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Athabasca University

2.9
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Athabasca University Reviews:

Horrible

Computers and Information Systems - August 21, 2018
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Pretty bad experience overall. Would not recommend. - Course material is from the 90s. No usage of online learning tools. No videos, no interaction, very few ebooks - Some tutors/coordinators are great, some do have a good grasp of the material - Courses are very inconsistent from one another even in same dept (MATH, COMP etc) - Coordinators, tutors and dean is apathetic to any complaints or issues. They don't seem to care or be interested in any kind of improvement - Exams are russian roulette. They can be very easy or extremely difficult. Courses do not prepare you well - There is virtually no support of any kind. Challenging courses like MATH you almost definitely need to hire your own tutor - Discussions with leadership positions like Dean, course coordinator will usually just ignore you or try to tell you that you are unqualified or not "cut out" - Staff is not tech saavy, struggle with basic things like sending PDF attachments back

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful

They don't give a shit about you

Computers and Information Systems - June 18, 2018
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After taking two courses with them online, I can say this might be the most terrible school I've ever encountered. They charge absurd fees for everything. By itself, the course is $400, but they lay on an additional $150 for out of province fees, and another $250 because the course is online. You'd think that with a $250 fee, the course would operate smoothly, right? Wrong. The staff are nonexistent. Send an email, and you might get a message back several weeks later. This almost gave me an aneurism when I requested proof of enrolment, and they said it would take up to 15 business days to get the sh*tty official confirmation. Because they took so long, I nearly missed a deadline for getting financial aid. In another instance, I had to get a password from the prof to unlock lab content for my course, and they didn't respond for almost two weeks to any of my emails. So, I was just shit out of luck until then. In the first 30 days, I had to drop one of the courses and they charged me $150 to withdraw from the course. $150 to NOT take the course. It was the most absurd thing I've ever heard of. Understand this, Athabasca was a failed university going bankrupt two years ago because they were such sh** quality. These online courses are their attempt to port their sh*tty practices onto the global population of students, and make a buck off it. Take these courses if you're patient, and willing to eat garbage for a university credit. Do not take these courses if those terms seem unreasonable to you.

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful

Equivalent, if not harder than bricks and mortar

Computers and Information Systems - September 4, 2014
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Basic warning: don't take distance-ed courses of ANY type unless you're a committed, self-starter. I started my first undergrad degree from Carleton Univ, and eventually transferred to Waterloo, finally completing my first degree using Waterloo's horrid (at least at the time) tapes-to-you program. A number of years later, I decided to get a degree in my field, and as I had a career and a life, in-class wasn't going to cut it - even though I had lots of high-quality bricks & mortar schools available to me. Athabasca granted me advanced standing from my first degree, and laid out a very clear plan to complete the 4-yr BA in Information Systems. Yeah, you have 6 months to complete a course - but that's truly where your personal motivation comes in: you cannot get away with waiting 5 months before beginning. Yeah, paying for course extensions if costly - and it should be - after all, you'd never get that benefit in a B&M university. Yeah, texts/notes may not be as current as they could be - but do you know how much work goes into re-writing a course? With people taking that exact same course 27/7/365, it's tough to do. Yeah, for those of us from out-of-province, it costs a bit more - but the same would happen almost any time I attend a non-Ontario school. You're also paying a little extra for the BENEFITS of distance ed/self-paced study. It's a trade-off, and for a working person/parent, it's a useful trade-off. I can HONESTLY say that on average, the level of effort required to complete a course at Athabasca is the SAME, if not possibly HARDER than a Bricks and Mortar institution. Nobody tells you what sections of a book to skip, it's hard to find a study-buddy ... and of course, you're motivating yourself, so that's what you signed up for...and that sometimes makes it "harder" overall. I went on to obtain a Masters elsewhere, and sometimes the level of effort in my AU undergrad was actually HIGHER than some of my Masters courses. I now teach at a bricks and mortar institution, and yeah, I'll admit that we do tend to spoon-feed in-class students ... but then again, we're holding them to a fairly rigid schedule. HUGE BENEFIT: with AU being accredited in the USA, it makes it MUCH EASIER to be accepted at a USA college or university with a completed AU degree. This will be useful if you go on to do Masters/PhD work because the COST MODEL for post-grad in Canada is much different than in the US (yes, you can find Masters programs in the US for 50% cheaper than in Canada due to the fact that Canadian post-grad programs are self-funded). So, to repeat: if you cannot handle self-motivating, self-paced study - DON'T DO IT. Distance ed is definitely not for everybody! If you can handle it, it's an awesome way to complete a degree at your pace, in your house, along with your family, while keeping your job.

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful

Computer Science

Computers and Information Systems - April 24, 2013
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I'm unsure of why there are some bad reviews about the UNIVERSITY here. I've taken about 9 computer science courses with AU right now (over a course of 12 months). My experience with all of them has been surprisingly great. With the exception of one course (data structures), the remaining courses were put together well. A lot of thought went into preparation of courses, evaluation methods as well as the overall composition of the courses. Honestly, they were a lot more demanding and difficult compared to the traditional, campus based courses. But I'm always up for more reading. Sure, for one course I ended up getting a not-so-great instructor with fair-to-OK course materials, but that doesn't mean the university is bad. Tell me the name of ONE single university that has ALL perfect instructors and courses. Impossible. I am enrolled in Waterloo University as a computer engineering student and I've had to do deal with courses with no instructors and no course materials. So, I assume all universities have bad courses here and there.

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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful

AU is NOT Fully Accredited! (Not CIPS or CEAB approved.)

Computers and Information Systems - March 3, 2013
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Here are the facts about the BSc CIS program from an AU alumni that graduated in 2011: 1. The program is similar in content to a computer science or software engineering program. (GOOD) 2. The program is legitimate and comparable in difficulty to any other. (Unlike many online credentials that give this method of learning a bad reputation.) Exams are supervised. Assignments are given out and marked. It is a REAL university without the building. (GOOD) 3. The BSc CIS program is NOT accredited by any professional associations in Canada that regulate or provide quality controls to our profession. It is not CIPS accredited. It is not CEAB accredited. (BAD) 4. There is very little communication between university, tutors, and students. Students are advised to use a call centre for many courses and tutor support has been reduced and may be phased out entirely in the future. This makes studying at AU much like studying by going to a library or bookstore: you are on your own for the most part. (BAD) Summary: For students wishing to gain a career in software development, this program is considered to be a "generalist's" degree that will only take you halfway. Employers and professional associations don't view it as being equivalent to a computer science or software engineering program. Professional Engineers of Ontario will label you as a technologist if you apply for their P.Eng license in software engineering. They do not recognize online or distance education at all. CIPS will make you complete an additional two years of work experience before allowing you to gain an ISP certification. Considering the high cost of tuition and the alternatives available, students seeking a career in IT would do well to either take a much shorter program and gain an A+ or Network+ certification (depending on where your interests lie) or go to a B&M university and get CS or SE.

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12 of 22 people found the following review helpful

Athabasca Experience

Computers and Information Systems - February 1, 2013
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Hi, first of all, let me give you a bit of background: I graduated with a commerce degree from University of Toronto, and I pursued MBA in York University. Let me clarify that this is a real university. The level of difficulty and the amount of reading/studying that's required is often beyond what was required of me in University of Toronto or York. AU is very practical, the focus is both on the academic side and on the practical side - which means a lot more work than what you just study in school.

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful

Very Pleased!

Computers and Information Systems - January 8, 2013
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I have been very please with Athabasca University so far. I'm nearly done my 3rd year, and up to this point the experience has been very positive. I have to note that in contrast to another review I read about the Computer and Information Systems degree, I find this to be an excellent program for someone working full time. I am very dedicated and disciplined with my studies, I currently work full-time in Information Technology, and having these courses available to work on at anytime is the perfect solution. I get a few hours each evening, and weekends, which has been plenty so far. Again, in contrast to a previous review of this program, the courses are about $660, the textbook is mailed directly to you within about 2-3 days (even if the courses doesn't start for a while), and the school offers plenty of exam writing times at its locations which you can schedule from their website. I've never had to pay for an invilgator (the previous reviewer must live in the middle of nowhere), and you are given 6 months to complete courses, however I've never needed for than 2-3 months to finish the course material. Some of the information and learning materials can be outdated, but you are going to find that at any school. Overall I find the instructors fair on their marking, I find the tutors very helpful and always available for questions, and I find the courses well structured and reasonably difficult to work through (yes this is a good thing).

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful

BAD

Computers and Information Systems - June 28, 2012
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As most people have posted here, this university is all about MONEY. They charge you for everything. For me to get an idea, I registered for one course and that was COM200. You would think that an online university be flexible and you can do your exams at any time you want. well, that's not the case with this university. They charge like 700 for each course (for student out side Alberta), and they charge for course extension and also for exams. Not to mention the money you have to pay to exam invigilation and guess what, if you do not do your exam due to whatever reason their system will assign you "F" and you have to re-do the entire course. If you are a full time employee, forget about this university, it is not flexible at all. Another thing to add, their course material are very old. their comm200 talks about Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape, so go figure. I would not recommend this university if you currently work as full time.

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13 of 48 people found the following review helpful


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