Category Archives: Academics

Understanding your online syllabus

Thoroughly reading your syllabus and addressing questions at the beginning of the course, will help you succeed from the first to the last day of class!null

You will have access to your course the first day the class is scheduled to begin or sometimes a few days in advance. If your course is scheduled to begin later in the summer, check Blackboard closer to that date.

Once you have access to your course in Blackboard, you can start navigating the virtual classroom and get comfortable with the platform. You can start by reading through the online syllabus to get an idea of the course expectations.

Your online course syllabus serves as a blueprint for your course. This is such an important document that to reinforce it, some instructors may require you to complete a syllabus quiz, acknowledging that you have read and understand the important information laid out in the syllabus.

The “overview of assignments” or “course calendar” will be helpful to your success in the course. This section will layout the course schedule and you can use it as a checklist to make sure you don’t miss any assignments. Look ahead to see when the exams will fall so you can plan ahead.

All ELI courses require proctored exams. Make sure you understand what this means for you – whether that is taking exams at a campus testing center, using a testing location in your area, or using ProctorU. Find out more in this past blog post.

Establish a routine. This will help set you up for success for the remainder of the course. Just because you aren’t meeting at specific days and times, doesn’t mean you can’t schedule your time like are have class meetings. Organize your week and make sure you have enough time to take on the courses you have selected.

If you have a concerns or questions about assignments, check your syllabus and you may find the answer. The online course syllabus will help you manage your time by enabling you to map out and plan your projects, assignments and quiz/test dates. In addition to providing your instructor’s contact information and office hours, it might even provide resources to help you study and learn more about your course subject.

ELI offers a video to help you Review Your Online Syllabus.

If you have questions or would like some additional help, the ELI Student Success Coaching Team is here for you. Coaches can be reached at 703.764.5076 or elisuccess@nvcc.edu.

Tips to help you get started!

Below are some tips to help you get started in your ELI classes this summer!

You will have access to your course the first day the class is scheduled to begin or sometimes a few days in advance. If your course is scheduled to begin later in the summer, check back closer to that date. 484765389Be sure to check your Blackboard course site regularly throughout the summer 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.

Financial Aid assistance is available 24/7 by calling 1-855-323-3199, by email – FinAidSupport@nvcc.edu or through live chat at the Student Support Center. Questions about financial aid eligibility? Check out the Financial Aid Blog.

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

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.

If spring courses are cluttering your summer schedule, get organized with this tutorial!

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.

First day 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 summer 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 Tuesday, May 16, you may not see your course in Blackboard until that day. If you are scheduled for a later starting ELI course (Monday, May 22 or Monday, June 5) 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.

New to online learning at NOVA? Join us for an ELI Orientation Webinar to help you get started!

If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, you can contact the ELI Student Success Coaching Team at 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.

Preparing for an 8-week Summer course

Today’s blog post is written by a former ELI Student when they enrolled in their first summer 8-week course. Summer courses begin Tuesday, May 16, Monday, May 22 and Monday, June 5. Follow this tutorial to search NOVA’s online courses.

I’m enrolling in my first eight-week course this summer. This got me thinking about how it might be different from the sixteen-week format I am more used to. Succeeding in an online course always requires good management of time. I must carefully balance school, work, and personal responsibilities. When the online class is an eight week or six week course, I am thinking that managing these elements will become much more critical.

Summer spring backgound with stack of books and open book and bokeh. Back to school. Open book fanned pages. Copy Space

Since an online sixteen week course should take three hours of coursework per credit each week, an Eight-week online course should take six hours of coursework per credit each week. For a three credit class, that works out to as much as an 18-hour a week part time job! Because of this, I decided to take only one class at a time until I see how I can integrate this workload with my work and social schedule.

I expect that the deadlines will also come much faster. Just eight days into my course, I will already be at the refund deadline, forcing me to decide whether or not I can handle the workload and get the grade I want or to drop the course and try the longer format in the Fall.

Because of this, I’m planning on logging into Blackboard on the course start date and completing the first assignment quickly. I’ll also need to look over the assignments and syllabus and see if I have any questions. Usually, I think for two or three days before I email my instructor, but with this class, I expect that if I have questions, I’ll need to write the instructor immediately—procrastinating even a few days would probably not be a good idea.

I’m really looking forward to the pleasant feel completing the course more quickly. I’ll get to feel the sense of accomplishment which keeps me motivated that much faster. I’m also telling myself I can deal with almost any schedule for two months—so it actually feels much more flexible than the traditional four-month courses. I’ll let you know if my opinion changes once the course actually starts.

How many of you have already taken a six or eight week course? Do you have any advice for me? I would love to know a little more about what to expect!

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.

Prepare for Fall 2017 enrollment

Thinking about an online class for Fall 2017? Fall Registration is now open for all students. The online catalog is available in NOVAConnect now – search the online catalog to see what options you have for online courses.

ELI offers courses that begin on August 21, September 11, 25 or later. Enroll today!

Computer screenReview & Understand your NOVAConnect Account

Have any holds? Need to update your contact information? Request a final transcript or view your final grades? Run your advising report before working with your advisor? Log into your Student Center account (in NOVAConnect) for more information.

Be cleared of any prerequisites (if needed)

If you are attempting to enroll in a course at NOVA for which you believe you have successfully completed (a grade of “C“ or higher) the required prerequisite(s) at another regionally accredited institution, you need to visit the Visiting and Transient Student webpage and follow the instructions on the page.  Any questions? Reach out to a Virtual Advisor at AcademicAdvising@nvcc.edu.

Get Ready to Start your courses

Each course has a course site in Blackboard. Students are given access to the course specific link on the first day the course is scheduled to begin. Once you have access to your course in Blackboard, make sure to thoroughly review the course syllabus and course calendar (Overview of Assignments) to map out a plan for the course. Summer courses run at an accelerated pace, so make sure you plan ahead and stay on track.

Understand online learning through ELI

Participate in the live ELI Orientation webinar to get off to a strong start. This one hour live online instructor session will focus 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. Register or Request a Recording Today!

Make sure you know your course start date and critical enrollment dates! Don’t miss your first assignment due date!

If you are new to online learning we would encourage you to participate in the virtual orientation session. You can review the student blog for more tips to online learning.

If you have questions about making your tuition payment, visit NOVA’s payment information for details. You can also call the ELI Hotline at 703-323-3347 for assistance.

Take the Smarter Measure assessment to see how your personal learning styles will work with online courses.

Establish a Routine! All online courses, regardless of session length, are based on the full 16-week course material, 12 and 8 week courses will move at an accelerated pace.

Make sure you activate your Student Email Address so you don’t miss any important updates.

If you need assistance with your course selection, ELI Counselors can be reached at, elicounselors@nvcc.edu.

Where are my grades?

You should be reviewing your grades on a regular basis in the My Grades area of Blackboard. Each Blackboard course site has Blackboard Tutorials available to help you navigate blackboard. This tutorial will help you monitor your grades in your Blackboard course site. For more – follow this link!

You can see grades for all of your courses or one course at a time.

To view grades for all of your courses, select the arrow next to your name in the upper-right corner. In the menu, select “My Grades”. You can sort your grades by All Courses or Last Graded. If your work hasn’t been graded, grade status icons appear. Select an item’s title to view details.

To view the grades for the course you’re in, select the “My Grades” link on the course menu or on the Tools page.

Your instructor controls which links appear on the course menu, so if you don’t see if there, click on “Tools” and locate My Grades.

Make sure you are monitoring your grades and your instructors feedback. This is very important to your success in the course.

Once your course ends, check your final grades in your Student Information System (SIS). Your grades will be posted in the “other academics” drop down in your student center.

Tutorial provided by Blackboard Help. Use these tutorials to help you navigate your Blackboard course site. Contact ELI’s IT Helpdesk (24/7) with any questions – 703.764.5051. ELI’s Student Success coaches are available to help you navigate Blackboard. Reach out to them at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

Wrap up from the advising week blog series!

That’s a wrap for our Advising Week blog series, but that doesn’t mean it’s over! Still have questions about summer or fall registration? Let us know!

Take some time to reflect on what you have learned this week. Go back and review past posts to dig a little deeper. Missed any of the live sessions? Request a recording.

Here are a few tips to help you move forward:

coffee break

Use the Student Success Planner to build your academic plan and compare your plan to program requirements.

Take a moment to facilitate a time study. Summer sessions will run at an accelarated pace, so make sure you are planning your schedule around the shorter session length availability. For fall, you have different options for session length (16, 12, or 8 weeks). Make sure you have enough time to devote to the courses you take on. What has worked in the past? What hasn’t worked? Check out StudentLingo and ELI webinars on time management.

Review your Advisement Report. Access NOVAConnect to run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.

Take a moment to reflect upon your career planning. If you need more information about career options or would like to learn about a resource to help you build a career plan. Go back and review past blog posts to help you Focus on Career Planning, and take advantage of Free Job Search Tools!

Communicate with your advisor about your academic and career goals. Be sure to take a moment to review your plans for both the summer term (registration is occurring now) and the fall semester. Plan to have your academic plan,  advisement report, and/or career plan handy when communicating with your advisor.

If you have not declared a program of study or are not pursuing a specific program at NOVA connect with an academic counselor or advisor for assistance.

Ready to enroll? Follow this tutorial to help you add your courses in NOVA Connect.

Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

Are Your Career Plans in FOCUS?

As you plan your schedule for your next term/semester, prepare to transfer, or get ready to begin a new job take a moment to focus on your career development.  Are you attending NOVA to pursue a certificate or degree, but unsure about what career options might be available to you? Have you decided on a major, but have difficulty answering the question – “What can I do with a major in _____? Do you need to fine tune your skills or add to your skill set in preparation for a career change? Learn more about career options by utilizing FOCUS 2, an online interactive self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/major based on your interests and aspirations
  •  Discover occupations matching your personal preferences and attributes
  • Map out your career plans, present and future
  • Make informed career decisions

FOCUS 2 is free for NOVA students.   Learn more about and access the system at NOVA’s Career Services website.

Register to participate in the Focus on Your Career Planning webinar scheduled for this Thursday,  April 6, from 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm.  This 45 minute webinar will introduce students to FOCUS 2 and provide an overview of the career planning process.

Need some help?  Have a question?  Contact Christy Jensen, ELI Career Counselor, at chjensen@nvcc.edu.