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Athabasca University

Frequently Asked Questions

How does distance education work?

Athabasca University is committed to meeting your needs through flexibility in the design and delivery of its courses and programs. You can choose from two basic study modes—individualized study or grouped study. Each delivery mode allows for a number of different learning methods including, individualized study, e-Class (virtual classroom), seminars, classroom instruction, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, telecourses, Internet, and computer-mediated-courses What are the main benefits of distance education?

If you are like most people, you lead a very busy life. Distance education offers a practical answer to the time squeeze because it is a convenient, flexible way to learn productively and efficiently. Consider these benefits:

  • Schedule your study times when and where you want
  • Set your own pace
  • Stay at home or in your community
  • No pressure or cramming
  • Personalized one-to-one tutoring
  • Telephone and email access to tutors, course materials, and AU Library
  • No large classes
  • Continuous enrollment
  • Learn while you earn
  • High quality, easy to follow course materials

How do I know I’m ready for distance education?

Studying with a distance education university nurtures independent learning. It also requires motivation, commitment, and perseverance. The flexibility to study at your own pace and set your own time schedule is a definite benefit, but it also means you must be dedicated, organized, and focussed. Athabasca University has developed an excellent self-quiz called “Am I ready?” that you can use as a diagnostic tool to determine your suitability to distance education. To take the quiz, please contact a Learning Centre or go to the Services for Students section on our web page.

You can study full-time or part-time. Our professors, tutors, and student advisors work with you to help you achieve your educational, career, and personal goals.

What is “Individualized Study?”

Individualized study (formerly “home-study”) provides the greatest flexibility to set your own study schedule within a six-month timeframe. Your classroom is wherever you want it to be—at home, at work, while traveling. You have up to six months to complete a 3-credit course. Within this time, you are free to set your own study schedule. Extensions are available upon payment of an Extension Fee.

When you register for a individualized study course, you will receive a complete learning package developed by course production teams that include subject experts, editors, and graphic designers. Each package is a complete user-friendly learning system that includes a textbook and a study guide, and all other materials required for the course. Some courses may also have a computer or Internet component.

You receive support in completing your studies. You are assigned a telephone tutor you can contact anytime by email or call toll-free from anywhere in Canada and the US. This instructor is qualified to assist you with all aspects of the course. Athabasca University publishes service standards that ensure a quick response to your request.

Can I complete an Education Degree through Athabasca University?

Unfortunately, not at this time. Although we offer a growing number of education courses, most programs require a practicum component which Athabasca University, at present, does not offer.

Are Athabasca’s Educational Studies courses compatible with those offered at other institutions?

We work closely with other institutions and our courses are transferable to most major universities and colleges.

Who might find our Education courses useful?

Many students find our courses a useful alternative to those offered by traditional institutions. Examples have been: teachers or teacher’s assistants wishing to upgrade credentials or complete degrees during the summer months; students working abroad or in isolated communities

Updated September 16 2014 by Students & Academic Services

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