I would like to respond to the very interesting article by Tamra Ross Low “What I’ve Learned About AU Students” and perhaps provide some helpful advice for all AU students. The Information Centre was established to provide a first point of contact for prospective and continuing students. We have a staff of sixteen full-time, part-time and casual Information Attendants who answer a wide range of questions through our toll free number 1-800-788-9041. Attendants undergo a rigorous 2-month training period and provide general information. Students requiring more detailed or specific information are transferred to the appropriate department. Most concerns can be resolved by an Attendant. The Information Centre receives an average of 8,500 calls per month.
Another means of communication for students is to access our instant response e-mail system at AskAu (http://www.askau.ca). It is designed to respond immediately to individual questions. We have a bank of over 150 responses covering a wide range of areas from how to become a student and register in a course, transfer credit information, exam bookings and invigilation, contact information for various departments, and a host of other information to ensure students are given the assistance they need. Students may also e-mail the Information Centre directly through AskAu if they require more specific information, or their question has not been fully answered. During the month of August ’02, over 7,000 students got an instant response through AskAu. We invite all new and continuing students to visit this site.
Another function of the Information Centre is to process Calendar and other publication requests. Requests are generally processed within 2 business days, and are sent out by Canada Post 3rd Class Mail.
Tamra mentions that AU is very fast and effective at dealing with individual concerns, but that they often do not work to solve the underlying problems that tend to repeat with other students. The Information Centre provides a monthly Caller Concern report, which tracks individual and group concerns, and will highlight patterns of repeated problem areas. Students are encouraged to contact the Information Centre with their concerns, and these concerns will be documented if the student wishes, and then forwarded to appropriate departments for resolution.
The Information Centre is committed to providing professional, superior customer service for all our students. We accept calls from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST and are here to assist you and make your educational experience with AU a positive one.
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-788-9041, ext. 3413.