One of the many attractive features of Athabasca University is the opportunity that is provided for students to self-determine the pace of their courses and program. Thus, students can choose flexible course contract times and enrol in courses any month of the year. This embedded service offering enables ASD to provide students with disabilities, who may require additional time to complete course work, with much greater flexibility.
AU acknowledges the potential need for extended time by many students with disabilities. Hence, when the need for extended time is related to accommodation requirements, the fees for the first two extensions will be waived.
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.
ASD will consider all of the above stated factors in consideration of all requests for additional time. Upon assessing the need, ASD will provide students with information on any potential negative outcomes that may arise if extended time is approved and discuss alternative courses of action.
ASD may require students to submit documents (i.e. a doctor's note) to verify the need.
Caution: Students 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 very strict guidelines and extending courses may seriously affect ongoing eligibility for funding. Having knowledge of this before starting courses will be helpful in planning for course selection and course load.
Caution: 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 terms of courses at the same time. This type of work load can be overwhelming and have a negative impact on academic progress. ASD would encourage students who find they are having difficulty keeping up or progressing with their course work to contact the office immediately for assistance.
Types of Extensions
The type of extension a student requests will differ based on whether they are enrolled in an individual study course or a grouped study course. For explanations of the terms see the Learning Services, Collaborations website.
- Graduate students are often registered in grouped-study courses.
- Undergraduate courses may be offered in either individualized or grouped-study mode. (Please note: e-classes are grouped study courses.)
ASD encourages undergraduate students to ensure that they are registering in courses offered in the delivery format that will provide the greatest flexibility to meet their individual accommodation requirements. The need for extended time is discussed in the initial ASD assessment and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Course Contract Periods
The course contract period for individualized-study undergraduate courses (time to complete an course from start date to end date) is four months for funded students and six months for non-SFA students. The contract period is usually four months for all undergraduate and graduate grouped-study courses.
ASD refers to 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 Extended Time for Assignments.