Frequently Asked Questions

I have never taken an online course - What should I expect?

  1. Prior to the start date of your course, you need to ensure that you have activated your Western Identity through Western's Identity Manager at as you will need a Western user ID and password to log into your course. Instructions were sent to you in a confirmation email when you registered for the course. If you did not receive this email, email us at
  2. All Western AQ online courses are offered in the Western Learning Management System - OWL (powered by Sakai). Click here to log into OWL.
  3. Ensure that you are using an UP TO DATE browser (Firefox, Internet Edge, Chrome or Safari). Note that some aspects of the courses work better in Chrome or Firefox.
  4. Log into OWL on the course start date. Your course will appear as a tab across the top with the course code on it. Click on the tab to enter your course area. The page you land on will be your HOME screen. A Welcome Video is available on the home screen to provide you with an overview of the course. Click on the links to the left to explore and become familiar with the course set-up. Here are examples of these links:
    • HOME: The home page of your course will have a welcome message from your instructor and some introductory information about your course.
    • COURSE CONTENT: Review the course content to become familiar with the learning that will be covered in the course, assignments, readings and course expectations.
    • SYLLABUS: Printable document outlining expectations of course.
    • DISCUSSION: Links you to the discussion forum where you will be spending the majority of your time in the course. Your instructor will have posted a welcome message and will ask that each member of the class introduce themselves. This is where you will be interacting with your instructor and your classmates in the online forum, responding to the Instructor's questions and commenting on your colleagues’ responses. You will also be participating in Collaborative Inquiry in the Discussion area.
    • ASSIGNMENTS: This is where you will submit your assignments.
    • MESSAGES: You can email your instructor or classmates privately.

TIME COMMITMENT: Each course consists of 125 hours, as required by the Ontario College of Teachers. This time allotment includes ongoing and active participation in the online discussion area, participation in Collaborative Inquiry, and the completion of readings and assignments.

  • The expectation is that you are online participating in the course regularly and consistently. For a 10 week online course in the Fall or Winter, this translates to approximately 12.5-15 hours per week for Collaborative Inquiry, discussion, readings and assignments. During the more condensed Intersession expect to spend approximately 21-25 hours per week on your course. During the 4 week Summer session the time commitment is approximately 35-40 hours per week.
  • While one of the benefits of online learning is the flexibility it provides for you as a participant, the time commitment remains. Discussion is a key aspect of all our online courses. As such, your hours of online access should be spread out throughout each module and throughout the duration of the course. Absence from the online discussions cannot be "made up"; therefore, consistent and regular participation is required. The discussion is not "live" so you can be online at any time of the day or night.

For further information see Getting Started on our website's side bar or view the Video on our website.

Good luck and if you have questions or concerns, email or use the Messages tool in your course to ask the instructor.

What is "Collaborative Inquiry"?

All courses include a Collaborative Inquiry Component. Participating in Collaborative Inquiry with your colleagues is an opportunity for you to pursue an area of inquiry that meets your own personal interests and professional development needs, as they link to course readings, content and related teaching and learning experiences in the subject area and/or at the grade level of your Additional Qualifications (AQ) course.

Within the course, teachers work together in small groups, with guidance from the instructor, around difficult cases/issues or topics from their classroom practice, and engage in professional dialogue with others in the field in ways that inform and extend the understanding of all involved. Within your CI group, you may;

  • Raise questions that are 'nagging' you;
  • Seek clarification of issues;
  • Debate the advantages or disadvantages of various strategies, approaches, practices;
  • Analyse the degree of success that a particular teaching strategy or approach has had for you;
  • Decide on next steps for instructional strategies to ensure student learning after considering alternative options;
  • Decide on what needs to be done for a student.

Why are some Course Discussions combined?

Some of our AQ courses are offered in a combined format, where Part 1, Part 2 and Specialist candidates, or Senior and Honour Specialist candidates may be combined together. Within a combined format, participants work towards the achievement of their course-specific expectations. When common "big ideas" or skills are involved, all participants in the courses may work together, such as during the Collaborative Inquiry Project. At other times, discussion may be specific to each individual course. Assessment, evaluation, and reporting are course-specific.
There are benefits for participants, both socially and academically. Reviews of research that were conducted in Canada by Naylor (2000) and by Manitoba Education (2003) show that classes of a combined nature can provide participants with increased opportunities for social and emotional growth. Participants have been shown to:

  • develop more positive peer interactions;
  • do more collaborative and independent learning;
  • display greater feelings of comfort and security, and a positive self-concept;
  • show higher satisfaction with achievements;
  • have more opportunities for leadership within a community of learners;

What is my Western Identity?

To obtain your secure login for the online course in OWL, you need to activate your Western Identity. Your Western Identity is your key to central services, including courses, at Western and consists of a User ID and Password. Your User ID is a unique name that identifies you as a member of the Western community. The User ID cannot be changed.

Instructions on activating your Western Identity are provided in the "After Registration" tab under Resources.  The instructions are also sent to you in a Welcome email approximately one week prior to the course start.  If you do not see the Welcome email in your inbox, check junk/spam folders and add to your email contact list.

IMPORTANT: Your user ID and password are secure and should be kept safe as the ASPirE Office cannot provide them to you should they be misplaced.  You will use the same user ID and password to log into future courses at Western, as well as other secured Western sites to view final grades, order transcripts, and access tax receipts.

Your Western Identity activates for use in 48 hours for new students to Western, and in 1-3 hours if you are a returning student re-setting your Identity. For a video tutorial on account activation go to this link: Western Identity Manager.

Please note that the Western Identity login is different from the login you use for the AQ Registration Portal where you register for courses and view the status of required documentation.   

How do I get a pre-assessment for admission to an AQ course?

Courses in Business Studies, French as a Second Language, Technological Studies, Honour Specialist, and Intermediate and Senior ABQ require prior university courses in the subject area for admission.

Important Note: Students who are required to withdraw from a course due to ineligibility receive refunds as per the university refund schedule, also subject to the non-refundable deposit.

If unsure of your eligibility for an AQ course, we strongly recommend that you have your qualifications assessed prior to registering for a course with Western. Email a copy of your transcripts to and include a note indicating the course you are interested in, your OCT membership number and a return email address. We will respond by email with the evaluation results.

Pre-evaluation requests for AQ courses are processed in the order they are received.  Priority is given to assessments for the current session.  Requests must be received by the ASPirE Program office no later than 10 days prior to the registration deadline for the session.  Please allow 5-7 business days for processing.  We cannot guarantee a response for requests received within 10 days of the registration deadline.  Note that registration acceptance is also contingent on space availability in the course.

Official transcripts: If you are approved to take the course, we will require an official transcript sent directly from the issuing institution. Most institutions are able to send official transcripts by email, or you may use an official transcript service such as MyCreds at  It is strongly recommended that your university use email or other digital means to send it to our office at to ensure its timely receipt and avoid loss/delays by regular mail.  If they are unable to email it, a sealed copy may be mailed by the institution to the ASPirE Office address found in the Contact Us menu in the top right hand side of this web site.

What is a combined Honour Specialist?

A combined Honour Specialist is the completion of TWO Honour Specialist AQ (you must register and pay for both courses) and has different admission prerequisites than a single Honour Specialist. The courses can be taken concurrently or during different sessions, but we cannot send a report to the Ontario College of Teachers for either specialist until both courses have been successfully completed. For admission requirements for a combined Honour Specialist, please see our Admission Requirements page.

Who is my supervisory officer and how is teaching experience determined?

For teachers employed by a board of education, a supervisory officer is the superintendent or assistant superintendent of the board. A principal is not deemed to be a supervisory officer. For teachers employed by a private school, the official appointed by the Ministry of Education to provide supervisory services for the school is deemed to be the supervisory officer.

One school year of teaching experience is equivalent to 194 teaching days if you are a supply teacher. The supervisory officer must certify your experience by completing and signing the Teaching Experience Form.  The signing officer must email the signed form directly to, or if they send the form to you, you must forward their email including the form and their contact information to 

What if I need medical accommodations in the course?

If medical accommodations are required, please visit this page: Medical Accommodation to review the policy and procedures. The Student Medical Certificate must be completed by your medical practitioner and sent to the ASPirE office. They can email the completed certificate to Our office will review the documentation and work with you and the course instructor to facilitate the appropriate accommodations.

How do I withdraw from an online AQ course?

If you wish to withdraw from a course, submit your request online:  Log into the AQ Registration Portal and select "My Courses".  For the course you wish to drop, click on its CC-xxx link under Course Connection ID.  Under Course Actions, select Request to Drop the Course and follow the steps. 

Note that non-participation in the course does not presume formal withdrawal.

Withdrawals prior to the course start date, including those for medical reasons or ineligibility, result in a refund of the course fee less the $100 processing fee.  They are processed in approximately 10 business days.  After the start date, refunds are issued in accordance with the university refund schedule.  The $100 processing fee applies to all refund amounts.  Note: The university refund schedules for AQ courses are occasionally updated.  Please ensure to check the schedules when considering a withdrawal .

After the last refund date stated on the university refund schedule, withdrawal constitutes a failing grade and no refund of tuition.

Can I switch my course to another session?

Requests to defer a course to the following session must be received prior to the commencement date of the course, and is contingent on its space availability in the other session.  Students may defer only from Spring to Summer, OR from Fall to Winter sessions; however, not from Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter.  

If you wish to defer to another session or transfer to another course in the same session, submit your request online:  Log into the AQ Registration Portal, and select "My Courses".  For the course you wish to drop, click on its CC-xxx link under Course Connection ID.  Under Course Actions, select Request Transfer and follow the steps.  Your eligibility for the requested course must be verified by our office prior to the transfer request being approved. 

How do I get a payment receipt or tax receipt for my online course?

A payment receipt is emailed to the course candidate upon registration for the AQ course.

If you need to access another copy of the receipt, please log into the AQ Registration Portal.

You can also print both a Statement of Account and a Web Academic Report from the Registrar's website: Log into Student Center and under Finances, click on 'Detailed Statement of Account'.

- The detailed statement of account will provide you with your account information including tuition due dates, charges, payments, bursaries and current balance. In the upper right hand corner you can also click on the printer friendly link to generate a HTML printout of your tuition statement should you require a paper copy.

- To access the Web Academic Report which will list the course name(s), go to the Student Centre and under Academics > Documentation, select 'Web Academic Report'. Then select it as the 'Report Type' (it will be the only option) and click 'View Report'. It takes approximately one minute for the report to run.

If you have questions or require assistance, please email or call the Helpline at 519-661-2100.

Tax receipts will be available the following February on the last business day of the month. Log into the Student Centre at that time to access and print the official T2202A receipt.  

Please Note: Our Certificate courses are considered non-degree credit and therefore do not qualify as an education tax credit by Revenue Canada and a T2202A (Tuition and Education Amounts Certificate) will not be issued. You may be able to claim course fees on your federal income tax, line 320 on schedule 11 (see line 323 of the guide) using your registration receipt. For more information, please visit  Canada Revenue Agency or consult a tax professional.

Do I need a French Proficiency test and what are the test dates?

Admission to the French as a Second Language Part 1 course requires completion of 5.0 full-year university degree-credit courses in French OR 1 year of university completed with French as the language of instruction OR successful completion of Western’s AQ French proficiency test.  The test may also be required for admission to Intermediate Division or Senior Division French as a Second Language under certain circumstances.  Ensure to review the admission prerequisites for these qualifications prior to registration.

Next Test Date:  Winter - Saturday, Jan.13, 2024.  Spring- Saturday, April 6.

*French Test results are valid for 1 year from the date of the test for Additional Qualifications enrollment purposes.  The candidate must enroll in the French AQ/ABQ course within the 1-year time period.  If enrolling in the Additional Qualification after 1 year from the test date, the candidate must retake the French proficiency test.

Testing Arrangements: Review the admission prereqisites for the French AQ/ABQ course on the course registration pages.  For questions regarding the prerequisites, our office can provide you with additional information regarding eligibility for admission.  Should you register for a French AQ prior to the release of your French test results, and are unsuccessful in the test, a refund of the AQ course fee less the non-refundable deposit will be issued.  To register for the test, email for instructions.

Test Fee: $100.00 non-refundable (payable online by credit card). You must register and pay online a minimum of ten days prior to the test date.

Proctored Testing: All components of the test are proctored online by Western University and will be administered via Zoom. You must have access to a microphone and camera on the day of the test.

What about Final Grades and OCT Reporting?

Final grades will be available approximately four weeks after the course once the official adjudication process is complete, and can be viewed by logging into the Student Centre with your Western user ID and password. At that time, the ASPirE office will send your course report to the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) for certification. Once processed by the OCT, the qualification will be added to your Ontario teaching certificate.

How do I get a transcript for my course?

Western transcripts are ordered through the Registrar's Office. Under Student Records, click on Transcripts. They can be ordered by fax or online. To order it online, you will need your Western Identity user ID and password. ENSURE to check that your grade is available first as the Transcripts office will not hold for grades. It is up to the candidate to report course completion to QECO, OSSTF or institutions other than the OCT.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Student Central.

How do I change my name and contact information?

Keeping your contact details up to date ensures that you receive important correspondence regarding your course and required documentation for your admission.  To update your information such as name, address, email and phone number in your registration profile, log into the AQ Registration Portal.  

IMPORTANT: Updating your registration profile does not change the contact information in your official Western Account which also requires separate updating.  Your Western Account is your official record and the basis of all correspondence from Western including final grades, transcripts and tax receipts.  Certain updates such as name changes may require official documentation to be submitted to the University.  Please visit this webpage for instructions:

Updating your official Western Account [in addition to your AQ Registration Portal profile] ensures that your courses, transcripts, and AQ recommendations to the Ontario College of Teachers reflect your current information.



Accommodation for Medical Illness

The University recognizes that a student's ability to meet his/her academic responsibilities may, on occasion, be impaired by medical illness. Illness may be acute (short term), or it may be chronic (long term), or chronic with acute episodes. The University further recognizes that medical situations are deeply personal and respects the need for privacy and confidentiality in these matters. However, in order to ensure fairness and consistency for all students, academic accommodation for work representing 10% or more of the student's overall grade in the course shall be granted only in those cases where there is documentation indicating that the student was seriously affected by illness and could not reasonably be expected to meet his/her academic responsibilities.

Student requests for accommodations due to medical illness that deals with work that is more than 10% of the total course grade should be submitted directly to the Accessible Education (formally SSD) Office soon as possible. Accommodation recommendations will be sent directly to ASPirE from the Accessible Education Office.

Student requests for accommodations due to medical illness that deals with work that is less than 10% of the total course grade should be submitted directly to the course instructor as soon as possible. The course instructor will consider the circumstances of the request and negotiate an assignment extension with the student. Medical documentation is not necessary for a first request and as long as the extension does not exceed the course end date. Please note: discussion participation in a course is a requirement for OCT accreditation and instructors are not able to provide a waiver of attendance requirements.

If you require a second request for accommodation due to medical illness that deals with work that is less than 10%, documentation shall be submitted, as soon as possible, to the appropriate representative of the Dean's office (the Office of the Dean of the student's Faculty of registration/home Faculty) together with a request for relief specifying the nature of the accommodation being requested. These documents will be retained in the student's file, and will be held in confidence in accordance with the University's Official Student Record Information Privacy Policy at:

Once the petition and supporting documents have been received and assessed, appropriate academic accommodation for work that is less than 10% of the total course grade shall be determined by the Dean's Office in consultation with the student's instructor(s). Academic accommodation may include extension of deadlines, waiver of attendance requirements for classes/labs/tutorials, arranging Special Exams or Incompletes, re-weighting course requirements, or granting late withdrawals without academic penalty.

Academic accommodation for course work that totals less than 10% of the course work, shall be granted only where the documentation indicates that the onset, duration and severity of the illness are such that the student could not reasonably be expected to complete his/her academic responsibilities. (Note - it will not be sufficient to provide documentation indicating simply that the student "was seen for a medical reason" or "was ill.") Whenever possible, students who require academic accommodation should provide notification and documentation in advance of due dates, examinations, etc. Students must follow up with their instructors and their Academic Counselling office (ASPirE Office) in a timely manner.

Documentation from Family Physicians and Walk-In Clinics - A UWO Student Medical Certificate (SMC) is required where a student is seeking academic accommodation. This documentation should be obtained at the time of the initial consultation with the physician or walk-in clinic. An SMC can be downloaded at: website to be determined. Hard copies are available from Academic Counselling in the Faculties.

Documentation from Student Health Services - Students obtaining documentation from Student Health Services should sign a "release of information." This form authorizes Student Health Services to provide information to the student's home Faculty. Release of information forms are available from, and can be arranged through, the student's home Faculty Academic Counselling service. Academic Handbook, Appeals, Medical Accommodations Page 2 Issued: 2008 05

Documentation from Hospital Urgent Care Centres or Emergency Departments - Students should request that an SMC be filled out. Students may bring this form with them, or request alternative Emergency Department documentation. Documentation should be secured at the time of the initial visit to the Emergency Department. Where it is not possible for a student to have an SMC completed by the attending physician, the student must request documentation sufficient to demonstrate that his/her ability to meet his/her academic responsibilities was seriously affected.

Accommodation for Students with Disablities

Should you require classroom assistance (interpreters or assistive devices) related to special needs such as hearing or visual impairment, please contact the Accessible Education office at as early as possible. Arrangements for interpreters, in particular, need to be made well in advance. Accessible Education (formerly Services for Students with Disabilities -SSD) assists students who have ongoing conditions or challenges that may include: chronic illnesses, chronic pain, vision, hearing or mobility impairments. To discuss possible arrangements, the University can make in order to accommodate your needs, please set up a meeting with a counsellor.

Accessibility at Western

Western is committed to achieving barrier free accessibility for persons with disabilities studying, visiting and working at Western. As part of this commitment, there are a variety of services, groups and committees on campus devoted to promoting accessibility and to ensuring that individuals have equitable access to services and facilities. To help provide the best experience to all members of the campus community (students, staff, faculty and visitors), this website offers information on accessibility-related resources available at Western: