This week at ELI!

Happy Monday! Who was hoping for a little extra snow this morning!?

Is today the first day of your ELI course? Review the Critical Enrollment Dates blog post to make sure you get off to a great start. Join us for today’s ELI Orientation webinar or request a recording!

Join our Virtual Student Union– ELI’s VSU has a new look! Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the fall semester. Join now!

Engage in your Community! Did you miss our Community Involvement Fair? Check out our community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available: Community Volunteer Booklet. Email us at elistulife@nvcc.edu and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!

Financial Avenue – Financial Literacy Contest – Twenty $100 NOVA bookstore gift cards towards educational costs at NOVA will be given-away throughout the 2016‐2017 academic year to randomly selected students ELI who successfully complete Financial Avenue web‐based financial literacy modules! For more information visit Financial Aid’s Financial Literacy Blog. Official contest rules and registration to participate can be found here.

Want to write for the ELI Student Blog? Share your story? Connect with your peers? Send us a writing sample to get started. Email ELIStuLife@nvcc.edu for more information.

How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?

How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?

To apply for financial aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To complete your FAFSA, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is free and you should never pay to complete the FAFSA! NOVA’s Federal Financial Aid School Code is 003727.

What Documents Do I Need to Complete The FAFSA?

There are several items you will need to complete the FAFSA. The 2017-2018 FAFSA covers Fall 2017, Spring 2018 and Summer 2018. For 2017-2018, you will need financial information from 2015. All students will need the following information to complete the FAFSA application:

  • Your social security number
  • Your driver’s license, if applicable
  • Your 2015 federal income tax return
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ
  • Foreign tax return, or tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Marshall Islands, Federal States of Micronesia or Palau
  • Your 2015 W-2 forms and other records of money earned in 2015, if any income was earned
  • Your 2015 untaxed income records, if applicable (i.e. child support received, interest income, veterans’ benefits, etc.)
  • Your current bank statements
  • Your current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records as well as stocks, bonds and other investment records, if applicable
  • Your alien registration or permanent registration card, if applicable (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

If you are a dependent student, your parents will need to provide the following information:

Note: A dependent student is a student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student. An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

  • Parent(s) 2015 federal income tax return and W-2s
  • Parent(s) bank statements and current records for all non-retirement investment and asset accounts
  • Parent(s) social security number, date of birth (day, month and year)
  • Date your parents were married, widowed, divorced or separated
  • If you are married, you will also need to provide the 2015 federal income tax return information for your spouse.

How Do I Sign The FAFSA?

To sign your FAFSA online you must apply for an FSA ID. If you are dependent student, you and your parent must apply for an FSA ID. An FSA ID serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records. Never give your FSA ID to anyone, including commercial services that offer to help you complete your FAFSA.

Where Do I Get A FSA ID?

Visit https://fsaid.ed.gov to apply for an FSA ID. You will need your social security number and birthdate to complete this process. If you are dependent student, one of your parents will also need to create an FSA ID to sign your FAFSA.

Questions about your Financial Aid award? Contact them by phone, live chat, or email through the Student Support Center.

FA Support Center

 

MTT Units – Technology Based Developmental Math

Are you enrolled in a MTT course through ELI? We want to make sure you have all the information to start strong!math

What is MTT ?

MTT refers to the Motivating Academic Success Through Effective Redesign (MASTER) math courses that make up NOVA’s developmental math program. These courses offer personalized instruction allowing students to skip sections of material in which they can demonstrate competency and work toward mastery of the remaining material. Which MTT course a student takes depends upon the number of units needed. The Virginia Placement Test (VPT) for mathematics is aligned with the MTT units. View the MASTER Math: Progression chart to determine what units are required to be prepared for specific math courses at NOVA. The most units a student can cover in an MTT course at one time is four (MTT 4). Some students may need to complete more than one MTT course to be prepared for the math course required for their degree.

To be successful in MTT, you will need to spend several hours working on the course activities.

Textbooks and Course Materials:

MTT courses use MyMathLab which is an online textbook-based diagnostic evaluation and tutorial program designed specifically for this course. It includes an electronic copy of the class textbook, a variety of multimedia instructional resources, unlimited practice exercises, self-paced learning modules, online testing, and an individualized study plan. MyMathLab is supported and maintained by the publisher’s web server and the required plug-ins for this tool are standard.  MyMathLab is delivered inside a web-based course delivery system called MyLabsPlus. You must have an access code to MyLabsPlus, which can be purchased through the online bookstore.

The Online Math Lab is a substitute for the on-campus Math Computer Lab requirements and can be accessed through the Online Math Lab link in the menu of your Blackboard course site. The Online Math Lab is used by MTT students to ask general questions regarding course content and concepts.

Tests and Quizzes:

There are pre and post tests for each unit. Unit pre and post-tests must be proctored. Module quizzes are not proctored and will be taken at home. You cannot move forward, or complete a unit without completing the pre and post test for that unit. If you are out of the area, you will need to secure an approved proctor to supervise your exams. If you are in the area, you can take your proctored exams at any NOVA campus testing center.

Resources:

Success Coaches – Anxious about taking a math course? Contact your Success Coach at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076 for tips for success and resources to help you have a successful semester. The Student Success Coaches created a recording for you to help you Understand your MTT course. You can review the recording online.

Smarthinking – Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to ELI students. Smarthinking provides tutoring in a variety of subjects, many of which are available 24/7.

Student Lingo – Engaging on-demand, on-line workshops 24/7 on a variety of subjects – including math-related topics for example:  How to Succeed in Math, which provides specific strategies on how to succeed in an online math course and How to Overcome Math Anxiety, which helps students understand and assess their own level of math anxiety while providing ways to cope with fear and eliminate stress.

Khan Academy – This free resource offers a new way to work on some of the skills that you may be falling behind on. Students can use Khan’s large library resource database and partake in interactive assessments, challenges and even some helpful videos on a variety of topics.

online course format

As you are thinking about future online courses through the Extended Learning Institute (ELI) give thought to the course format and pacing of online courses.

  • Format
  • Technology
  • Time Required

Although online learning and on-campus courses cover the same content, the format is different. ELI courses are flexible, with stated deadlines, meaning, you can work on your course at any point throughout the week, but will need to meet weekly or even mid-weekly due dates. ELI requires proctored/supervised exams to be completed within the stated course deadlines. Some courses may also be accelerated with the instructor’s permission.

Technology provides content and interaction. ELI courses use Blackboard as the course management system to communicate and facilitate class discussions. Students are required to use their VCCS student email account to communicate with the instructor.

Online learning courses usually require at least as much time as you would spend taking a campus-based course. You should plan to study at least 2-3 hours a week for each credit. In other words, for a 16-week, three-credit course, you would study 6-9 hours per week. For 12, 10, 8 or 6-week courses, more time would need to be scheduled to complete your requirements. When you compare this time with what you spend in class and studying outside of class, it is about the same.

Here is a chart that illustrates the general amount of time per week you should expect to study per credit hour based on the course length. For example, if you enroll in an 8-week, 3-credit class, you can expect to spend 12-18 hours per week studying for this class. In general, the shorter the class length (8-, 12-, 10-, or 16-week), the more hours of study time you can expect to spend per week per credit.

(Click on chart to enlarge picture)

We encourage you to participate in an ELI Orientation to help as you are getting started in your first online course. You can view short videos from Blackboard to review how to submit an assignment, post on discussion board, check grades, etc.

For more information about getting started at ELI, please email elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076. Have a question, but not sure who to ask? Start with a Success Coach!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Northern Virginia Community College will be closed for  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16. This effects campus based courses, and offices, including the Testing Centers.  The college offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 17 at 8:00 am.

In observance of this day, we encourage to you consider making it a “Day On” instead of a day off. Join us for the 8th annual NOVA SERVES: MLK Day of Service. January 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Alexandria Campus. This year’s event will consist of assembling 35,000 food kits in partnership with the Stop Hunger Now organization and the Springfield Rotary Club.

 Bring canned goods and receive an official NOVA SERVES t-shirt.  Join the movement to end hunger in our lifetime.

Sign up with your family and friends!

 For more info and to register, please go to  https://blogs.nvcc.edu/novaserves/

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Hiding a Course on the My Blackboard Courses Module

Hiding a Course on the My Blackboard Courses Module

Usually courses will disappear from your Blackboard course site once the course has ended and is closed, however, every so often, one may stick around. You can hide courses from previous semesters in the My Blackboard Course Module. This does not remove the course from Blackboard, but hides it from view so that you only see the current semester courses when you first login to Blackboard.

 Step 1: Log in to your Blackboard Dashboard and click the gear icon in the top right of the My Courses module.  The icon will not appear until you hover your mouse in that area.bb1

Step 2: Locate the row for the course or courses you would like to hide and clear the check box in the Course Name column.

Step 3:  Be sure all check marks are cleared in that course’s row.bb2

 

 Step 4: Click the Submit button to complete this action.bb3

 

 

If you have any questions, the 24/7 ELI IT Helpdesk is available at 703.764.5051.

 

On your first day!

Is today the first day of your online class? Not sure where to start? How to get started? What time to log in? Let us know. Are you readyVisit the ELI Student Blog for tips for success in online courses. Specifically read through Critical Course Deadlines and Preparing for your First Day for tips for success.
  1. Any time today – Log in to your My NOVA account using your VCCS username and password.
  2. Select “Blackboard Learn” from the My Tools Section.
  3. Find your courses in the “My Blackboard Courses” section and enter each course site.
  4. Read the course syllabus in detail. Make sure you are comfortable with the pace of the course. If you are enrolled in more than one course, go through each course syllabi in detail. Review the overview of assignments and take notes in your planner.
  5. Get started on your first week’s assignments. You must complete the first assignment by the assigned deadline to avoid being administratively dropped from the course for non-participation. Look ahead to see if you have any real-time meetings or virtual office hours you won’t want to miss!
  6. Have you already attended the ELI Orientation Webinar? If not, check out a session this week.
  7. Establish a Routine! All online classes, regardless of session length, are based on the full 16-week course material; 12, 8 and 6 week courses will move at an accelerated pace.
  8. Plan Ahead! All online classes require proctored exams or assignments. Plan ahead for your proctored exams so you don’t miss any deadlines. Check your course syllabus and review testing policies.
  9. Let ELI staff know if you have any questions. Use the contact form, or contact your Student Success Coach at ELISuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

Good luck in your online course. Make sure you check your VCCS student email regularly so you don’t miss any announcements. Let us know if you have any questions!

What is Virtual Advising?

Young woman studying at a desk using books and laptopAttention Students:

If you are not able to come to meet with your advisor, online virtual advising is available to you!

What is Virtual Advising?

Virtual Advising is online              academic advising to           prospective and current NOVA students through email and chat.

Virtual Advising hours this weekend:

Saturday, January 7th from 10:00am-3:00pm

Sunday, January 8th from 1:00pm-4:00pm

Virtual Advisors can be contacted through email or chat. More information and contact information can be found at the Virtual Advising Website.

Critical Enrollment Dates

Not sure what the critical enrollment dates mean? Learn more so you don’t miss any important deadlines! Calendar planning conceptOne assumption some online students make is that all ELI courses are self-paced. To that end, students 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!

It 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 administratively dropped from the course without a tuition refund. ELI courses may be 16, 12 , 8 , 6, 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 critical enrollment dates early and know your options.

You can also view your critical enrollment dates by visiting your class schedule in your Student Center.

After selecting “My Class Schedule” in your Student Center account view the calendar link under “deadlines” for each course. (See photo below)Critical_Deadlines

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 weekly or mid-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 look for 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. You can always reply to their emails with any questions you have, or give them a call at 703.323.3347.

Get ready for your first day of spring classes!

As you are preparing for your online courses, it is important to keep in mind the importance of attendance and participation. In fact, your attendance and participation is not just important, it is required. 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 Monday, January 9, you may not see your course in Blackboard until that day. If you are scheduled for a later starting ELI course (January 30, February 20, etc) you may not see your course until closer to that start date.

As soon as your class begins, log into Blackboard and explore your course in Blackboard. 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 semester. 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 semester begins will also give you the opportunity to identify any unexpected issues and provide ample time to ask any questions you might have. These short videos will help you navigate Blackboard.

If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, join us for an ELI Orientation Webinar. You can also contact the ELI Student Success Coaching Team at 703-764-5076 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.