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Athabasca University

Course Delivery

MSc IS courses will be delivered via online grouped study or online individualized study using distance education instructional design principles and enabling Web based technologies:

  • Some course materials - textbook(s), CD-ROM, etc. - are sent through the mail.
  • Other course materials - study guides, assignments, links to online resources, etc. - are made available through Moodle.
  • Students have access to an instructor, who may be contacted by e-mail. The instructor gives subject matter assistance and discusses scholarly issues, marks assignments, provides feedback, and helps prepare for examinations.
  • Concluding examinations (where applicable) can be taken at many post-secondary institutions across Canada and overseas.
  • Students are expected to use computer-mediated communications for the following purposes:
    • instructor and student-to-student interactions in computer conferences;
    • electronic mail, both within and outside of the course structure;
    • file transfer or file attachment of assignments and feedback between instructor and students and between students on joint projects;
    • accessing Web-based resources such as electronic databases (the AU library maintains subscriptions to ACM and IEEE digital libraries).

Online Grouped Study

A mode of learning involving online study as part of a group, with specific start and end dates. Synchronous communication requirements are generally more central to the learning process than in individualized study courses. In the MSc IS program this delivery mode will be used primarily for courses which have elements of professional practice requiring that students work in various group configurations to complete assignments.

Online grouped study courses in the MSc IS program will be offered during three sessions each year. Refer to the Academic Schedule for each session start date. All course work should be completed during the semester periods.

Online grouped study delivery has the following characteristics:

  • Students work with fellow students and instructors on a 13-week timetable.
  • Sessions start three times each year: September, January, and April/May.
  • Exams, where applicable, are written in the last scheduled week of classes.

Online Individualized Study

Online Individualized study courses begin on the first day of every month. Course registration form and fees must be received at least one month in advance of your intended start date.

Online Individualized study courses comprise a self-directed learning environment. Typically, learners are required to:
  • follow a outline provided in a Study Guide
  • schedule study time to achieve course objectives and complete assignments
  • prepare for and complete assignments on time

Online Individualized study delivery has the following characteristics:

  • Students communicate with their instructor via e-mail, and assignments are submitted via the course website.
  • Sessions start the beginning of every month.
  • Exams, where applicable, are written on or before the contract end date.
  • The course-contract period for individualized study courses is six months.

Updated June 30 2014 by FST Technical Staff

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.