2. Athabasca University: An Overview
Mission, History, and Governance | Contents Confirmation
2. Information Centre
Athabasca University's Information Centre provides students with the information they need right away. By providing one point of contact for all enquiries, the Information Centre provides fast, efficient, front-line service to students and prospective students. If the Information Centre attendant can't answer a question, he or she will forward your call to the appropriate person. You can contact the Information Centre toll-free from anywhere in Canada or the US by phoning 800.788.9041.
Information Centre attendants will answer enquiries about: admissions and registration; course and program offerings; delivery methods; fees, general financial, scholarship, and awards; exam procedures and locations; course extensions, course materials, unofficial grades, status of refunds, transcripts, and tutor information; and convocation. Information Centre attendants cannot answer specific questions about course content or academic concerns: these questions are referred to the appropriate Academic Centres.
Quick Online Feature
Athabasca University also has an online IntelliResponse system that is accessed from the AU home page ("ask AU") or www.Askau.ca. This system is designed to give you an instant answer to most general questions about Athabasca University. If your question isn't found, a prompt will forward your query to the appropriate department.
Information Centre attendants also provide students with resources such as a self-diagnostic test called "Am I Ready for Athabasca University?" that will assess an individual's readiness for Athabasca University courses and programs. Phone toll-free 800.788.9041, from anywhere in Canada and the US, or use the new IntelliResponse system at www.Askau.ca.
Keep Names of
If an issue is discussed with a staff member, it helps considerably in follow-up discussions, if a note of the staff member's name is kept.
Undergraduate - General
Athabasca University is an "open university"; anyone 18 years of age or older can apply, regardless of their previous academic achievement. Students are not required to have a high-school diploma. Enrolment in some programs of study or registration in some courses, however, may require students to have specific levels of prior academic achievement. Take the self-assessment questionnaire "Am I Ready for Athabasca University?" available on the Services for Students site.
Athabasca University's year-round entrance policy and registration in individualized-study courses, prior learning experience portfolio advantages, challenge for credit opportunities, and an extensive student services network, help students achieve their goals.
International students follow the same general admission requirements in registering in Athabasca University courses, however, there are some program-specific requirements described in detail at International Students.
Graduate Admission Requirements
Athabasca University's graduate degrees have specific requirements outlined in the admissions section of each program described in Section 9 Graduate Programs.
2.2. Course Delivery
Athabasca University offers more than 480 courses using a spectrum of teaching and learning methods. All Athabasca University courses accommodate e-mail communication with the tutor or facilitator. Occasionally a course is unavailable because of a temporary shortage of material or the course has reached its registration capacity. Each course in the course description section is linked to its online syllabus. To confirm an individualized-study course is available, phone the Information Centre at 800.788.9041 or refer to the online syllabus for details.
2.3. Course Delivery
e-Class® courses are offered by Athabasca University's School of Business and are taken for credit towards a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Administration, and other programs at Athabasca University. The innovative, grouped-study electronic delivery environment uses print material, including textbooks and study guides, which are augmented by online group discussions and asynchronous and synchronous (refer to Section 17 Glossary, Communication) learning activities. Most e-Class® semesters run for 15 weeks. Course availability is subject to a minimum number of registrations by the specific date advertised on the Web syllabus, usually December 11 for a January start date and August 11 for a September start date.
Courses offered by e-Class® have the method of delivery noted on individual course descriptions, for example, Accounting 351.
Grouped-study (seminar) courses follow a set study schedule and the timelines associated with a traditional university semester; for example, students who begin their course in September will finish it in December. Grouped-study courses generally last 13 weeks (three-credit courses) or 26 weeks (six-credit courses) and are delivered in classroom situations by video and/or audio conference or by e-Class® (see above).
Delivery of each grouped-study course is dependent on a minimum number of registrations. Refer to the following Web sites for details.
In an individualized-study course students receive a course package that may include, but is not limited to, a student manual, a study guide (required reading, if included), textbook(s), CD-ROM, audiocassettes and/or videotapes, and home-lab kits. Students are assigned a tutor and are given a recommended study schedule within the time limits allowed for the course. Students determine the actual timing of assignments and exams within the course contract period.
Individualized-study online describes a course delivered by the Internet. Students registering in online courses require access to computers and the student's own Internet Service Provider connection. Students should refer to the suggested minimum computer requirements online.
Individualized-study and online-enhanced (optional) describe courses that use online components as an optional resource to enhance printed material.
An audio/video component is used to supplement print material. Cassettes or tapes are included in the course materials package or may be borrowed from Athabasca University Library.
Some Athabasca University courses include videotapes that are required viewing to complete the course. Other courses use videotapes to enrich the course content.
Some courses have required viewing that is broadcast throughout Alberta on ACCESS, The Education Station. Please review the schedule. Students who are unable to view the television broadcasts in their area may borrow videotapes from
Athabasca University Library.
"Expect the BestService Standards" provides information regarding the level of service that you may expect as an AU student. International students should refer to "Expect the BestService Standards for International Students." Overseas students should contact Athabasca University Library before registering in a course that has an audio/visual component.
For a computer-required designation, students should refer to the suggested minimum computer requirements online.
A reading course is offered at the senior (usually 400) level and involves a specialized field of study that requires the direct supervision of a professor.
Télé-université du Québec (Téluq Equivalency) offers students AU equivalent courses in French. The Athabasca University Web site has a list of equivalent courses. For more information about the equivalency courses contact Athabasca University, 800.788.9041 (ext. 6375). The course descriptions in Section 3.5 Course Overviews also indicate French equivalency availability.
Videoconference courses are usually offered at Edmonton and Calgary Learning Centres. Videoconferencing allows students in one community to interact with instructors and groups in other communities.
Compulsory labs, where required, must be taken in order to obtain credit for your course.
Grouped labs have a supervised laboratory component that contains a substantial amount of work and are usually held at specific sites and times. Grouped lab availability depends on a minimum number of registrations.
Home labs can be completed at home. Most required lab materials are included in course packages.
Lab-component only courses. Students may take the laboratory component of certain science courses without taking the remaining instructional component. There are, however, strict prerequisite requirements and professor approval is required before registration can occur. Each lab-component-only course is worth one credit. Refer to the lab Web site for details.
Laboratory enquiries may be directed to the Centre for Science at 800.788.9041 (ext. 6380) or 780.675.6380. The following sites display lab schedules.
Tutors and Learning Facilitators
Athabasca University tutors are committed to helping students learn at a distance. After students register in a course, and approximately one week before the course start date, a letter containing their tutor's name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and tutoring hours is sent. Students who haven't received their tutor letter one week before their course start date, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Tutor help is available when the course begins (the scheduled start date) and not before.
Tutors assist students in understanding the course content and they are the students' main link with Athabasca University. Students living in Canada or the US use a toll-free telephone service to contact their tutor. Students living outside these areas are responsible for their own telephone long-distance charges.
There are times when tutors are unavailable to students, due to illness, vacation, statutory holidays, or other leaves. Athabasca University endeavours to inform students in advance of their tutors' planned absences.
2.4. Transfer Credit
Athabasca University grants transfer credit for approved courses completed at
other recognized post-secondary institutions. Its credits, in return, may be
eligible for transfer to programs at other universities across Canada, the
United States, and worldwide. See Section 5 Undergraduate Admission, Transfer Credit, and Assessments for more information.
2.5. Learning Accreditation
Athabasca University established a Centre
for Learning Accreditation in 1996. It provides opportunities for
students to gain credit for non-formal learning and workplace and labour
training programs. Several methods from many areas of learning are being
developed to provide students with a variety of routes for credit assessment.
2.6. Advising and
Athabasca University provides advising and counselling assistance to students. We recognize adult students' broad range of concerns from determining a career direction and selecting a program of study to developing and applying effective study skills.
Advising Services helps new students enrol in a program of study or assists those currently in a program. Advisors can also help you select appropriate courses; deliver information about the University's requirements and procedures; help with your application for financial assistance; and refer you to other resources either within or outside the University.
Counselling Services helps you define your educational and career goals, and overcome any learning barriers by helping you select a program of study and by providing individual counselling sessions either in person, over the phone, or by e-mail.
Athabasca University students are encouraged to use these services. Refer to Services for telephone numbers.
Athabasca University's Access to Students with Disabilities department aims to provide students with physical, sensory, learning, emotional and other disabilities with an equal opportunity to access and succeed in our courses and programs. Services are being developed to respond to a wide variety of our students' needs. Presently, students receive information, assessments for assistive technology, assistance or referral for funding and services, help with study skill and organizational strategies, and a variety of other services.
2.7. Important Dates
See linked Table.
** This page is an official publication of Athabasca