COVID-19 questions and answers for learners
We understand Athabasca University (AU) learners may have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic could affect your studies and experience with AU.
This page includes answers to frequently asked questions we have received from our undergraduate learners.
For graduate learners, please contact your faculty for all inquiries, including requests for extensions, exam deferrals, and alternative assessments.
Quick reference: Whom should I contact?
The Information Centre will be able to either answer your questions directly or connect you with a team member who can.
AU’s Information Centre phone line, 1-800-788-9041, is now open from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. MST with a break from noon to 1 p.m. MST.
To reach the Information Centre, please first visit AskAU to see if your question has already been answered. If it hasn’t, you can use the web-contact form found at the bottom of the page to ask a question, and a team member from the Information Centre will respond as quickly as possible.
You can also use the online chat function by clicking the blue tab at the bottom-right of the screen when you visit AskAU.
Visit the Help & Support page for information on how to connect with an AU service team for assistance.
For your convenience, here are some of the most frequently requested email addresses:
- Student Financial Aid: email@example.com
- Learner Support Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Advising: email@example.com
- Course Materials: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faculty of Science–undergraduate support: email@example.com
- Faculty of Business–undergraduate support: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Computing Services IT Help Desk: email@example.com
For all inquiries, please include your full name and student ID number.
When will AU reopen its facilities?
Athabasca University will not be reopening any of its facilities to the public at this time. This includes the AU exam centres in Athabasca, Calgary, and Edmonton.
To discuss accommodations for your course, please contact your tutor directly or reach out to your Course Coordinator.
As a digital university, Athabasca University is fortunate to have the infrastructure in place to help learners complete their studies from home at their own pace.
What’s the best way to contact AU?
Our phone lines are open, here are more details on phone service.
Please use this format when emailing us, so we can get back to you with the right information more quickly.
Subject: LAST NAME, FIRST NAME: A brief description of what you’re looking for or why you’re emailing
Example: FREUD, SIGMUND: Course extension for PSYC 200
Body: Begin the body of your email with your Student ID number
Please know that while we are dealing with a high volume of requests and inquiries from our learners, we are working as quickly as we can to respond. Please do not send multiple emails about the same topic, as that may slow our response time.
Questions about vaccinations
Is the vaccination policy still in place?
With over 86% of Alberta’s population aged 12 and over now protected with at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination, the Executive Team approved a recommendation from the COVID-19 Planning Committee to rescind the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy effective May 30, 2022.
It is AU’s policy that those participating in any AU in-person activities offered at a facility not duly owned and operated by AU, in a jurisdiction outside of Alberta, adhere to the COVID vaccination policies and procedures of the facilities in which they are taking place, as well as the legislation, regulation, and advice/instruction of public health agencies and offices of the chief medical officers of health of the jurisdictions in which the facilities are located.
Are there COVID-related requirements for international students?
International students intending to enter Canada for any required in-person activities need to review and follow the pre-departure information and prepare a quarantine plan.
Questions about transcripts
How can I send transcripts from another institution to AU?
We will continue to accept incoming official transcripts from other institutions sent by mail and will also accept incoming official transcripts from other institutions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. These must come directly from the institution. We will not accept transcripts sent directly from learners.
How can I send my AU transcript to another institution?
At this time, we are issuing transcripts primarily by email. Requests for Athabasca University transcripts can be made online through myAU.
To request a transcript online, login to myAU and then select the “Request Transcripts” option under Student Record in the left-hand navigation menu. This service allows you to preview and print your transcript before it gets sent to the destination that you have specified.
Because of the immediate nature of email submission, it is important that you preview a copy before sending. If there are any problems with the transcript, you must first contact the Office of the Registrar at email@example.com to resolve any concerns prior to sending.
How can I send my AU transcript to another institution that isn’t accepting email transcripts?
In cases where students need transcripts to go to institutions that are not accepting email, or if you need to send supporting documentation, we can also send a copy via mail. First, complete the paper based Transcript Request Form, and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, student ID number, and the mailing address that you need this sent to and we can send it that way. Please note that this request may take up to 10 business days to be processed.
Questions about exams
How can I book or re-book an exam?
It’s getting easier to book your exam with AU. For information on the new process for booking exams, please visit the exam process update for more information. Below is an overview of the updates:
- Students will be required to write their exams within the active course contract.
- If you are nearing the end of your contract and have not requested your exam, you can request a course extension to allow you enough time to prepare with tutorial support and to arrange for an exam time that works for you.
- When you’re ready to request your exam, you will be required to provide 10 days’ notice, which must be within the course contract.
- If you need to cancel and re-book your exam, you can do so. Re-booking and multiple exam fees will not be charged.
- Exams will remain available with your invigilator for 5 days after the scheduled write-date in case of any technical issues, outages, or emergencies. You can write anytime in these 5 days without the need to re-schedule with AU.
- Students requiring exam accommodations through Accessibility Services will continue to be required to give 20 days’ notice when scheduling exams.
- If students are requesting the approval of a new invigilator that is not on the approved listings, they should allow 30 days’ notice when scheduling exams.
AU will no longer charge students for:
- Late exam fee: $118
- Exam rebooking fee: $118
- Multiple exam fee: $58
What if my course doesn’t have an online exam?
If your exam is not available online, alternative assessment arrangements are being put into place. Please contact your faculty for alternative arrangements:
- Faculty of Business: Contact the Student Support Centre at email@example.com
- Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Contact your Course Coordinator
- Faculty of Health Disciplines: Contact your Course Coordinator
- Faculty of Science and Technology: Contact the Student Success Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I write an exam sooner with ProctorU? What does it cost?
Once an online exam has been issued by AU, it may be written in advance of the learner’s declared write date, if desired. To write an AU exam with ProctorU, flex scheduling allows a learner to make an invigilation appointment at least 72 hours before the desired start time.
At an additional cost, a learner may choose the “Take it Soon” or “Take it Now” options. The “Take it Soon” option allows a test to be scheduled within 72 hours of the chosen start time. The “Take it Now” option allows a learner to take a test on-demand, with no appointment needed. ProctorU fee information can be found on our Office of the Registrar website. All ProctorU fees are in US dollars.
Is there a way to include these additional costs on the Tuition and Enrolment Certificate (T2202) issued by Athabasca University?
Unfortunately, this is not possible as learners pay their exam invigilator directly for their services. Those costs cannot be included on a tax form issued by AU. We advise learners to keep their receipts for any invigilation fees and claim them if appropriate when they file their 2020 tax returns.
Taking care of yourself
What precautions should I take to stay healthy?
The safety of our learners and team members is a top priority. We encourage learners and team members to take precautions and follow any instructions provided by the relevant public health authority in your area.
To protect against respiratory illnesses such as coronavirus, Alberta Health Services recommends using good hygiene practices such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and staying at home if you are feeling ill. More information about coronavirus can be found on the Alberta Health Services website.
The Government of Alberta webpage has information about recommended precautions and public health orders regarding mandatory isolation periods and restrictions on mass gatherings.
I am struggling with my mental health. What supports are available?
If you are feeling overwhelmed or need additional support, please know that help is available. As an AU learner, you have access to wellness support through Homewood Health 24-hours a day. To see the full list of mental health supports, please visit the updated mental health resource page.
Please reach out when you need to. Isolation is a risk factor, so please stay socially connected with family, friends, colleagues, and your community however you can: through phone, text, video chat, or social media.
Text4Hope is another free resource that may help to provide encouragement and supportive content. Text COVID19HOPE to 393939 to subscribe.
If you still have questions and you’re not sure who to contact, please send a message to email@example.com.
What can I do if I am too sick to study, or cannot study because I’m caring for someone who is sick?
If you are too sick to study, or if you are caring for someone who is ill and you are unable to study, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can assist you. We understand that these circumstances are beyond your control.
I have received a suspicious email. How can I protect myself from phishing attacks?
It may be a phone call trying to scam you or a phishing attack that may try to get you to click on malicious links or open infected email attachments. While this list is not exhaustive and the message could be an email, pop-up, or even a phone call, be on the lookout for these suspicious asks:
- Any message that communicates a tremendous sense of urgency. The attackers are trying to rush you and cause you to make a mistake.
- Any message that promotes miracle cures, such as vaccines or medicine that will protect you. The best information on COVID-19 will be on official websites, see links to those from our Information on COVID-19 page on The Hub.
- Be very suspicious of any phone call or message that pretends to be an official or government organization urging you to take immediate action.
Your best defense against phishing is vigilance, please be alert. When you encounter any phishing or other malicious e-mails simply delete them without responding, and without clicking any links or attachments. After you delete the e-mail you can also empty your trash to remove it completely from your account. If it’s a phone call, hang up immediately.
Questions about courses and extensions
How can I get an extension for my course?
As of June 1, 2022, AU will be making changes to course extensions.
For non-funded students:
- Undergraduate students who are not currently accessing student financial aid will have the flexibility to purchase a course extension online right up to their current contract end date.
- Students can request a maximum of three two-month extensions.
- With each extension, access to course materials (including digital materials) is maintained with full tutorial support.
- Extensions can be requested online through myAU.
For students receiving financial aid:
- The process is not changing for course extensions. All details can be found on the financial aid website.
How will my student financial aid and/or course load be affected?
Learners currently receiving Federal, Provincial or Territorial student financial aid, or who will be for an upcoming semester, should consult with their AU Financial Aid Advisor (email@example.com) to discuss ANY potential changes to their studies. Extensions and other accommodations may not be available as funding (current or future) eligibility may be affected.
Are Convocation events being rescheduled?
Convocation is an important milestone for AU’s learners—a culmination of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance. It is a special time for all of us at AU as well and we look forward each year to celebrating the graduands’ achievements.
Convocation 2022 will be held virtually on Friday, June 17.
Questions about learning resources
How will access to physical learning resources (e.g. print textbooks) be affected?
The global response to COVID-19 disrupted the distribution channels that AU relied on to ship resources to our learners. To remain flexible and to continue AU’s mission to remove barriers to post-secondary education, we took steps to replace physical resources with digital version wherever possible.
You may see one or more of the following changes in your courses:
Will AU ship me my book once the COVID-19 crisis is over?
If the mandatory resource is replaced by a VitalSource eText or a Library eBook, then you will not receive a physical copy of that resource.
How can I access the eText?
A link to the eText will be available in your course’s site. Learn more about accessing your eText.