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Undergraduate Calendar 2012|13

Individualized Study/Online Courses


5.2.1 Individualized Study/Online Courses

Individualized study is the most common method of teaching and learning at Athabasca University. Each course is developed by a team that includes a subject matter expert, editor, visual designer, copyright officer, and a digital media technologist and each is unique in its high quality and methods of delivery.

At Athabasca University, courses begin the first day of each month provided you register by the 10th day of the previous month. You will have six months to complete zero-, one-, three-, or four-credit courses and 12 months to complete six-credit courses.

Your course package will include various learning resources that are identified in the online course syllabus. In some courses, the learning resources are available entirely online. In others, the resources may be a combination of offline materials such as a textbook(s), CDs, and/or DVDs, and the balance of course materials is accessed online. And in others, the entire learning resources package is print-based and is mailed or couriered.

Your course materials will arrive before your official start date. If for some reason the materials don’t arrive on time, contact Materials Management at AU as soon as possible (1.780.675.6366).

In the traditional print-based individualized study courses, you can begin reading and working on assignments once you receive your learning resources; however, tutor support, submission of course work, and requesting and writing examinations cannot occur until your official course contract start date.

Many of our online courses permit access to learning resources before the official course start date. Access to some online courses (Health Studies and Nursing), however, will not begin until the official course contract start date.

Course syllabi

You may be required to purchase additional items to complement your course such as stationery, binders, calculators, etc. Most courses have required computer components.

Online Courses Maximum Course Load

Full-time students may be actively registered in one to six courses at a time. To ensure that you do not overburden yourself, Athabasca University limits your course load to a maximum of six active registrations. If you have a full-time job or are new to distance learning, we suggest you start with one course. Registration Process – Individualized Study

Once you are admitted to AU and you have received your student ID number, you may register in courses. When you have selected a course, ensure that it is available by viewing the online course syllabus and the Course Availability List. Also ensure that you have the required prerequisites.

Log in to myAU to complete and submit the Undergraduate Course Registration Form along with the appropriate payment. If you are an inactive student, you will still have access to myAU. Follow the instructions to reactive your status. Confirmation of course registration will be sent to students by e-Letter, within 48 hours of the course registration.

The request for a learning resources package will be sent as soon as your course registration is processed. A tutor will also be assigned after you register in a course; however, the tutor’s support will not be in effect until the course contract start date. Registration Deadlines

Athabasca University’s individualized study courses begin the first day of the month, and are offered year-round. You must register before the tenth day of the month in order before your requested course contract start date. For example, if you wish to start your course on November 1, you must register in the course no later than October 10.

For students without access to the online registration system, the Office of the Registrar will process paper course registration requests that are received by 4:30 p.m. MT on the tenth day of the month before your requested start date.

Remember to consider postal, courier, and processing times when a particular start date is desired. Students living overseas are generally assigned course start dates one month later than students living in North America. Course Contract Period/Dates

Each individualized study course has a specific course contract start date and end date. From your course contract start date, you will have six months to complete a zero-, one-, three-, or four-credit course, and 12 months to complete a six-credit course. Your course contract end date is the last day of your individualized study course. Course contract end dates fall on the last day of a month.

If circumstances prevent you from completing your course within these timelines, you may request up to three 2-month extensions. Students completing courses using provincial and federal student financial assistance must adhere to different timelines.

You are considered actively registered in your course until you have completed the course, the course contract date expires, or you withdraw. Your learning resources package will be sent as soon as your registration or pre-registration request is processed, however, tutor support, submission of coursework and the writing of examinations cannot begin until the official course contract start date. Learning Resources

The payment of course registration fees entitles you to receive most of your individualized study course learning resources. Learning resources include, but are not limited to, textbooks, student manuals, study guides, tutorial assistance where provided, and other instructional materials required to complete the course for the period of active registration. Additional lab fees may be required for some Faculty of Science courses. You may be required to pay for additional small items such as binders, calculators, home lab materials, and so on.

Some Athabasca University courses introduce students to a more specialized course in the same field. These courses often reference the same textbook. Please retain the textbook from the previous course as a duplicate textbook will not be shipped. Your Tutor

Your tutor will assist you throughout your course either by phone or email. Tutors offer subject-matter assistance, engage in scholarly discussion, mark assignments, provide feedback, and help prepare you for your examinations. Never feel reluctant to contact your tutor. He or she is your main link with Athabasca University.

You may contact your tutor on the course start date, but not before. You may phone your tutor toll-free from anywhere in Canada or the US during established tutor hours, or you can leave a voicemail or email message at any time.

After you register in an individualized study course, an e-Letter containing your tutor’s name, address, email address, phone number, and tutor hours will be posted in your student myAU portal approximately ten days before your course contract start date. The default method of student information delivery is e-Letter. (Print letters are still available by filling out the Print Letter Request form and paying the associated fee.) If you have not received your tutor letter one week before your course start date, or if you have misplaced your letter, contact Learning Services Tutorial as soon as possible.

Most Athabasca University Faculty of Business courses provide access to the Student Support Centre and academic experts. Before your course starts, you will receive a letter with the Student Support Centre’s toll-free telephone number.

Because of vacation time, normally during the summer months, your tutor may not be available for up to ten business days. In case of absences of longer than 10 business days, other arrangements will be made for you.

Learning Services Tutorial Shipping/Receiving Your Print Learning Resources

In many courses, the learning resources are available either online or in print, or a combination of both formats. If a course has print learning resources, they will be sent shortly after your course registration has been processed.

Shipping Within North America

Students living in Canada will receive their print learning resources through Canada Post. Students who live in the U.S. or Mexico will receive their print learning resources by airmail. Please allow two weeks or longer to receive the material. You may choose another shipping option (see below).

Shipping Overseas

Various methods are used to ship print course materials overseas. Athabasca University’s Materials Management department determines the most efficient and appropriate method. If you live overseas, please allow up to one month to receive your course materials. You may choose another shipping option (see below).

Shipping Options

If you wish to receive your course materials earlier, you may prepay for courier services using your credit card. After you have registered in your course, contact Materials Management at 1.800.788.9041 ext. 6366 or email to arrange faster delivery. You must provide a street address (not a Post Office box address) and telephone number.

Prepaid courier costs entitle you to receive the University’s special courier rates.  These special rates do not apply to collect (C.O.D.) deliveries.


Information effective Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012.

Updated September 05, 2012