Review Averages: 6.0 out of 10
Accreditation: Province of Alberta
Athabasca University Reviews:
MBA - December 29, 2015
After reading some of the negative reviews here I felt compelled to respond with my personal experience regarding Athabasca University. Usually with most things in life, you only get out what you put in, and distance learning requires you to exhibit dedication, perseverance and commitment to the task at hand. I was in the cohort of 1998 for the MBA and found that the courses, instructors and administrators were top notch, equal to the “bricks and mortar” of my previous experience. Textbooks and software for each course module were sent via post ahead of the course start date including a list of required reading, and I personally never had an assignment/exam lost, misplaced, or ungraded. Each course/module had as I recall no more than ten people per group, and they could be anywhere in the world. We used Lotus Notes to communicate with others in our group and to submit assignments/exams, which were prepared using MS Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Since you were required to participate/interact with members of your small group, the start and stop dates of each module were fixed, so meeting those deadlines was very important. We also had to participate in a certain number (required) of weekend/week long schools to qualify for the residential component of the degree granting process, and I recall Ottawa (ON), Vancouver (BC) and Guadalajara (Jalisco) as some of mine. My fellow students were from extremely diverse backgrounds (breweries, banks, telecoms, physicians, farms and on…) all contributing their own experiences and personalities to the learning process and of course to our group assignments (one per module). Due to a family tragedy I was unable to attend convocation until June of 2002 so unfortunately didn’t get to meet some of my group members in person. That is my only disappointment with this programme (not AU’s fault), the study workload in my case involved about forty five hours per week, a tad more than the twenty to thirty suggested in the AU information materials. All in all, a very rewarding experience for me, but you sure have to have a study plan and follow it religiously, the work load is pretty intense.
Hit and Miss
Computing and Info Systems - December 28, 2015
AU's C++ (that's a computer programming language) is incredibly awful, it's painfully obvious that the guy who wrote it did no more than copy a few references from the text into their course delivery system. And I was really, really floored when the bulk of the exam was LITERALLY an exact copy of one of the homework projects (surely this is not normal. I have never seen it before). When I complained about this, it was clear that AU Admin could not care less. This bothered me more than the poor course itself. So, I am more-or-less set against AU, from this experience. To be fair, I took two other courses from them also, and they were ... OK. I would say, I learned quite a bit and the delivery was OK. I really like the way their web site and system is setup and administratively, everything was good. The cost seems crazily high, but it's comparable to TRU and other unis, and much less than some American unis. However, I was so turned off by C++ that I'm kind of scared to try another one. Also: I find it kind of amazing that AU (and most likely other unis) are SO FAR BEHIND places like Coursera and Udacity in terms of providing videos and proper course notes (though this varies). Really, the ONLY reason I'd use AU, etc. over the MOOC's is the piece of paper. And that's pretty sad, that (in many cases) the unis aren't even trying to update themselves. I can't wait for the day Coursera/Udacity are as recognized as the unis are.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Little human interaction
Undeclared - November 3, 2015
A disappointment. So far I've taken two courses and in both cases I was left with the feeling that I was in it completely alone. COMP200 Introduction to Computing and Information Systems (revision 6) used a mediocre textbook and a handful of make-work projects. The design of the course encouraged minimal interaction with other students (but that's more than its follow-up course). The overall difficulty of the course was probably on the easier side for a first year, introductory course. What was disappointing is that so little thought has gone into encouraging students to engage with each other (other than through trivial, post your thoughts on x, y or z posts). And, there was hardly any tutor/instructor presence. They're now onto revision 7 which includes a much better textbook. If you're in need of an intro to computer studies (not programming!) this is an adequate course. People complaining this is a hard course or the tutors are hard markers probably submitted mediocre work. It was surprising to me to see the crap that people were prepared to post in the forums for their mandatory 'participation' assignments. I'd be plain and simple embarrassed. If the quality of their work was anything to go by, I wouldn't be surprised if they submitted really poor quality assignments too and didn't bother studying. COMP268 Introduction to Computer Programming (Java) (revision 11). All this course was was read the first half of the textbook. There's NO interaction with other students. There's hardly any interaction with the tutors/course coordinator and there's definitely no one even resembling a prof. In terms of difficulty, I'd rate this as a medium 2nd year university course. Not particularly easy. Not particularly hard. Disclosure: I did very well in both courses and am very glad I didn't do my undergraduate degree at Athabasca. What a joke! Overall I've got to say I was disappointed by the process and courses. Tuition for a Canadian university pays for access to experts in their fields. There were no experts to be seen for miles. Getting in touch with the tutors and instructors was an exercise in futility. I'm still debating whether to take any more courses through Athabasca. Tragically they're the only provider of computer science courses on-line in Canada. If that weren't the case I would be somewhere else in a heartbeat. Somewhere where I could feel like I'm learning and could learn from my peers and from the professors. PS I ranked teachers a one because I didn't EVER see a teacher in both courses I took. Not once. Even technology could be considered mediocre at best. These two courses failed to use IT in any meaningful way. Assignments were trivial and there was NO PRACTICE ANYWHERE. The free courses offered by Coursera and Udacity were MUCH better. They actually used such things as on-line program checkers and student feedback to provide feedback. Want to LEARN, got to another institution. Want a credit, go to Athabasca U. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I desperately want to learn but this is the only option to get credits given where I live (I don't have access to universities where I live).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Only as a last resort
Undeclared - October 23, 2015
I've only taken one course from Athabasca University however, it left me highly disappointed. The lessons at first glance appeared organized, yet I quickly learned this was not the case; ex)Lesson 3 assignment questions were based on material covered in lesson 5, labs were out of order etc. (though the library kits were excellent). The Tutor was unapproachable. I never was able to reach him during his set office hours, which is unheard of at the other post secondary institution I've completed programs at. If my experience with this course is a representation of the quality of education offered through Athabasca University, I would not recommend their programs.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lots of work, but worth it
Masters of Counseling - October 6, 2015
I recently completed my M.C. through Athabasca. I can only speak to the Graduate level program I completed. First, it has been stated both in these reviews and on the Athabasca website that Psychological registration is determined on the provincial level- thus students should ensure that they will be able to achieve registration at a satisfactory level in their own jurisdiction upon completion of the degree. On a national level, all graduates can register as C.C.C. As a busy professional and parent, attending a brick and mortar facility wasn't a viable option for me. Athabasca runs a program that met my need to further my education while maintaining my job. That said, be prepared for an intense workload with very concrete participation expectations that must be met to achieve good grades. I graduated with a 3.6 while maintaining my career and life, so it can be done. Further, there is a significant (500 hour) practicum commitment and the degree completion requires development of a 25 page professional manuscript to be submitted to an academic journal. This program is no walk in the park. It requires commitment, a lot of time, travel to seminars for the face to face component, and the ability to learn independently. This was a much more challenging program than any I have completed in my education history- which it should be at a Graduate level. My sole complaint is that some of the course materials require revision and many of the assignment criteria were not as specific as I would have liked. They don't spoon-feed the content to you, to be certain.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Do NOT recommend this university, they have ridiculous standards for success and all they want is your money
Athabasca University - September 10, 2015
I would not recommend this university to anyone. Failing even one small assignment will fail you the course, and make all your other hard work a waste of time. If you want to rewrite, the fees are outrageous. You already paid hundreds/thousands of dollars, and they want hundreds more dollars if you make one mistake. It is ridiculous. Do not take the courses offered here, unless you do well under extreme pressure and have loads of money to spend.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Bachelor of Management - August 27, 2015
Athabasca has provided me with an opportunity to a University education I would otherwise not have! It costs money, check, I pay invigilators to oversee my exams, yes, my total cost for my degree will be about $26K usd. Great value for me spread over four years .... I paid more for my new Nissan Rogue ... not much, but more :). I have had great experiences with the administrators, all pleasant and always helpful. My tutors have always answered my questions and queries in the time stated or sooner. The material requires much reading and study, and I have found it rewarding in many ways. Upon reading the positive and negative comments onsite, it seems to me that many of the students perhaps did not read the details of what the university offers and how the material is delivered. It would then seem that their negative reaction to their expectations derailed their commitment to learning and hard work. I am sure mistakes have occurred, I recently had a letter from the office of the registrar stating my final grade considerably below my actual. One email and a quick telephone call to the 1800 number and all was easily sorted. If you are able to read and study alone, on your own schedule, then Athabasca will provide quality materials to learn. I also seemed to find plenty of student support and library resources. If you require a professor to lead your education with visual aides and power points etc, perhaps your place simply is not at Athabasca University. Good Luck to all in your endeavours and enjoy, I am enjoying mine here at Athabasca!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Hard work - Rewarding
Commerce - July 23, 2015
Very good school! You have to be self-motivated and a hard worker. You will not wing these classes; however, it is worth the effort. The tuition costs are very affordable, and the textbooks and learning materials are presented well. Admittedly, it IS difficult to learn without the face-to-face classes you would get from attending a campus, but if you want to work at your own pace, or even get a 4-year degree in 3 years, this is the way to GO! I'm starting my second year, and am on track to be done next year!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
What are these people complaining about?
Bachelor of Management - July 22, 2015
I have read a lot of reviews here and quite frankly must be taking courses through a different university. I have been taking courses since 2009 and almost finished my bachelors in business management. I have never had any problems with the staff both admin and teachers. I have always received prompt responses and I have found the courses to be fair and reasonable. I have taken over 20 exams and never had a problem with an invigilator or the school. I am more than happy to recommend Athabasca University to any adult that wants to make an advancement in their education.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Finance Certificate and Additional Coursework
Commerce - July 12, 2015
While working more than full time hours, I completed a Finance Certificate through AU between 2012-2014, thereafter, finding myself unable to obtain employment based on my newly completed education, I enrolled in and completed further coursework in Accounting and Marketing. Between 2012 and 2015, I noticed the ongoing effects of further and further cutbacks, the transition to e-text books (course materials fees are included in the cost of each course and are not optional, so students must procure the paper text independently should they find it impossible to complete online work and refer to the online text concurrently), the lack of available or seemingly willing tutors for many courses, and the overall lack of administrative assistance. The call centre system in the Faculty of Business could test your patience on the best of days and often failed to produce results. While in some individual courses, I did have helpful tutors, overall, I would say that for about 70% of courses, when contacting tutors, the assistance I received lacked enthusiasm and necessary content and left me referring to Wikipedia for (hopeful) clarification of course content. The difficulty level of courses did not seem progressive or gauged to prepare me for a career. With a certificate rather than degree, I would have expected more practical and technology based learning rather than theoretical examinations of financial regressions and statistics and economic theorems and the like. I am very much looking forward to the potential employer who will ask me to explain the theory behind an inverted supply curve or the mathematics behind the Black Scholes theorem. Some of my courses seemed overly easy/minorly challenging but not necessarily helpful toward gearing me for a career in finance, while others seemed overly theoretical and not practical for my level of education. There was an extreme lack of focus in gearing me toward learning programs such as Excel or applications of accounting programs that would likely be more of an asset in real life career situations. In taking additional courses, I further feel that I am simply playing the game of funding this (currently insolvent) business as it continues to prove its inability to sustain and improve the quality of the education it offers while facing financial challenges. At this point (it is my hope to complete a full degree), I am considering cutting my losses and withdrawing from this institution whose only pro seems to be the flexibility of pacing oneself at courses, and considering the option of perhaps paying more or restricting my ability to work full time so that I might attend an institution that can consistently offer me a more meaningful, practical, and well rounded educational experience.
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