Getting Started at AU

You’ve enrolled in your first AU course and you’re looking forward to getting started. The start date is coming up soon and you’re not sure what to expect. Even if you’ve taken university courses before, AU is different from anything else out there.

Like many students, you’ll figure out what you need to know as you go along. To save you some fumbling though, here are a few tidbits of information to get you started.

Computer is key. Since AU’s course delivery is primarily online, students are dependent on technology. Check whether your computer is up to the task by referring to the IT Help Desk’s Student Computer Requirements. If your course uses an e-text, check out the E-text Technical Requirements, too. Bookmark the System Status link —this is the webpage that will inform you about system outages and maintenance.

Pre-course warm-up. Even without showing up at a campus, you can perform your own orientation day. Check out the Undergraduate Student Orientation to get an idea of what to expect from AU. Log into your student account through the myAU portal and have a look around. If this is your first time using myAU, check the myAU Help page for an overview. If you anticipate needing research materials from the AU Library during your studies, check out the AU Library Orientation Video Series.

Get a jump on your studies. In most cases, you don’t need to wait until the first of the month to begin your studies. Within days of enrolling in your course, you can login to your student account through myAU, click on your course, and start as soon as you want. You’re not permitted to submit assignments or contact your tutor before the course start date, but you can begin coursework.

Be social. Online studies can feel isolating. Even with tens of thousands of other AU students, it can often feel like you’re alone. You’re not. There are many students taking the same course or program as you. Hanging out with other AU students on social media gives you daily opportunities to swap ideas, find information you’re seeking, and stay motivated. The heaviest action is on the informal AthaU Facebook page. Check out the Connect with AU page for more social media channels.

Stay informed. It can be a challenge to find out what’s going on at AU. Just because you’re at a distance from campus, though, doesn’t mean you have to be in the dark. In addition to following AU’s official Facebook and Twitter feeds, sign up for AU’s e-mail newsletter. Watch for AUSU’s monthly newsletter, which is e-mailed to all students enrolled in undergraduate courses, for valuable information about AU, AUSU, and student services. And, of course, check out The Voice Magazine every week for news, views, events, and entertainment (subscribe to The Voice’s e-mail reminder so you won’t miss an issue.)

September is the traditional start to the school year. Even though AU students are following a non-traditional path, many students do begin their studies September 1. If you’re new to AU, you’re joining a special world-wide community of students just like you.

Welcome to AU, and enjoy the journey!

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario.

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