Critical Course Deadlines

One assumption some online students make is that all ELI courses are self-paced. To that end, they may put off getting started and learn that their instructor has withdrawn them for not meeting course deadlines. Don’t let this happen to you!DeadlineIt is very important to understand that most ELI courses have weekly or even mid-weekly due dates. There are critical enrollment dates, that include your First Assignment Due Date – requiring you to log into your Blackboard course site and complete your First Assignment by the assigned due date. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in being dropped from the course without a tuition refund. Summer courses may be 12 weeks, 8 weeks, 6 weeks, or 4 weeks in length; each course has specific start, refund, first assignment due date, withdrawal, and end date that you should be aware of when you select a particular course. View the fall 2015 critical enrollment dates early and know your options.

In addition to logging in and completing your first assignments (as referenced in your Quick Start Syllabus and Blackboard Course Site), ELI courses also have regular weekly assignment deadlines.

When taking an ELI course, it is important to understand that assignment due dates as well as test and quiz due dates come quickly. Due dates are firm and in some ELI courses, assignments and tests/quizzes are sometimes removed after the due date.

To be successful in your course:

Read through your course syllabus on the first day of class. Understand all the deadlines that apply to your course and record them in your planner.

Establish a Routine – Visit your Blackboard Course Site daily and read all of your emails and announcements.

Make Note of your Course Deadlines, and turn your assignments in on time.

If possible, take your test prior to the testing deadline—you never know what might come up at the last minute!

To ensure that you understand the ELI course deadlines, know your course specific critical course deadlines and review the important dates to include refund date, first assignment due date and last day to withdraw with a grade of ‘W’.

Make sure to watch out from emails from the Student Success Coaches – elisuccess@nvcc.edu – that will give you reminders of specific upcoming dates and helpful tips for success throughout the term.

10 Tips to Get You Started!

Below are some tips to help you get started in your ELI classes today! 484765389Be sure to check your Blackboard course site on a regular basis throughout the semester to make sure you don’t miss any course specific deadlines. Check each folder and read announcements from your instructors.

It is important to be aware of Critical Course Deadlines for your courses. In addition, you also want to be aware of course specific deadlines. Get started immediately so you don’t miss any deadlines.

ELI Student Life offers various in-person and virtual events throughout the semester to help connect you to peers, faculty and staff. Join us!

Take advantage of NOVA’s Library Services from your home computer. You can access resources and references from the Library database with your VCCS username and password.

Do you have any general ELI questions? Live Chat (bottom right)  or ELI Hotline – 703.323.3347 is a great option to ask general questions, but remember your instructors are available if you have course specific questions.

Proctor U is an online proctoring service available for some ELI courses. This service is available for some ELI courses and gives you the opportunity to take your exams from your home computer using a web cam, microphone and speakers.

Try using Smarthinking for 24/7 online tutoring.

Checking your Student E-Mail Account is important throughout the semester. You will get updates and announcements from your instructor as well as from ELI. Get in the habit of checking this e-mail.

24/7 Tech Support is available from NOVA by calling 703.764.5051.

ELI offers several webinars throughout the semester to help you succeed. Check out live sessions or request a copy of a recording.

and one more … #11 Financial Aid assistance is available 24/7 by calling 1-855-323-3199 or at the Student Support Center.

Not your first ELI course? What tips would you share with a new student?

Get Involved with Student Life @ NOVA!

Whether you are taking classes’ on-campus, online or a little bit of both, we encourage you to stay engaged during your educational experience at NOVA! This is where Student Life comes in!

What is Student Life?

The Office of Student Life at NOVA assists students in building community and your connection with the college outside of the classroom. This is done by facilitating virtual and in-person extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities that support focus areas such as:

  • Academic Success
  • Health/Wellness
  • Civic Engagement
  • Diversity/ Inclusion
  • Leadership Development

How to we achieve this goal?

Each NOVA campus (and ELI) has a Student Life office that organizes engagement opportunities for students.  This staff can be reached at any time to help advise you get involved at NOVA based on your educational and personal interests .

Watch this short video to learn more about how to get involved, the NOVA way!

How can I stay updated about Student Life events at the college?

  1. NOVA Student Life has a college-wide events calendar that you can access at anytime to learn more about upcoming events. You can also access ELI’s events calendar for virtual student engagement opportunities

2) Get connected with our Virtual Student Union.  This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students.

3) Social Media: ELI Student Life is on social media! Follow NOVAELIfe on Facebook and Twitter to gain some great student success tips as an online student and engage in fun activities.

Follow this ELIfe blog each week to learn more about more specific ways to get involved in Student Life while taking online classes with ELI! contact elistulife@nvcc.edu for questions or more information.

First Day of Class Reminders

Happy First Day of Classes, ELI Students!

Today’s first day blog is provided by student blogger Rebecca! She has been taking ELI classes for two semesters and has some tips to help new ELI students get started in fall classes.

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m scrambling to finish a paper by the 5pm deadline. I am just about to submit my paper at 4:55pm but I decide to proofread it one more time. By the time I finish it is a couple minutes after 5pm. Okay, I’ll go submit it now. It’s only two minutes, right? WRONG! As I click on the assignment I am startled to discover that the submission page has disappeared off of blackboard!

Yes, this did actually happened to me last semester. Luckily I emailed the professor and was able to turn in my assignment, although I did lose a lot of points. Don’t let this happen to you!

Online classes are great because they let you have flexibility in your schedule. However without a physical class everyday to remind you what is due, it’s easy to get behind if you don’t pace yourself. My #1 tip for students new to online classes is keep track of your course deadlines and your professor’s policy on deadlines.

Here are five things to look for on your syllabus:

  1. What day of the week and time are assignments due? The day and time of deadlines may vary for different courses. In my experience most classes have Sunday deadlines but the times may vary. For example, last semester one of my courses had a Sunday 5pm deadline, another had a Sunday 11:59pm deadline and another had a Monday 6am deadline. It’s helpful to write deadlines on a calendar (especially if you are taking multiple courses, so you don’t get caught off guard by a busy week)
  2. Are there any midweek deadlines? Once in a while there may be a group project or discussion board posting with a midweek deadline, leaving time later in the week for comments.
  3. Are there strict deadlines? Some professors have strict weekly deadlines while others will accept all work right up until the course end date.
  4. Do exams have to be taken during a certain window? Are exams only available for a limited time? Can you take them early or late?
  5. Does your instructor accept late work? Some instructors will let you turn in work a day or two late if you email them and explain the situation. Other instructors will accept late work but take points off. Others are very strict about deadlines and will not accept work even a minute late.

We’ve all been there: You have a busy week and struggle to find the time. You have last minute computer problems. These things can and will happen. Avoid a stressful situation by learning about your Critical Course Deadlines, course specific deadlines, and professor’s late and grading policy before you are too overwhelmed!

Preparing for your first day

As you are preparing for your fall courses, it is important to keep in mind the importance of attendance and participation. Be mindful of Critical Course Deadlines and course specific deadlines so you don’t miss any assignments and fall behind in your course work.   null

Instructors make courses available in blackboard the first day the course is scheduled to begin, or sometimes a few days in advance. If your course begins on Monday, August 24, you may not see your course in Blackboard until that day. If you are scheduled for a later starting ELI course (Sept 14, 28 or October 19) you may not see your course until closer to that start date.

As soon as your class begins, log into Blackboard and explore your virtual classroom. Use this opportunity to locate and review the course syllabus and assignments folder. This will give you a chance to see what you will be responsible for throughout the term. In addition, this will also allow you sufficient time to plan your time appropriately, making certain you will be able to complete your readings, assignments, projects and tests in time for their specified due dates. It is crucial to ensure you have completed and submitted your first assignment prior to the First Assignment Due Date to avoid being administratively withdrawn from your course. 

Logging into Blackboard as soon as the course begins will also give you the opportunity to identify any unexpected issues and provide ample time to ask any questions you might have.

If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, you can contact the ELI Student Success Coaching Team at 703-764-5076 or elisuccess@nvcc.edu or Student Services Team at 703-323-3347. We are more than happy to answer your questions, as well as refer you to useful resources and services that will support your online learning experience.

Motivational Minute: Maintaining Peace Amongst Chaos

inner peace comic

We all have had those times when we go into an interaction with someone feeling positive but walk away from it feeling disturbed, bothered, frustrated, angry, drained (and many more unpleasant adjectives). Sometimes we need to remind ourselves not to let other people’s negativity rub off on us. Think about the ocean and its properties for a moment (stay with me here). The ocean maintains calm and stillness below the surface even if there is a hurricane above. The deeper within the ocean you go, the calmer the waters. We should try to embody those same properties within ourselves and exercise the ability to maintain inner peace regardless of external circumstance. Whenever there is dis-ease (that’s probably not really a word but you catch my drift) around you, connect with the stillness within and find it by retreating and exploring the depths inside yourself.  The peace you need to weather the storms of relentless instructors (whyyy), classmates that don’t pull their weight in group assignments (ggrrrr), and Blackboard malfunctions (aahhh) is just below your surface, just dive deeper and tap into it! Namaste!

Download the Omvana meditation app (it’s free for iPhones and iPads) and try Being the Ocean (it’s only .99!)

–Jennifer, ELI Student Success Coach

This Week at ELI!

Instructors make courses available in Blackboard on the course start date, or sometimes a few days in advance. If your course is not available in blackboard, double check your course enrolling in NOVA Connect and check back closer to your course start date! While you wait, check out the Reviewing your Online Course Syllabus Recording.

Open registration for fall classes is open. First start date classes begin on Monday, August 24. Check the schedule of classes in NOVA Connect and follow this tutorial to help you search for online classes through ELI. Make sure you change the date to reflect the term you are looking to register for (fall ’15).

Tuition DeadlineBe sure to have a method of payment in place to meet the fall 2015 payment deadline when you register for your classes. At this point, after you register for your classes, tuition is due the following business day at 5pm to hold your seat.

Using Financial Aid for Textbooks – Want to use financial aid money for your required course materials? Get all the details and complete the the Bookstore Authorization E-Form, via the Financial Aid Dashboard.

ELI Orientation Webinar – Join us Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday for a general ELI overview. This one hour webinar focuses on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services. The ELI Orientation is highly recommended for students who are new to online learning and already registered for classes. Dates and Registration Details.

Tuesday, August 13 from 6:00-7:00 pm OR Saturday, August 22 from 1pm – 2pm – Participate in a New Student Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar is required for new-to-college students aged 17-24. New Student Orientation will focus on academic and career goals, reading degree plans, and registering for classes. All are welcome.

Did you know you have a personal Success Coach available to help you succeed in your courses. If you have any questions or concerns during your course, please email your name and student ID to elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Have a great week!

Motivational Minute: Finding your Passion

Having passion for what you are pursuing gears you up to tackle all the tasks you have to complete on your way to reaching your ultimate goal. Whether it be writing papers, studying for exams, or reading chapters, you have to feel like there is a purpose behind it all to keep you moving forward. Not everyone can readily identify what excites them, however, and some may find it difficult to pinpoint an area of study that moves them. If this sounds like you, take the following things into consideration to help you find your passion:

It’s important to evaluate your reasons for pursuing the major you are pursuing. Make sure you are signing on to this program for the right reasons. To explore your motivation, ask yourself these questions: Does this interest me? What draws me to this field? Would I be happy pursuing something else?

Explore your interests and be honest about your skills. What if you are interested in a field but you may lack the strength in the primary subjects needed to be successful in that area? For example, you want to study Engineering but you have never been particularly strong in Math and Science. Don’t give up on the vision you have for yourself completely, instead, look for ways to improve the skills that are integral to your success in that area, i.e. taking extra classes, attending online workshops, etc. If your skill set is not conducive to the dream job you want, see what other capacities you can serve in in  that field that would be just as, if not more, fulfilling. Don’t give up just because the route to your goal is not as direct or clear-cut as you want it to be.

Reach out to ELI Counselors for guidance! If you are completely lost and unsure of where to start to pinpoint your area of study, to discover your interests, to select a career path, etc. our ELI Counselors are here to help you figure everything out. You can reach any one of our counselors at elicounselors@nvcc.edu.

Connecting to your purpose makes the path to success that much smoother. Tune into what motivates you and let it give you hope in the face of doubt (everyone needs the strength of hope to make it through exams!). And never hesitate to reach out for guidance whenever you need it. Namaste.

Check out the FOCUS 2, an online, interactive education and career education tool, to explore careers and majors!

-Jennifer, ELI Student Success Coach

This Week at ELI!

Where has this summer gone?! How is it already August! Open registration for fall classes is currently underway. First start date classes begin on Monday, August 24. Check the schedule of classes in NOVA Connect and follow this tutorial to help you search for online classes through ELI. Make sure you change the date to reflect the term you are looking to register for (fall ’15).Monday

Tuition DeadlineBe sure to have a method of payment in place to meet the fall 2015 payment deadline when you register for your classes. At this point, after you register for your classes, tuition is due the following business day at 5pm to hold your seat.

Using Financial Aid for Textbooks – Want to use financial aid money for your required course materials? Get all the details and complete the the Bookstore Authorization E-Form, via the Financial Aid Dashboard.

ELI Orientation Webinar – Join us Wednesday, August 12, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm for a general overview. This one hour webinar focuses on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services. The ELI Orientation is highly recommended for students who are new to online learning and already registered for classes.

Thursday, August 13 from 6:00-7:00 pm – Participate in a New Student Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar is required for new-to-college students aged 17-24. New Student Orientation will focus on academic and career goals, reading degree plans, and registering for classes. All are welcome.

Enrolled in a MTT course this fall? Do you need a few units of math to place into the required math course(s) for your major? Review the Understanding your MTT course webinar hosted by ELI Success Coaches. Have any questions? Contact your Success Coach at elisuccess@nvcc.edu.

Have a great week!

How to Get your Official Transcript

The semester is wrapping up and grades will be posting soon. If you are in need of an official transcript, verify your final grades have posted to your student record before finalizing your request.  When your grades have posted, you can request an official transcript.  Have the address where you would like the transcript sent on hand as it will be required when you are completing the request.

Transcripts are available at no cost to students and requests are processed every 24 hours.

Things to remember about transcripts:

  • Official transcripts are released only after you have completed at least one course at NOVA.
  • If you have any monetary holds on your record, no transcript will be mailed. Check your unofficial transcript and holds online through the Student Center in NOVAConnect.
  • All transcripts are official, and those addressed to students are stamped ISSUED TO STUDENT and sealed in an envelope. DO NOT OPEN YOUR TRANSCRIPT if you plan to send the transcript to a college or organization. An opened transcript will be considered unofficial by most colleges and organizations.
  • If you submitted unofficial transcripts to have a prerequisite waived, those transcripts were not retained. If you would like an official transcript evaluation to see if you have credits that can be applied to your record at NOVA you will need to complete an electronic Official Transcript Evaluation request.
  • You may consider requesting an official transcript to keep unopened for your own records.

If you have questions about the status of an official transcript request, please contact NOVA’s Central Records Office at askthecro@nvcc.edu. Please send the email from your NOVA student email and your student identification number.

-Laura, ELI Student Success Coach