Category Archives: Getting Started

First Week 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!

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.

On your first day

Welcome to the Extended Learning Institute (ELI) at NOVA! ELI is the online division at NOVA. All ELI courses are housed in Blackboard. We have provided tips to get off to a great start and establish a routine early in the semester! Let us know if you have any questions.

  1. 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.
  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.
  6. Establish a Routine! All online classes, regardless of session length, are based on the full 16-week course material; 12, 10, 8 and 6 week courses will move at an accelerated pace.
  7. 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.
  8. Let ELI staff know if you have any questions.

Review additional resources for logging into Blackboard and navigating Blackboard can be found on NOVA’s website. As well as additional Blackboard tutorials in your course site.

If you need assistance locating helpful study resources, getting started strategies, or any general ELI questions contact the ELI Student Services Team at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or  703.323.3347.

Know Your Critical Course Deadlines

One 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 administratively 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 course deadlines, that include your First Assignment Due Date. The first assignment due date requires 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. ELI courses may be 16, 12 , 10, 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 course deadlines 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 703.764.5076.

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

Courses are made 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 21, you may not see your course in Blackboard until that day. If you are scheduled for a later starting ELI course 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.

Tips to help you get started!

Below are some tips to help you get started in your ELI courses this fall!

You will have access to your course in Blackboard the first day the course is scheduled to begin or sometimes a few days in advance. If your course is scheduled to begin later in the fall, 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 enrolled yet? There is plenty of time to register for fall semester courses.

Are you a seasoned ELI professional?? What tips would you share with a new student about online learning at NOVA?

Join us for an ELI Orientation Webinar

Are you enrolled in your first online learning course this fall? Or, have you taken an online course previously and want to ensure that you are headed in the right direction? Do you have any questions about using Blackboard to complete your ELI course? A great place to start is with the ELI Orientation webinar. 463461567A webinar is a live, online instruction session. You can participate in a webinar from any computer or mobile device with Internet access and speakers. A microphone is not required as we will use a text chat for all questions. Participation in all webinars offered through ELI is free, but registration is required.

Register for a live session or request a copy of the recording on the ELI Webinar webpage.

We are offering live sessions on the following dates:

Thursday, August 3, 2017 – 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, August 10, 2017 – 12:15 – 1:15 pm

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 – 6:30 – 7:30 pm (Captions Available)

Saturday, August 19, 2017 -10:30 – 11:30 am (Captions Available)

Monday, August 21, 2017 – 12:15 – 1:15 pm

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 – 6:30 – 7:30 pm

The ELI Orientation webinar is a live, one hour online instruction session that focuses on getting started in your ELI courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, identifying tips for success, and highlighting student support services. This webinar is geared towards students already enrolled in courses and will not cover the registration process. During the webinar, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have before you start your course.

The ELI Orientation will cover an overview of navigating your Blakcboard Course Site. Courses are made available in Blackboard on the course start date or sometimes a few days in advance. If you haven’t used Blackboard in the past, you may be interested in some short videos to review how to submit an assignment, post on discussion board, check grades, etc.

This webinar will not satisfy the Student Orientation requirement for the Start Strong Policy at NOVA. If this is your first time in college, age 17-14 – NOVA’s new student orientation is required before enrolling in NOVA courses.

Connect with ELI on Facebook and Twitter for tips for success in your online courses. ELI Student Success Coaches are available for any questions as you are getting started. Reach out to them at ELISuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076.

Reminders from a student blogger

Hate going to class? Class timings don’t fit your schedule? Why not take online classes instead? You can do your work whenever you want, without having to worry about being in class, due dates and all the other stress that comes with on campus classes. WRONG! Though online classes are flexible, you do have course specific due dates, and can even be more demanding than an on campus class. In an online course you do not have a professor in front of you, or assigned times to go to class. In an online class you have to set your own time where you will sit down and complete the course work. You need to put in a lot of effort, and be determined and responsible. But worry not! I have some tips which will make this exhausting/stressful/tedious task not so exhausting/stressful/tedious.

Reminders: Set reminders for yourself in a planner, phone, or any other smart device. Set aside a time during the week that is just for your studies.

Syllabus: Your syllabus will be your best friend during an online course. I like to have a print out and screenshot of my syllabus for easy accessibility.

Divide the work: If you can’t set aside enough time to get your work done on time, divide the work and spread it over a few days. This way you won’t be burdened by a lot of work, and you won’t lose your mind trying to complete it all right before the due date.

Tutoring: Smarthinking provides students with free online tutoring in their Blackboard course site. You can set up a 1:1 appointment, submit questions to your account, join live tutoring sessions or submit a draft of a paper to the writing lab. If you prefer on-campus tutoring, that is available to you at one of the 6 Nova Campuses.

Proctored Exams: All ELI courses require proctored exams. It is always a good idea to decide how, when, and where you will be taking your exams early in the semester. Check out the testing website for more info OR If you plan on taking your exam through an alternate testing site, it’s a good idea to get the proctor request form filled out and approved so you are all ready when exam time comes around.

And at the beginning of your course decide on how, and where you will be taking your test/exam or any assignments you might need to take at a testing center.

At the beginning of your course print out your syllabus, exam passes, and any other documents that will be important for your course. You may be thinking exam passes now? Yes, now because you never know what issue can come up, and you are not able to have it printed out on time which would lead to you missing the test/exam.

Last, but most definitely not least, take advantage of the many resource provided by NOVA for FREE! If you have any questions, reach out to the Student Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347 for assistance!

Blog was provided by Student Blogger, Ammarah, who took her first online course in Spring 2017.

Know Your Course Assignment/Testing Due Dates

One 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 administratively 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 dropped from the course without a tuition refund. ELI courses may be 16, 12 , 10, 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 703.764.5076.

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?