athabasca University’s home-study courses generally begin on the first day of each month of the year. The Office of the Registrar will accept registration forms up to the tenth day of the previous month for a subsequent month start date provided the application is complete and ready for processing. Students are encouraged to submit forms and fees by the first day of the month, thirty (30) days before their requested start date, to allow ample time for processing applications and any correspondence.

Most home-study students have six months to complete a 3- or 4-credit course and twelve months to complete a 6-credit course. In order to meet a student finance board’s requirements, students receiving or seeking funding are assigned a four-month contract for a 3- or 4-credit course and an eight-month contract for a 6-credit course.

Each home-study course registration has an official start date, which is the first day of a month, and concludes at the end of active registration or the contract date. You are sent confirmation of registration at the time of processing. You are considered actively registered in a course until the course is completed, the contract date expires, or you withdraw.

Home-study courses may be extended twice for a period of two months for either a 3- or 6-credit course (see 6.7 Course Extensions). Occasionally a course may not be available because of a temporary shortage of course materials or because the course has reached its registration capacity.

6.2.2.  Home-study Registration Methods

There are four ways to register in a home-study course at Athabasca University. Year-round registration is not offered in all home-study courses because of scheduling restrictions. Information about these exceptions may be found in the detailed course outline or by contacting the Information Centre.

  1. Automated Touchtone Registration and Withdrawal System. Only continuing/active, undergraduate students using a touchtone phone may use the Athabasca University Automated Touchtone Registration and Withdrawal System to register in home-study courses.

    Athabasca area callers 675-6100
    Edmonton area callers 421-8700
    Calgary area callers 263-6465
    Callers from Canada and the United States  (800) 788-9041

    Fees must be received by Athabasca University before using the touchtone registration system. Students registering using the touchtone system may charge their fees to their VISA®, MasterCard® or American Express® account or mail a cheque or money order payable to Athabasca University. When submitting your fees in advance, please allow ten working days for your cheque or money order to reach Athabasca University and be posted to your account. For additional information about fees see 8.2 Method of Payment and 8.3 Fee Summary.

    Course materials for students registering through the automated touchtone system will normally be forwarded within 24 hours of the registration being processed.

  2. In person at Athabasca University or a learning centre. New students and continuing students may register in person and pick up their course materials (if in stock) at Athabasca University or one of its learning centres located in Calgary, Edmonton, or Fort McMurray. First-time students are reminded to complete and submit both the General Application Form and the Course Registration Form. Students registering in person may pay their course fees by cash, cheque, money order or by VISA® , MasterCard®, AMERICAN EXPRESS®, or INTERAC®. For additional information about fees see 8.2 Method of Payment and 8.3 Fee Summary.

  3. In writing via mail or fax. Course registration and general application forms are located at the back of the Calendar or may be obtained through the University or one of its learning centres. First-time students are reminded to complete and submit both the General Application Form and the Course Registration Form.

    When completing a mail or fax registration request, please request your course by identifying the discipline and number (e.g., ENGL 211), not the course title (e.g., Prose Forms). For additional information about fees see 8.2 Method of Payment and 8.3 Fee Summary. Course materials for students who register by mail or fax will normally be forwarded within 24 hours of the registration being processed.

  4. Online. Athabasca University Registry Services Web site: Course materials for students who register online will normally be forwarded within 24 hours of the registration being processed.

6.2.3.  Paced Course Start Dates

Paced courses are generally offered at selected sites and times for groups of students. Year-round registration is not offered in all paced delivered courses because of scheduling restrictions. Information about these exceptions may be found in the detailed course outline or by contacting a learning centre or the Information Centre.

Students in a paced course normally have thirteen weeks to complete a 3-credit course and 26 weeks to complete a 6-credit course. The official start date and end dates match these time frames as closely as possible. Students in paced courses are not eligible for course extensions.

6.2.4.  Paced Course Registration Methods

Students, both new and continuing, are often required to register in person where the course is offered. In some cases, however, registrations may be submitted by fax, mail, or other means. Course materials are distributed to the student at the first group session.

For additional information about site-based paced courses, contact one of Athabasca University learning centres (see pages viii to x) or the Athabasca University Web site: l_centre.htm. You may also contact the Information Centre or Learning Services Outreach (see Services in Calendar preface) for paced course schedules and deadlines.

6.2.5.  Fee Submission

Regardless of the method of registration, students must submit complete payment of fees at the time of registering for any course. Registration will be postponed until all fees are received. For further information about fees see 8.2 Method of Payment and 8.3 Fee Summary.

6.3.  Challenge for Credit Process

Athabasca University does not grant transfer credit for field placements, professional seminars, work experience, or elementary skills. The University does, however, recognize that learning is not restricted to traditionally accredited universities. To accommodate this, the University offers a challenge for credit process.

The challenge for credit process allows you to demonstrate you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, including intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

6.3.1.  Courses Available for Challenge for Credit

Students may employ the challenge for credit option only for existing Athabasca University course offerings.

All undergraduate University courses at the 200 level and above can be challenged for credit except:
a) reading courses; b) project-based courses; c) some courses with a practicum or laboratory component; and d) courses designated as non-challengeable. A list of these courses is available from the Office of the Registrar. Only those courses listed and/or recently approved for the list through the office of the Vice-President Academic, are non-challengeable.

All nursing courses except NURS 490 Health Promotion can be challenged for credit by students enrolled in Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Nursing program.

6.3.2.  Challenge for Credit Regulations/Process

Except as in the following outline, active Athabasca University students are entitled to initiate a challenge for credit regardless of their program of study and regardless of whether or not the course being challenged is applicable to their program of study.

The maximum number of credits that can be challenged is calculated from the total number of credits required for the program minus the number of credits required for residency. However, any course that is successfully completed through the challenge for credit process may count towards the Athabasca University residency requirements.

You may not challenge any Athabasca University course: a) for which you have received transfer credit; b) for which you have received a ‘‘precluded’’ designation; c) for which you have received an exemption; or d) that is described above as unavailable or in a category that is unavailable for challenge for credit.

Faculty members, lab instructors, seminar leaders, and other instructional staff are not permitted to challenge courses that they have taught or tutored, or are presently teaching or tutoring.

Prerequisites must be satisfied as listed in the detailed course outline unless the prerequisite has been waived by the course professor. After successfully completing a course, students may not challenge a prerequisite to that course.

Should you fail the challenge for credit process you are not allowed to challenge the same material a second time or to write a supplemental examination for that course.

In each Athabasca University course, the professor is responsible for developing a clear statement of the knowledge and skills expected of students who successfully complete the course.

The professor responsible for the Athabasca University course being challenged determines the appropriate method of evaluation. You will be judged against the explicit subject matter, knowledge, and/or other skills that have been established as course objectives.

Your knowledge and skills may be evaluated on the basis of: a) completed assignments, reports, etc.; and/or b) completion of assignments, projects, etc.; and/or c) an oral, written or practical examination; and/or d) any other means considered appropriate by the course professor and approved by the chair of the appropriate academic centre.

Where the challenge for credit process involves an invigilated examination or examinations, the examinations shall be written at a post-secondary institution. Where the challenge for credit process involves a laboratory component, you must be prepared to travel to a designated laboratory.

Challenge for credit processes are graded on a percentage or pass/fail basis as determined by the course professor. Where a percentage grade is assigned in a challenge for credit process, the minimum passing grade is 50 per cent unless, in the detailed course outline, it is required to be greater. In the latter case, the minimum passing grade will be equal to that required in the detailed course outline.

The grade obtained in a challenge for credit process is viewed by the University as a course composite grade. Such grades are included in your average for the purposes of satisfying continuation or graduation requirements, scholarships and awards, except where evaluations are limited to pass/fail designations.

All challenges for credit will be recorded in your academic record and will appear on your official transcript as the specific Athabasca University course. A comment will identify that the credit was awarded through a challenge for credit process.

6.3.3.  Process for Challenging

Before submitting a challenge for credit request the student normally contacts the appropriate course professor to discuss the knowledge and skills that are required in the Athabasca University course. The course professor will advise the student of the evaluation method. In discussions with the course professor and in applying for a challenge for credit, you must indicate how and/or where you have learned the material you wish to challenge.

If you register in a course before you determine your familiarity with the work, you may withdraw and have your competency demonstrated in a challenge for credit in the course. You must, however, withdraw from the course before you request a challenge for credit. The regular challenge for credit fees are required in addition to the course registration fees you already paid for the course. If you withdraw within the allowable time frame (see 8.5 Refunds) you may be entitled to a refund, however, if you are outside that time frame, a withdrawal fee will be requested.

All challenge for credit applications are submitted to Examination Services in the Office of the Registrar along with the appropriate non-refundable fees. When submitting a challenge for credit application, you should expect to write the examination or start the assessment process at least one month to six weeks from the date the application is acknowledged by the Office of the Registrar. This time may be required to develop the evaluation method and materials. In some cases the time required to develop these materials may be longer than one month.

Students may request the course package when they register for the challenge examination, and pay the registration fee for the challenge examination plus the fee for a course package.

6.3.4.  Grade Appeals

All challenge for credit grades are subject to the appeals process.

6.4.  Course Prerequisites

Senior courses generally require knowledge of material covered in junior or other senior courses and prerequisites, indicated in the course outline, are required.

Prerequisites ensure you have the required background to successfully complete your course. Historically, students who attempted to complete courses without prerequisites encountered difficulties. Therefore, students are required to have the prerequisite before registering. Occasionally students wish to waive a prerequisite for non-academic reasons such as work experience. Contact the course professor who has the authority to waive the prerequisite.

Students registered in a course that is the prerequisite to a second course, may preregister in the second course while the first one is in progress. You must contact the course professor before registering in courses designated as reading courses (see Section 18 - Glossary).

Some courses require course professor approval as well as other course-related prerequisites. Students must contact the course professor to obtain approval to register in the course before using the touchtone registration system or submitting their request in writing. Failure to obtain approval before requesting registration will result in the registration being refused or delayed.

A Prerequisite Waiver Declaration Form is on the back of the Course Registration Form.

6.5.  Course Preregistration

You may preregister for a home-study course up to six months in advance of the start date. Preregistration guarantees you that tutorial support will be available for the specific start date. Course materials will be sent to you as soon as the preregistration request is processed.

Full fees are required to preregister. Preregistered students are charged the processing fee if they decide to alter their preregistration.

Note: Tutorial support is not available until the official start date. Do not contact your tutor before the start date.

6.6.  Change in Delivery Mode

Applications for delivery mode transfers must be made in writing to the Office of the Registrar before the mid-point of the course contract period and before the mid-term examination (if any), has been written.

6.7.  Course Extensions

The contract (active registration time) for home-study courses can be extended twice for a period of two months for either a 3-credit or a 6-credit course (see 8.3 Fee Summary). Students in home-study courses may apply to extend their course contract by submitting the required fee and application form.

Requests to extend the contract must be postmarked no later than the original contract date, or in the case of the second extension request, no later than the first extension contract date. The extension starts on the first day of the month following the original contract date.

Note: If you do not apply for an extension by the contract date, it will result in a failure in the course. You will have to re-register and pay the appropriate fees if you wish to obtain credit for it. Extensions are not available in paced courses. You must complete telephone quizzes during the original course contract period or during the extended course contract period when you have tutor support. To obtain an extension, complete an Extension Request Form, enclose the required fee (see 8.3 Fee Summary), and submit it to a learning centre or to the Office of the Registrar (see 8.7.2 Full-time Status for Financial Assistance).

6.8.  Course Withdrawals
(see also 8.5 Refunds)

You may withdraw from a course at any time up until three months after the course start date (90 days after the start date) without academic penalty, providing you meet the following criteria. All withdrawal requests, other than the Automated Touchtone, must be made in writing and bear the student’s signature.

To formally withdraw from a course you may also use the Automated Touchtone Registration and Withdrawal System (refer to telephone numbers in 6.2.2). You must formally request to withdraw from a course; simply not completing the course requirements or not attending the class does not constitute withdrawal.

Students formally withdraw from a course by supplying written notification to the Office of the Registrar or the learning centres (withdrawal request forms are in the forms package issued with the course materials package or are available on the Web site). Such notification may also be submitted by fax to the Office of the Registrar. E-mail is not acceptable.

If you withdraw within one month of the start date, the record of registration will be deleted from your official record. When you withdraw after one month and within three months after the course start date, the official record shows you withdrew without credit and without prejudice.

If you withdraw more than three months after the course start date, and before the contract date, your official records will be recorded as “WF” (Withdrawal/Failure), without academic penalty.

Students failing to formally withdraw will automatically be assigned a system failure, and will be recorded as “OF” (Failure), with academic penalty.

The University reserves the right to withdraw a student for non-payment or incomplete payment of fees or for misconduct (8.4.2 Miscellaneous, d. Delinquent Accounts).

Money paid by a student or sponsor cannot be held indefinitely by Athabasca University. Credit balances on a student’s account, except for students who receive financial assistance from the Alberta Student Finance Board (or other provincial program), will be refunded to the student or credited to the sponsor.

6.9.  Applicable Regulations

Regulations that govern the process for registering, obtaining additional time to complete a course, withdrawal, examinations, and supplemental examinations are based on delivery mode.

Regulations governing courses offered by home study may, in some instances, differ from those governing paced courses.

Students are cautioned to ensure they follow the regulations appropriate to their mode of study. If you need help in determining which regulations apply to your courses, please contact the Office of the Registrar or one of the learning centres.

6.9.1.  Summary of Regulations by Registration Mode

See attached table

6.10.  Course Re-registration

You are permitted one registration and one re-registration in each course. Subsequent registrations in the course require the course professor’s written approval. In making the decision to grant approval the course professor may, to the extent necessary and feasible, consult with the tutor, learning centre personnel, or other staff members. The course professor may also recommend that you seek advice, counselling, or study-skills assistance.

To re-register, use the touchtone registration system (see Section 6.2.2 for telephone numbers) or submit a new course registration form and submit the appropriate fee. If new course materials are required, the full course fee applies. If new course materials are not required, the materials and handling fee is deducted from the full course fee. Course Materials can replace individual items that have been lost or damaged, and you will be charged the replacement cost on an item-by-item basis.

You have a maximum of one year from the end of the contract date to re-register if you wish to carry your standing/results for work completed in the previous registration to the re-registration.

To carry credit to the re-registration it is your responsibility to obtain permission from the appropriate course professor prior to re-registration. After the one-year duration, you are required to complete all assignments, examinations, tests, etc. in the re-registration in order to obtain credit for the course. Both the original registration and the re-registration are recorded on your transcripts.

6.11.  Audit Student Status/Changes

Students taking credit courses who do not wish to receive credit are called audit students. You must indicate your intention to audit a course when you register. Audit students have access to all materials and support services provided to credit-seeking students and pay the same fees. They are, however, excluded from writing examinations. No final grade is provided.

Changes in Credit or Audit Status

Students taking courses for credit who have not written any examinations may change from credit to audit status by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing before the mid-point of the contract period. Students who are auditing may change to credit status by applying in writing to the Office of the Registrar before the mid-point of the contract period.

6.12.  Students with Disabilities

If you feel you have a physical, medical, learning or mental disability, or limitations that may affect your academic progress, please indicate this in the appropriate area of the General Application Form at the time of admission or when requesting examinations.

An affirmative response on the form will result in the mailing of a brochure and letter for people with a disability. Please return the Verification of Limitation Form, verified by a medical professional, to be eligible for the special services or privileges the University provides. An affirmative response also authorizes the University to communicate your special status to appropriate staff such as tutors and examination invigilators.

If a physical, medical, learning, or mental disability or limitation impedes your study progress after your admission to the University, please inform the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible.

For further information about services and resources available to students with disabilities, e-mail Coordinator, Access for Students with Disabilities at or phone Brenda Moore at (780) 497-3424.

6.13.  Geographic Restrictions

Students living outside Canada and the United States are restricted to registering in home-study or ViTAL courses. Although these students receive tutorial and marking services, contact with the tutor must be initiated and paid for by the student.

6.14.  Student ID Cards

Students registering in a course are entitled to receive an Athabasca University Student Identification Card. The card indicates your name, identification number, and the current academic year. You are issued one card per year (regardless of the number of courses you register in). Replacement cards may be obtained from Athabasca University Students Association (see 10.11 Athabasca University Students Association).

6.15.  Student Directory Information

You may wish to communicate with other Athabasca University students in similar courses, programs or geographical locations. Athabasca University Students Association (AUSA) will assist you in this process by providing student directory information. For more information contact AUSA or review 7.6 Protection of Privacy.

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.

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