Review Averages: 5.9 out of 10
Accreditation: Province of Alberta
Athabasca University Reviews:
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good, until NOT!
Undeclared - October 22, 2016
I always thought that the Athabasca University was a “good” university. After all, it is very accommodating to busy adults that have full-time jobs and families. I like that I can complete my work at my own, very delayed pace. The online format suits my introverted personality quite well. I can’t remember to have ever interacted or requested help from the instructors/facilitators of the courses. Want to extend your course, no problem, pay $165 and you get an additional 2 months to complete your work. Want to extend it some more, no problem, you get up to 3 extensions, as long as you pay the low fee of $165. Heck, you can even “extend” your course further, by writing your test within the month after your course end-date, for an easy fee of $100/exam. That’s only $200 to write both the mid-term AND the final! I have done this multiple times, and although I hated myself for procrastinating so much, I appreciated and I was grateful to the university for allowing the practice (though, in hindsight, this was a perfectly fair transaction). Until today, after weeks of preparation to write my mid-term exam, I was ready for it; Saturday, Oct. 22 at 9am. I drive downtown and get to my usual parking spot at about quarter after 8. I decide to do some last minute reviewing in my car, because I don’t want to bring to many things with me to the exam, knowing that I have to stow any additional items into a locker. At about 8:45am I decide to make my way to the examination. I pay for my parking and I head over to the building. Hmmm… that’s strange, the Athabasca University is not listed on the placard of the building. Maybe, I forgot the exact building as I haven’t written an exam in a long while. I am certain it is along the train tracks though. I run up and down the street, but I don’t see what I’m looking for. I ask a nice lady if she knows where the university building is, and she replies, somehow confidently, that it isn’t anywhere around there. I resort to checking the address on my archaic phone. At this point, I still have about 5 more minutes before the exam. Turns out, the Athabasca University has moved to the other end of downtown. I can’t believe it, I will be late to my exam! I run to get to my car, I drive to the other side, takes me about 6-7 minutes tops. In the meantime, I am trying to call the school, to perhaps, let someone know I am running late, or to ask for directions, just something…. I drive around in circles to find parking, although I haven’t pinpointed the exact building yet. I finally find an empty street row and I park there. I get to the pay station and the machine informs me I can only park there for a maximum of 1 hour (my exam is 3 hours). I get into my car again and drive around some more. I spot the underground parking at the Bow Valley College. I hope and pray that the Athabasca University is located in the same building (even though I’m not so sure seeing how things turned out). My parking ticket says 9:20am. After endless circles in the underground parking, I find a spot. I dash out of my car, climb out of the parkade and run to the nearest door into the building. Shoot! That one is just an exit door. I run around the corner to another set of doors. Those are looked as well! Meanwhile, a police officer is pointing at the doors further to my right from across the street. I wave “Thank you” and yes, finally those doors get me into the building. And another victory for me when I see the “Athabasca University” logo listed on the placard ?. I make my way to the 6th floor and enter into the first office I spot. I explain to the gentleman sitting there that I am late for my test, not expecting that the University had relocated. I try to convey how I had frantically been searching for the building for the past 45 minutes. He informs me that the university had moved about 3 years ago. Has it been that long since I had written an exam there?! But he then, calmly says that even though I was a bit too late, he will allow me to write the exam. Phew! All the trials and trepidations I just went through will not be wasted. He then asks whether I was writing an online or a paper exam. Mine is a paper exam! He says that he is in charge of online exams, and I would have to speak to his co-worker next door for the paper exam. The young lady in charge of the paper-exams is, for a lack of better words, a bitch. She denies me to write the exam and informs me a couple of times that I will have to pay the $100 fee to re-book it. Wow! I decide to speak to the first, more reasonable invigilator one more time. He says, without making eye contact, that it is his at his co-workers discretion and ultimately, her call. I aim to plead, very nicely and kindly, with this lady one more time. Kill her with kindness, I reason! She, again, denies me, saying that they have never made any exceptions in the past, so they won’t make any now or in the future. I ask, still very politely and restrained, whether I can make a complaint, and she says that I could, but that it wouldn’t change the outcome. She then, very content at the rush she got from her power trip, retrieves to her chair, allowing me to understand that I had overstayed my welcome. Deflated and a little humiliated I walk out of there, at which point, a student catches up to me. Having overheard the interaction, he offers his sympathy at my situation, further enforcing my opinion of the young lady at the desk for being a total bitch. I then proceeded outside, mindlessly collecting many, many poke balls and even some new Pokémon. I should go downtown more often!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
MBA - October 22, 2016
The MBA has been exceedingly challenging but definitely worth the time. Professors come from various professions, institution and geographical locations providing an excellent resource for the information and education I need. The only criticism is that the program requires much more than the suggested 20 to 30 hours per week. The in-residence electives were excellent!! Thanks Athabasca for providing fantastic distance education.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing for the price
Computing and Info Systems - September 7, 2016
For an online course this is nothing less than a travesty in design. Read a mediocre FREE textbook, do some random questions as two or three assignments, receive no feedback through all of this, write an exam. Rinse and repeat. If you're after learning, skip AU, buy a QUALITY textbook and find an on-line community to guide you through it. You will be better off (and have saved yourself $700). If you need that piece of paper saying you took a course, well, there are no other on-line options in Canada so suck it up and just accept that you'll have to do this. It counts. You'll learn SOMETHING. But, you'll be left shaking your head. So far I've taken three courses and they've been getting worse and worse. COMP200 was acceptable though uninspired. COMP268 Java was mediocre, at best and COMP272 Data Structures (& Algorithms) was downright terrible. Don't get me wrong. I'm a self-starter, capable of self-motivating even through the toughest and driest material. These courses are not exactly tough, but, they are beyond dry and designed to fail. To give you a sense of my background: I have a multiple non-trivial degrees and a decade of experience as a (well paid) professional. I've taken great (free) on-line courses in recent years. That was not the Athabasca experience. Essentially what the course "developer" did was take a textbook and turn the chapters into the course. It's a money making operation. They paid some poor soul a pittance to copy the textbook chapters and borrow assignments from other universities (which they don't update... plagiarism must be a HUGE problem with these AU courses). Many on-line and regular computer science courses have practice assignments whereby you run your programs through an on-line testing interface to confirm that what you've done is correct. You'd think that an on-line course would make extensive use of such an interface. No such luck. You can hand in non-functional programs at AU and get full credit for an assignment. You also can't get feedback on practice programs. The course advisors simply don't have time. The only thing they get paid for (poorly) is to mark items and occasionally respond to queries. Hard these courses are not. To be honest, I am shocked, truly shocked that these courses qualify as accredited. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if an audit of these computer science courses (at least COMP 272 and 268) would rovoke their accreditation.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
So Far so Good
Computing and Info Systems - June 29, 2016
Just wanted to give my 2 cents. I'm going on my second year at Athabasca University. I have two kids and a full time job and I wasn't ready/couldn't afford to just quit my job and study so Athabasca was my option. After seeing a lot of the negative reviews on here I just wanted to give my personal experience. My experience has been overall a positive one. The courses are hard, I'm on student loans so I get 4 months to finish my courses instead of the 6. I still have so far always finished my courses in time, and so far I have never paid for a rewrite of a test or an extension. The courses I find them very difficult in general. Expect to be challenged extremely hard and to give 100% to finish your classes on time, sometimes you might even have to book some days off work near your end date to finish everything. I can see why some people would be frustrated with these courses. You need to have common sense and strong learning skills to succeed. There is two things with the negative reviews I can agree on is that you won't get a lot of help from your teachers. I asked for help less than a handful of times and I didn't really get much, so now when I take my courses I don't ask for help and do it 100% myself. The second thing with the negative review I can agree on is that some teachers do mark pretty hard and don't give a lot of feedback, but I would say with my personal experience this would be about or less than 1/3 of my teachers so far. Overall the advantage of not having to commute to school and between classes, being able to work full time and study from my house, I would say that I love Athabasca University. If you are not a self starter and a good problem solver I wouldn't recommend it, because so far finishing some of my classes on time with a passing grade has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Bachelor of Science - April 12, 2016
I wanted to take a BSc POST DIPLOMA only to be told I could NOT unless I got a letter from my supervisor stating I was CURRENT in my field (LIKE HE WOULD KNOW!) I have been a CERTIFIED ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGIST since 1983 and have helped to write an entrance exam for new applicants. Is IT MY fault I am CURRENTLY not working in my FIELD/ Have these IDIOTS ever heard of having to take a job because you have to SUPPORT a FAMILY?!?! DO YOU NOT THINK I WOULD RATHER WORK IN MY FIELD?? Part of the reason for my taking this course was because I wanted to get a LEG UP. What a JOKE. I wish I had enrolled elsewhere.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not worth the Headache
Athabasca University - March 31, 2016
I understand all of the negative reviews here. I took one course from Athabasca University and that was one course too many. I was surprised by how terrible this institution actually is. People here aren't exaggerating! Students receive ZERO support from the faculty. The Tutor assigned to my course was so terrible that I I filed a formal complaint. The Director of the department contacted me to apologize, then proceeded to make excuses as to why the Tutor wasn't doing his job, a job that I was paid over $700 for him to do, I might add. In the end nothing was done to resolve the issues. I've completed a degree from U of A, then years later after making a career change, took a 2 year diploma from NAIT. I would highly recommend both of these schools over Athabasca University, if for no other reason than the quality of education that I received there was far greater than the quality of education Athabasca University was willing to offer me.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
worst university in Canada
Athabasca University - March 8, 2016
DO NOT GO TO THIS SCHOOL IF YOU WANT TO HAVE YOUR MONEY OVER AN OPEN FLAME! HOW DOES ONE FAIL A COURSE WITH A 75% AVERAGE IN EVERYTHING ELSE ON 1 ASSIGNMENT??? REALLY???? I HAVE JUST WASTED (AND LOST THOUSANDS) TO THIS SCHOOL TO BE VICTIMIZED REPEATEDLY i.e. ignorant and condescending instructors and underserved ignorant remarks on final assignments! There is NO support from the so-called "faculty" and they help only a select few get through the program! It's pretty sad when no one will stop such insanity therefore jeopardizing this place's reputation. This joke of a school is not even ranked for crying out loud! Word to the wise: ALWAYS select a post secondary university which is classified in Canada's ranking system, otherwise, you may pay a heavenly price like the many of us who are left with double standards, a maxed out credit card and no degree! Select your university wisely that's all I say!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A little shady in my opinion
Undeclared - March 8, 2016
I am attending the University of Calgary and I decided to take an extra class through correspondence in my last semester to fulfill a requirement. I took BIOL 235 (Human Anatomy and Physiology), which was just okay. I had some issues with the grading on my assignments. I emailed the prof for unnecessary marked taken off. The exams and quizzes were all very fair though. Just a word of caution when writing written assignments. ALWAYS be critical of your marker.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Terrible Excuse for an Educational Institution
Athabasca University - February 24, 2016
I am in the process of taking courses needed to get into a graduate program and am extremely dissatisfied with Athabasca University. I have already completed a university degree and did not anticipate having any issues completing online courses, however, this has not been my experience. Not only are there no course lectures provided (where is the $800 per course going?), but your TAs are terrible at responding to questions, so you are essentially teaching yourself all of the material. It takes weeks to get your marked assignments back, and the feedback provided is unhelpful. When you call the help line, you are given generic responses and transferred from department to department. Each time you write an exam or a midterm through an invigilator you pay $50 so the course ends up costing well over $800, which is ridiculous. I am beyond disappointed in Athabasca University not just because of the awful experience that I had, but because they are overcharging for a service that they are not even providing.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good So Far
Bachelor of Human Science-Post Diploma - February 21, 2016
I am currently in the process of completing the post diploma Bachelor of Human Science degree. I started my first course while I was pregnant with my first child and working full time. I was credited for my college diplomas and must complete a total of 45 credits (15-3 credit courses) in order to finish my degree. So far I have completed 4 courses and i will be finished my fifth course in two weeks. I was a little nervous about distance education, but between my job, one little one, another on the way and a household to take care of, physically attending school at this time is just not possible. My first course was a 200 level course. I registered early and was sent the course materials right away. I was also given access to the online materials with the exception of the assignments; this was nice because i was able to learn how to use moodle before the course started. The workload was high and I had to work hard and put in a lot of hours. There was some group work involved and I was nervous about posting my work for others to see, but I quickly realized that some people just weren't putting in any effort. I was really surprised at how lazy some people were and I was also a little angry. We were meant to post our work so others could comment on it and I was to comment on theirs and then i was evaluated on my responses. The deadlines were strict for posting so that everyone would have a chance to reply to the posts and some people didn't even bother posting on time. This was really frustrating as I kept checking back to see if it was posted knowing that I had less and less time to come up with a good response. We weren't penalized for others not doing the work, but it was nerve wracking none the less. I was given 6 months to complete the course and it took me the full 6 months to complete it. For my next three courses, each one also took the full 6 months. It is probably fair to say if I wasn't working full time and taking care of my family I could probably finish each course more quickly. In each course so far, the course objectives are clearly outlined in the syllabus and course handbook and this is where the assignment and exam questions come right from. So far there have been no tricks and no surprises on any of my exams, but I have also followed all the study schedules and carefully learned all of the objectives. I have never attended any other universities, so I have no other point of reference, but I would say that the marking and grading has been more than fair so far. I am currently taking an introductory stats course and it's a tough one for me. I have had to take an extension because i'm slow with the material, but am doing very well so far by following the study schedule and course outline. I check the course forum daily and I am again surprised by the questions that people post. It is very obvious that some people haven't read any of the course material and think that they can just wing it. This is definitely not the case for these courses. You just have to sit down with the material knowing that you have to learn all of the material and the exams and assignments are actually fair, at least they have been for me so far. I am really enjoying my program and courses so far. I will write another review once I have completed my degree in a few more years.
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