One of the many attractive features of Athabasca University is the opportunity for students to self-determine the pace of their courses and program. Students can choose flexible course contract times and enroll in courses during any month of the year.
AU acknowledges the potential need for extended course time and any student can purchase up to 3, 2-month extensions as outlined in the Athabasca University course extension policy.
The accommodation of an extension with a waived fee is intended for students to finalize any remaining course work The accommodation cannot be applied retroactively beyond the end date of a course contract. The accommodation must be assessed as potentially being needed due to the impact of a disability as part of the Accommodation plan. Before approving the requested accommodation Accessibility Services reserves the right to request:
- medical documentation to support the course extension
- and a demonstration of course progress (e.g., assignment submissions, contact between student and course tutor, quizzes, and/or midterm completion)
Accessibility Services is unable to provide refunds for extensions received before the received accommodation.
Factors that Influence Course Completion Time
There are a number of factors that impact on the amount of time a student has to complete individual courses, including:
- whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student
- whether you are enrolled in an individual study or grouped study course
- the guidelines and requirements for course-load and academic progress by your student funding sponsor
- the length of time you have been enrolled in a course
- whether the course has been revised since you enrolled
- the financial resources you have
- the progress you have made in the course
- the circumstances necessitating your request for extended time.
Accessibility Services will consider all the above stated factors in consideration of all requests for extended time. Upon assessing the need, Accessibility Services will provide students with information on any potential negative outcomes that may arise if extended time is approved and discuss alternative courses of action. Accessibility Services does not provide the above information or advice for Student Aid funded students, who need to contact their Athabasca University SFA.
Accessibility Services may require students to submit documents (i.e. a doctor's note) to verify the need. Please see Summary of Disability Documentation Required for more information on acceptable medical documentation.
Approval of extended time in one term of courses will not defer the start date for a later term of courses. Hence a student can end up being registered in two semesters of courses at the same time. This type of workload can be overwhelming and harm academic progress. Accessibility Services would encourage students who find they are having difficulty keeping up or progressing with their course work to contact the department immediately for assistance.
Students receiving funding are strongly advised to investigate what options are available through their funding sponsors if they should require extended time to complete courses. Many sponsors have stringent guidelines, and extending courses may seriously affect ongoing eligibility for funding. Knowing this before starting courses will help plan for course selection and course load.
Types of Extensions
The type of extension a student requests will differ based on whether they are an undergraduate or graduate student and whether they are enrolled in an individual study course or grouped study course. For explanations of the terms see the Learning Services, Collaborations website.
- Graduate students are often registered in grouped-study courses. Extensions must be requested from their faculty not Accessibility Services
- Undergraduate courses may be offered in either individualized or grouped-study mode. Accessibility Service processes these course extensions for non-funded students.
Accessibility Services encourages undergraduate students to ensure they register in courses offered in the format that best suits their individual needs and accommodations.
The eligibility for the extended time accommodation is determined in the Accessibility Services Needs Assessment & Accommodation Plan process.
Course Contract Periods
The course contract period for individualized-study undergraduate courses is four months for funded students and six months for non-funded students. The contract period is usually four months for all undergraduate and graduate grouped-study courses.
Accessibility Services accommodates the need for additional time to complete course work in the following ways: course extensions and extended time for Assignments. For further information, see Extended Time for Courses and facilitating collaborations with faculty to Extend Time for Assignments.