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Course Team

Author: Lyle Grant
Editor: Carol Schafer
Revision Editor: Florene G. Ypma
Cover Design: Margaret Anderson
Visual Presentation: Digital Media Technology Unit

Every effort has been taken to ensure that these materials comply with the requirements of copyright clearances and appropriate credits. Athabasca University will attempt to incorporate in future printings any corrections which are communicated to it.

The inclusion of any material in this publication is strictly in accord with the consents obtained and Athabasca University does not authorize or license any further reproduction or use without the consent of the copyright holder.

© Athabasca University 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006
Revised edition
All rights reserved
Printed in Canada

Introduction

Welcome to Psychology 387: Learning, a three-credit, senior-level university course. This Student Manual provides essential information about the structure of the course, the course materials, student evaluation procedures, and other information you need to complete the course successfully.

Please read this Student Manual through carefully to help you get acquainted with the course and the expectations. If you have any questions about the course itself or how to proceed with your studies, please contact your tutor or the course coordinator.

Course Structure

The following table illustrates the correspondence between the units in the course and the reading assignments. “Chance” refers to the main course text, Learning and Behavior (2006). Grant and Evans refers to an additional reading contained in your course package (1994).

Units and Readings

  1. Introduction

    Chance, Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chance, Chapter 2: The Study of Learning and Behavior

  2. Pavlovian Conditioning and its Applications

    Chance, Chapter 3: Pavlovian Conditioning

    Chance, Chapter 4: Pavlovian Conditioning Applications

  3. Operant Reinforcement

    Chance, Chapter 5: Operant Reinforcement

  4. Operant and Vicarious Processes

    Chance, Chapter 6: Operant Punishment

    Chance, Chapter 7: Operant Applications

    Chance, Chapter 8: Vicarious Learning

  5. Generalization, Discrimination, and Stimulus Control

    Chance, Chapter 9: Generalization, Discrimination, and Stimulus Control

    Grant and Evans, Chapter 14: Conceptual Behavior and Generalized Response Classes

  6. Schedules of Reinforcement

    Chance, Chapter 10: Schedules of Reinforcement

  7. Remembering and Forgetting and the Limits of Learning

    Chance, Chapter 11: Remembering and Forgetting

    Chance, Chapter 12: The Limits of Learning

Course Materials

The course materials for Psychology 387: Learning include the items listed below. If any items are missing from your course package, please contact the Course Materials department at Athabasca University at (780) 675-6366 as soon as possible. You may call Athabasca University, toll free, from anywhere in Canada or the United States at 1-800-788-9041, and ask to speak to someone in Course Materials (ext. 6366). Students in the Edmonton and Calgary dialing areas are asked to call the Learning Centres to connect with the automated attendant, and then dial the four-digit extension. You may also send an email message to cmat@athabascau.ca or write in care of Course Materials, Tim Byrne Centre, 4001 Hwy 2 South, Athabasca AB T9S 1A4 Canada.

Textbook

Chance, P. (2006). Learning and behavior (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth.

Athabasca University Materials

Resource File: The Resource File includes a reading and exercises supplementary to the course textbook.

Student Manual: The Student Manual contains essential information about how to proceed through the course, including assignment and exam information.

Study Guide: The Study Guide includes reading assignments, instructor commentary, study questions and comments, conceptual exercises, supplementary resources and references. The Study Guide will guide you through the material in this course.

Forms: The forms you will need to submit assignments, request exams, or notify the University of a change in your status as a student are included in your course package. These forms can also be accessed online.

Course Contract

Psychology 387: Learning is a three-credit course, equivalent to a one-semester course at a conventional university. It is offered in two delivery modes: grouped-study and individualized-study. The individualized-study version of the course is normally open to students throughout the year, whereas the grouped-study version is only available at certain fixed start dates and may not be offered every year. There are important differences between the course contracts given to students in the grouped-study mode as opposed to students in the individualized-study mode.

Grouped-study mode: The grouped-study version of Psychology 387, usually a seminar offering of the course, follows the timelines associated with a traditional university semester. For example, students who begin the course in September will finish it in December. Students in this version therefore receive a four-month course contract, and are subject to the regulations governing grouped-study courses given in the Athabasca University Calendar.

Individualized-study mode: Students opting for the individualized-study version of the course are given the flexibility to determine their own timelines for completing it within the six-month course contract period. Nonetheless, they are encouraged to follow the study schedule that is included in this Student Manual. Students who do so will have no difficulty in completing the course requirements within the six-month contract period. However, students who find themselves running short of time may purchase an extension to their course contract.

Please note that students in the individualized-study version of the course who are receiving funding from the Student Finance Board may be required to complete their studies in a shortened time frame. If you are receiving funding from any source, please check the details of your obligations and adjust your personal study schedule accordingly.

Applying for extensions: If you are unable to complete this course within the six-month course contract period, you may apply for and purchase an extension. Note that the Office of the Registrar must receive extension request forms a minimum of one month before your course contract end date. Consult the online Athabasca University Calendar for more information on obtaining extensions.

MyAU Portal

MyAU is a personalized portal to the University where information that is relevant to you may be accessed quickly. Through myAU, you can view personal information, such as your AU Library account, and your assignment marks and course grades. You may also take care of administrative matters, such as booking exams, submitting assignments, applying for extensions, and registering for courses. Athabasca University will also communicate directly with you through myAU. Check the Message Centre on your myAU home page for general information and for mail addressed specifically to you.

To login at http://my.athabascau.ca/, enter your student ID number and password where requested. If you are having browser difficulties or you need help, refer to myAU Help at http://www.athabascau.ca/uportal/help/index.php. Your myAU username and password will enable access to all Psychology 387 online course materials.

Athabasca University Calendar

Because Athabasca University's policies, practices, and procedures change over time, some of the information in this Student Manual may lose its currency between course revisions. Students are therefore advised to refer to the online Athabasca University Calendar on important issues concerning University policies, practices, and procedures. You are responsible to inform yourself about these policies. In particular, you are urged to review the Academic Misconduct Policy, the Non-Academic Misconduct Policy, and the Student Academic Appeals Committee Policy. In the event of any discrepancy between the printed version of the Calendar and the official online Calendar, the online version will be binding.

Course Tutor

An important feature of an Athabasca University course is the course tutor. The name, telephone number, and e-mail and postal addresses for your tutor for this course are provided in the tutor letter that was mailed to you shortly before your official start date. If you have not yet received your tutor letter, please contact Learning Services—Tutorial at 1-800-788-9041, ext. 6196 or 780-675-6196 as soon as possible. You may also contact Learning Services—Tutorial by sending an e-mail message to tutserv@athabascau.ca.

The tutor letter will help you become acquainted with your tutor and will provide information on your tutor's schedule. If you have not yet received a call from your tutor, do not hesitate to make the first call yourself. If you live in Canada, you may call your tutor, toll free, during his or her tutoring hours, following the information provided in the tutor letter. If you live outside of Canada, please refer to the tutor letter and the current Athabasca University Calendar for information on calling your tutor.

You may find it useful to schedule a regular study period when your tutor is available so that you can call him or her when questions arise. If you are unable to take advantage of the regular tutoring hours, contact your tutor or the course co-ordinator to determine whether alternative arrangements can be made.

You will find that your tutor is your main contact with the University while you are enrolled in this course. In addition to answering your questions concerning the course material, your tutor will also mark your assignments and suggest review and remedial activities if you have problems with the course work, and advise you of your readiness to write the examination. Be assured that your tutor will do his or her best to assist you in every way to understand and appreciate the material in this course.

For handy reference, use the space provided below to record information on your tutor.

Name: ____________________________________

Postal address: ____________________________________

E-mail address: ____________________________________

Telephone number: ____________________________________

Tutoring days and hours: ____________________________________

Students who maintain regular contact with their tutors are generally more successful in their studies than are those students who do not maintain regular contact. You are strongly encouraged, therefore, to consult with your tutor on all matters that might affect your study. Your tutor may not always have an answer for you, but he or she will know where to find it.

Student ID Number

In contacts with your tutor, on an assignment, or in any correspondence or other contact with the University, you are asked to provide your student ID number. Your student ID number will assist in processing requests, grades, and administrative matters more quickly.

Student ID number: ____________________________________

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy

The personal information and records collected and maintained by the University as a result of a student's registration in this course, such as completed assignments and examinations, electronic communications, and correspondence, are subject to University policies and the privacy and access provisions of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Course Coordinator

The course coordinator is usually the senior academic staff member in charge of the course. The course coordinator works directly with tutors on both academic and administrative matters. If you have difficulties that cannot be resolved with your tutor's help, you may wish to contact the coordinator directly. The coordinator is also the person to contact regarding credit records or centrally marked exams. In addition, he or she can provide general information about program planning and curriculum development.

Psychology 387 Online

An online version of selected Psychology 387 materials is available at the following Internet address:

http://psych.athabascau.ca/html/Psych387/

This site includes the latest version of the course materials, links to other psychology websites, online interactive tutorials, and online quizzes that you may take on a 24-hour basis.

Please consult the Psychology 387 Web page for a description of the minimum computer configuration required for the course. Students may use the microcomputers at Athabasca University in Athabasca or at the Learning Centres in Edmonton or Calgary.

Several areas of Psychology 387 are password-protected. When you go to one of these areas, you will be asked for a username and password. The username is your student ID and the password is the same one you use to access myAU.

The Psychology 387 main page provides access to other resources that complement the required course materials. For example, you can connect to the Athabasca University Psychology Resources (AUPR) page, Writing Skills links, the Athabasca University Library online resources, and the Centre for Psychology home page.

Quizzes

When you take the quizzes over the Internet, please simulate exam conditions by answering the questions without using notes or the textbook. Using this method will give you an accurate indication of how well you have learned and how prepared you are to take the exam. In the past, students who have consulted their notes and the text on the quizzes have been dismayed to learn that they fail or do poorly on the exam. Don't let this happen to you. Because the exam is 50% of your course grade, your study and quiz-taking practices should be focused on the exam. One way to achieve this focus is to avoid using your notes and the textbook when taking the quizzes.

Problems

If you have problems with the academic content of the course, please contact your course tutor. If you have a problem operating the computer system, please ensure that you have read the appropriate documentation. If you continue to have difficulties, please contact the Athabasca University Helpdesk at 1-800-788-9041, ext. 6405, during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday (MST or MDT)). If you call outside business hours, leave a message and a phone number at which you can be reached during the next business day. Note that the Helpdesk staff can provide suggestions for solving your problem, but the problem may be beyond their control. If a computer system fails you, you can take unit quizzes over the telephone with your tutor.

Using the Study Guide

The Study Guide consists of a set of study objectives and questions for each of the seven units in the course. Quiz questions and final exam items will be based on the material covered by the study questions in the Study Guide. It is essential that you know the answers to all the study questions in each unit. The conceptual exercises in the Study Guide are also very important. These exercises consist of examples and non-examples of the main concepts in each unit. Your task on these exercises is one of two things: to identify whether the illustration is an example of a specified concept and explain why or why not, or to name the concept illustrated and explain why it qualifies as an example.

All quiz and exam items will pertain to material covered in the study questions or conceptual exercises. In some cases this material will not be found in the reading assignments, so you must read the Study Guide and do the exercises in it to do well in this course.

Study Methods

The following hints will help you to complete Psychology 387 successfully:

  • Establish a habit of weekly study. Block out a time specifically devoted to this course. About ten hours per week should be adequate, based on the study schedule provided in your Student Manual.

  • Find a special place for study. If possible, choose an area that has minimal interruptions during study hours.

  • Maintain regular contact with your course tutor. Your tutor is there to provide guidance and support throughout the course. Your tutor is only as far away as your telephone.

  • Use the study questions in an active manner:

    First: Read through the questions to get an idea of the key points.

    Second: Read the article or chapter straight through without attempting to answer any of the study questions. Try to get an overall understanding of what the author is saying.

    Third: Go back and try to answer each study question by reviewing what you have just read.

  • Read actively, not passively. Participate in what is happening.

  • When your attention lapses, stop reading. You are wasting your time if you continue reading without paying close attention to the material. So, when you cannot read actively any more, stop and take a break.

  • As you work through a section of an assigned reading, stop, and, in your own words, try to remember the important points. If you cannot remember, reread. Often just recalling the points and writing them down is better than simply recalling. Finish by checking with the text.

  • When you are unable to understand a point in a reading or question, write it down and discuss it the next time you contact your tutor.

  • Read with a pencil or a highlighter in your hand, and mark key words and concepts. Do not be afraid to write in the book. It is your book and you can do with it as you wish. Athabasca University intentionally provides generous margins for this purpose.

Student Evaluation

The final grade in Psychology 387 will be based on your performance on seven unit quizzes, one tutor-marked assignment and a final exam. Your performance on the quizzes will account for 42% of your final grade (seven quizzes at 6% each), your tutor-marked assignment will account for 8% of your grade, and your performance on the final exam will account for the remaining 50% of your grade.

The following is an explanation of each evaluation device:

Unit Quizzes

Once you have finished studying the material in a unit, go to the Psychology 387 website (http://psych.athabascau.ca/html/Psych387/) and select the Take a Quiz link in the left column. Fill in the required information, making sure to enter your student number and the name of your assigned course tutor (named in the tutor letter you received). You will then receive a quiz which should take less than one hour to complete. You have up to three hours to submit the quiz. If you take more than three hours to submit a quiz, it will not be accepted and you will have failed that form of the quiz. Ensure that you have enough uninterrupted time to complete and submit each quiz.

Each unit quiz will consist of two parts: a computer-marked portion and a tutor-marked portion. Each of the seven computer-marked quiz portions will contribute 4% of your overall course grade (28% of your overall course grade). Each of the seven tutor-marked quiz portions will contribute 2% of your course grade (14% of your overall course grade).

Computer-marked Portions

The computer-marked part of the quiz will consist of objective items (e.g., multiple-choice, true-false). After you have taken and submitted the quiz, you will receive a computer-generated grade by email, including both the items you answered correctly and those you answered incorrectly. If you receive a grade of less than 80% on this part of the quiz, you will be required to take a second quiz. If you fail to achieve a grade of 80% or more on your second try, you will be required to take a third quiz. If you do not achieve the 80% criterion on the third try, your grade for the unit quiz (computer-generated portion) will be that of your third attempt. After taking a quiz, you will be required to wait at least three hours before being permitted to attempt another quiz. Quizzes will be randomly generated from a bank of test questions, so your quiz questions will vary between attempts. Failing to achieve 80% or better on a unit quiz indicates that you need additional study, not simply another quiz. You are expected to restudy the unit material before making a second or third attempt at a quiz.

When you achieve a grade of 80% or more on the computer-marked part of the quiz or have made three attempts, you will proceed to the next unit. Once students achieve a score of 80% or more on the computer-marked portion of a unit quiz, they go on to the next unit and are not permitted to retake the passed unit in an effort to boost their unit quiz grade.

Tutor-marked Portions

Your initial unit quiz will include some questions requiring short answers that will be sent to your tutor for grading. The tutor-marked items will require you to write original examples of concepts and principles, explain how you would apply a concept or principle to solve a behavior problem, or apply critical-thinking skills to analyze or interpret course material. This tutor-marked part of the quiz will only be presented once; these questions will not appear on second and third quiz retakes. You will have only one attempt at the tutor-marked items in each unit. Your tutor will grade them, normally within two or three business days, and then send you your score via email.

Unit 5 Tutor-Marked Project

In Unit 5, one major emphasis is the procedures and methods involved in teaching concepts. For your project, you will be required to design a set of procedures and materials to effectively teach someone a concept or set of related concepts.

We wish to give you a wide range of options for both concepts and choice of learner populations for which your concept program is intended. For example, you could select a concept taught in one of your university courses and develop a conceptual exercise akin to the conceptual exercises included in this course. Should you choose this route, the learner population would be students who enroll in that course. (However, please do not select one of the concepts taught in Psychology 387, because we have already provided these for you and we would like to see instead some original work on your part.) If you are interested in teaching younger children, you may choose a concept appropriate for children of a given skill level, such as colour naming for a preschool population. Select a concept from a subject matter area that interests you, that you feel will be valuable to teach. You are encouraged to select your own concept, but check with your tutor to determine whether the concept is appropriate.

Here are some examples of concepts from outside the field of psychology:

  • irony or allegory in literature. (At times, teachers of English do not employ the principles of concept learning in teaching literary devices. Students may be expected to make rather complex conceptual discriminations after exposure to only a single example and no non-examples.)

  • metre in poetry. (Tennyson and his colleagues used concept programming to teach students iambic pentameter, one type of meter.)

  • Darwinian Evolution (versus Lamarckian Evolution).

  • elasticity of demand in economics.

  • matriarchal and patriarchal societies in anthropology.

  • blitzkrieg warfare.

  • Substance abuse disorders in psychiatry.

  • art deco in design.

Required Components of a Concept Program

  1. Concept definition and analysis of variable features

    Define the concept, specifying each critical feature.

    Specify the variable properties of the concept, especially those which are commonly correlated with the critical features.

  2. Teaching examples and non-examples

    Construct a set of examples and non-examples. Examples should contain all the critical features of the concept and non-examples should lack only a single critical feature. A variety of variable features should be present in both examples and non-examples.

    You may wish to use matched and divergent example/non-example pairs, as discussed in the text. (Note: In some cases use of matched pairs is unnecessary and excessively time-consuming. For these reasons, we have not used matched pairs in most of the conceptual exercises in this course.)

    The number of examples and non-examples you use should range from six to ten, depending on the number (and difficulty) of the critical features of your concept.

  3. Analysis of examples and non-examples: For each example or non-example you construct, you should include a brief explanation of why the illustration qualifies as an example or fails to do so based on the presence or absence of the critical features of the concept. These analysis statements would be presented to the learner with the illustrations or would follow student response to the illustrations (i.e., as feedback).

  4. Test items

    Construct a set of test items consisting of examples and non-examples of the concept you have taught. Also include an answer key for the test items.

    If the concept program has been properly designed and is appropriate for the learner’s skill level, learners should be able to achieve 90% mastery of the test items. The 10% error rate allows for minor inadequacies in both program design and learner response (e.g., lapses in attention). If a 100% mastery criterion were essential (e.g., as in teaching surgical procedures or nuclear power plant operation), the program and the conditions influencing the learner could be modified further.

    Contact your tutor if you have any difficulties with this assignment. You may take the final exam before this assignment is graded and returned to you.

The Final Exam

The final exam consists of a variety of question types including short-answer essay questions and multiple-choice questions. The key to success on the exam is learning the answers to the study questions. You will have up to three hours to complete the exam. The exam for Psychology 387 is a closed-book exam, meaning that you may not take any notes, textbooks, or other aids into the examination room. Please write legibly; an exam that is not legible will not be graded. Please be sure that you have satisfactorily completed all seven unit quizzes before you take the final exam. You must receive a grade of 50% or more on the final exam to pass the course. If you fail the final exam, you may study the material again and take a supplemental exam. Athabasca University regulations limit students to no more than one supplemental exam.

Note: With the course professor’s permission, students may opt to have the final exam serve as 92% of their course grade, with the Unit 5 tutor-marked assignment contributing the remaining 8%. This no-quiz option may be permitted, for example, to institutionalized individuals who do not have access to the Internet. To pursue this option, you must obtain permission from the course professor during your first month of enrolment in Psychology 387. Permission will not be given to students after this time.

Students in Psychology 387 will take the final course examination online. One month prior to writing the examination, you must complete and submit an Examination Request Form. If you plan to take the examination at the AU Learning Centre in Calgary, Edmonton, or Athabasca, contact the examination supervisor at the Learning Centre to book a time before submitting your examination request. Be sure to state that you are writing an online examination to ensure that the computer lab will be booked for you. If you are making arrangements with an examination invigilator outside of Calgary, Edmonton, or Athabasca, it is your responsibility to ensure a computer with an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher is available for your use.

When requesting your exam please ensure you have your invigilator’s email address.

Taking Exams

The following hints may help you to write examinations successfully:

  • Complete all scheduled assignments before writing the exam.

  • Remember that the exam is based on all of the material covered in the course. If you understand and can answer all of the study questions and quiz questions, you should not have any difficulty with the exam.

  • Write the exam only when you and your tutor feel you are prepared to do so.

  • Approach the exam with a positive attitude. Express yourself in a clear and concise manner. If you have trouble with an exam, don’t be too discouraged. Feel free to discuss any problems with your tutor.

Please allow four weeks for exam results to be processed and your grade mailed to you before contacting the academic secretary for psychology.

Procedures for Applying for and Writing Exams

Students in individualized-study courses are encouraged to use Athabasca University's online exam request system to process their request to write a course examination. Students may also request an exam by completing the Examination Request Form that is provided in the course package and sending it by fax or postal mail to the Office of the Registrar at Athabasca University.

Students in grouped-study offerings of this course, usually a classroom seminar offering at a specific location, will follow the exam-writing instructions and procedures provided by the instructor.

Read the section on exams in the current Athabasca University Calendar for information on where and when to take exams, and who can invigilate the exam. Please note that exams must be written during the contract period; requests for exams will be processed only within the contract period. Students in Canada and the United States must request examinations a minimum of 15 business days before they plan to write them. Students elsewhere must allow additional time for delivery of examination materials. When requesting your exam, please ensure that you have your invigilator's email address.

Follow the steps outlined below to request your exam for this course.

  1. Review the “Evaluation” section of the current Athabasca University Calendar.

  2. Book a time to write the exam before submitting your examination request if you plan to write your online exam at one of Athabasca University's Examination Centres. Be sure to state that you are writing an online exam. If you are making arrangements with an exam invigilator elsewhere, it is your responsibility to ensure that a computer with an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher is available for your use. If you are using an invigilator who has not been approved by the Office of the Registrar, fill in the appropriate details on the online Examination Request Form. Be aware that invigilators may charge a fee for their services. This fee will be your responsibility.

  3. Complete and submit the online Examination Request Form, providing all information requested. When completing the Exam Information section of this form, you will be asked to select the type of exam: mid-term or final. Please select final exam. The Office of the Registrar is aware that the final exam for this course is an online exam.

    If you do not have access to the Internet, fill out the Examination Request Form from your course materials package and submit it by fax to 780-675-6174; or in person or by postal mail to Examination Services, Office of the Registrar, at Athabasca University's Central Office. To minimize the time required to process your exam request, be sure to write legibly, providing all information requested on the form.

  4. You may wish to try the demonstration exam prior to taking your final exam. The demonstration exam is intended to help you become familiar with the format of the online exam. The demonstration exam is not intended as a study aid to help you learn the content of the final exam.

  5. Confirm that your invigilator has received the online examination files before you arrive to write your exam. You will need to have photo identification and your Athabasca University student ID number with you when you arrive to write your exam.

The exam results and your final grade will normally be sent to you four to six weeks after you write the exam. The examination paper, exam booklets, or answer sheets will not be returned to you.

To receive credit for this course, you must submit all the course assignments and complete them to the satisfaction of your tutor. You must also obtain a grade of 50% or better on the final exam and a course composite grade of at least 50%.

Students who are dissatisfied with their grade on the final exam or who obtain less than the required passing grade, may write a supplemental exam. The passing grade for supplemental exams is 50% and only one supplemental is permitted per examination. The higher of the two grades received will be recorded as the official grade for that exam.

If you are dissatisfied with your exam grade, and wish to make an appeal, please refer to the Athabasca University Calendar for the appropriate guidelines and procedures to follow in pursuing an appeal.

Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct

Students enrolled in an Athabasca University course are considered to be responsible scholars. As such, students are expected to adhere rigorously to principles of intellectual integrity.

Plagiarism is a form of intellectual dishonesty in which another person's work is presented as one's own. Be certain that whenever you use a secondary source in your course work and assignments you reference your source in a consistent and logical manner. All direct quotes (quotations of any number of words from the original) and indirect quotes (paraphrased ideas) must be acknowledged. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and, as with other forms of academic misconduct, will be penalized. Penalties may take the form of rejection of the submitted work; expulsion from the examination, the course, or the program; or legal action, depending on the specific nature of the infraction.

Dutiful citation of quotes and paraphrased materials does not mean you can write an essay assignment by stringing together a series of quotes. You should always try to summarize or describe someone else's ideas in your own words. If you present your own ideas or opinions in a paper, provide evidence or arguments to substantiate your position.

All assignments submitted for this course must be original work. The use of assignments from previous courses or from other students is considered a form of cheating and will be subject to discipline for academic misconduct.

For more information on this important matter, see Athabasca University's page on Intellectual Ownership and Honesty.

Library Services

The Athabasca University Library collection contains more than 140,000 books, numerous periodical titles, and audiovisual resources. The AU Library subscribes to more than 60 online databases, providing full-text access to selected articles from more than 20,000 journals.

The Athabasca University Library's collection primarily supports AU courses and programs. Materials found in the print and electronic collections are available for use by Athabasca University students, faculty, and staff for reference and research purposes.

Requests for library materials or services can be made by e-mail, phone, fax, or postal mail, 24 hours a day. Responses to most requests are handled within 24 hours or by the end of the next business day. Materials on loan to students are normally mailed to the student's home address along with a return-mail card.

Core Services to Students

Athabasca University students who are registered in a course are entitled to the following library privileges:

  • borrow library materials
  • search the Library's online catalogue (AUCAT)
  • access resources through the Library's Web site
  • receive library instruction and research assistance
  • request interlibrary loan (ILL) services for journal articles and book chapters

Digital Resources

Access to online journal databases, the Digital Reference Centre (DRC), and the Digital Reading Room (DRR) is available from Athabasca University Library's main Web page (http://library.athabascau.ca). Tips on searching the journal databases and help with researching, writing, and citing (referencing) is available from the Help Centre (http://library.athabascau.ca/help.php).

Supplementary Materials

University courses often require that students investigate material beyond the content of the course materials package. Some Athabasca University study guides list “Supplementary Materials,” including books, journal articles, or audiovisual materials, which students may find useful when completing assignments and course projects. The supplementary materials referenced in your course materials package are usually available from the Athabasca University Library or your local library. Contact the Athabasca University Library to request materials.

How the Library Gateway Works

The Library Web site (http://library.athabascau.ca) contains the Library's online catalogue (AUCAT). It also serves as the gateway to other online information. The Web site provides links to journal databases and other subscribed online resources, as well as selected publicly accessible Internet sites. Subscribed resources are available to Athabasca University students. You will be required to enter your first and last names as your username, and your student ID number as your password.

The Library Web site also provides access to selected library catalogues from Canadian public and academic libraries.

InterLibrary Loans

An interlibrary loan (ILL) involves one library borrowing materials from another on behalf of a library user. Athabasca University Library will request photocopies of journal articles and book chapters through Interlibrary Loans if you provide the Library staff with a complete bibliographic citation (author, title of article, name of journal, volume and issue number, year of publication, and page numbers) for the requested item. You are not required to return these items to us. Allow sufficient time for the material to be ordered and received. More information on the Interlibrary Loan process is available on the Library Web site at http://aupac.lib.athabascau.ca/screens/ill.html.

Contacts

Athabasca University Library
1 University Drive
Athabasca AB T9S 3A3 Canada

Library Web site: http://library.athabascau.ca
E-mail: library@athabascau.ca

Phone: 1-800-788-9041 (ext. 6254) Canada/United States
780-675-6254 Other
403-263-6465 (ext. 6254) in Calgary
780-421-8700 (ext. 6254) in Edmonton
Fax: 780-675-6477

Services to Students

Athabasca University offers a wide range of services to its students. The Athabasca University Information Centre, at 1-800-788-9041, will be able to help you find the answer to most course-related questions. The Centre is staffed on regular business days from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Students can leave voice mail messages outside these hours, or send email inquiries through the immediate response Website at http://www.askau.ca.

Advisors are available to help students plan their programs and select appropriate courses. You can reach an advisor in several ways: by phoning 1-800-788-9041 and asking to speak with an advisor; by visiting Athabasca University’s Central Office in Athabasca or the Learning Centres in Edmonton or Calgary; or by directing your query to http://www.askau.ca.

At the Learning Centres, students can write examinations, order materials from the Library, and take care of various administrative matters, such as course registration and arrangements for extensions. In addition, information on student awards and financial aid can be obtained from the Learning Centres. If you need assistance in any of these areas, feel free to call a student advisor. Consult the current edition of the Athabasca University Calendar for more information on services to students or direct your query to http://www.askau.ca.

Athabasca University has numerous study-related resources for its students, many created by AU staff, some collected by AU staff from other sources. Counselling Services brings these resources together, so that AU students in all disciplines can benefit from them. See the Counselling Services pages on the AU website.

The Athabasca University Write Site is designed to assist students with formal, essay writing assignments. You can submit an assignment to the Write Site to receive feedback about the writing component— organization, mechanics, grammar, and style—of an essay assignment before you submit it to your tutor for marking. Access the Write Site through the Student Services tab on your myAU Portal.

If you are a student of Indigenous ancestry (Aboriginal, First Nations, Indian, Inuit, Native, Métis) or a non-Indigenous student who is interested in identifying culturally appropriate services designed for Aboriginal students or counselling that is sensitive to the challenges Aboriginal students face, please contact the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research, by telephone at 1-800-788-9041, extension 2064, or by electronic mail at indigenous@athabascau.ca.

Transcript Requests

Official transcripts may be requested by completing a "Transcript Request" form, by writing to the Office of the Registrar, or by appearing at the Office of the Registrar in person. Only the student whose transcript is being issued may make the request, and the request must bear his or her signature. No partial transcripts are issued. The student's entire record (including date admitted, program, transfer credits, course registrations, grades, dates completed, dates withdrawn, failures, and supplemental privileges granted) is shown on each transcript.

Most institutions and agencies require that official transcripts be sent directly from Athabasca University. Please allow a minimum of ten working days for the receipt of a transcript. Please consult the current edition of the Athabasca University Calendar for further information on obtaining a transcript.




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