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.

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?

Focus on Your Job While Managing Your Career

Landing your first job is just the first step on your career path. It’s important to keep your job-search and work-related skills up to date, even when you’re happy with your employment. After all, U.S. Department of Labor research indicates that the average worker will hold eight to 10 different jobs during his or her employment lifespan—and the greatest turnover happens before a worker reaches the age of 30.

So how do make yourself a valuable employee and prepare for your next career step?

Keep yourself on the cutting edge of your field—because it will make you more valuable to your current employer and it will help you move along your career track without missing a step.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll find it easier to weather all the career course changes that come your way.

  1. Think of yourself as an entrepreneur. You are the product that is being offered in the job marketplace. Continue to develop and market your strengths and interests.
  2. Learn and earn. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn something new—by helping out on a new project, volunteering to “cover” for an employee who’s on leave, or attending seminars and workshops that the company may offer. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement, so take classes in your field. Don’t allow your education to become obsolete.
  3. Keep your records up to date. Keep a record of your accomplishments, perhaps even a portfolio. Be able to demonstrate the value you add to your organization. Include contact names and references in your portfolio, along with a resume that’s updated on a regular basis.
  4. Take “It’s not my job!” out of your vocabulary. Volunteer to take on new responsibilities and think of every new assignment as a learning experience. Look for other ways to contribute. Being cross-trained will make you more valuable. If you have to work some extra hours to help with a special project, do so willingly. It will be remembered.
  5. Dress up your attitude. Even when doing the most unpleasant or routine tasks, do them with style. Deal with everyone on a professional basis, from the receptionist right up to the CEO. You are all partners in creating a dynamic and cooperative workplace.
  6. Seize the opportunity! Don’t wait to be told to do a job or take on a responsibility. Ask “May I help?” If you see something that you think should be done and would help make the company better, offer to handle it.
  7. Make the team. Employers want employees who can work together for the goals of the company, instead of promoting their individual goals. Having personal goals will help keep your career on track. Just make sure you’re in line with the employer’s goals as well.
  8. Bond with the boss. A good relationship with your supervisor will endure—in the form of good recommendations and networking in the future.
  9. Make change your perspective. Every employee should acknowledge—even embrace—the changes in the workplace. If you’re not a part of the change, you’ll soon find yourself left behind. Demonstrate that you have the ability to perform well in changing circumstances and difficult situations.
  10. Keep your technology skills cutting edge. Take any technology-related class or seminar offered by your employer—even if it’s a class offered after hours. You don’t want to have to play “catch up” while looking for a new position or trying to secure a promotion.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

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.

Fall 2017: purchase books/supplies using financial aid

Students with financial aid awards for fall 2017 can purchase books against their excess financial aid–either online or in campus bookstores—from August 7, 2017 through September 7, 2017, the 16-week (term) census date.  A second book purchase period will be open for students who still have anticipated aid from two weeks before the second 8-week term through that term census date, October 4, 2017 through October 24, 2017.

Students wishing to purchase books on-line must complete and sign the Bookstore Authorization E-Form, via the Financial Aid Dashboard, prior to completing a purchase. Students enrolled or planning to enroll in later starting classes who desire to use their financial aid to purchase books must purchase during this purchase periods; no additional accommodations will be made.  The financial aid process must be complete and anticipated aid must be enough to cover tuition, fees and books.  Files can have no negative holds. E-forms must be submitted each academic year.

First Book Purchase Period

  • First day to purchase books/supplies using financial aid: August 7, 2017
  • Last day to purchase books/supplies using financial aid: September 7, 2017

Second Book Purchase Period (for students with remaining anticipated aid)

  • First day to purchase books/supplies using financial aid: October 4, 2017
  • Last day to purchase books/supplies using financial aid: October 24, 2017

You may place your on-line order 24 hours after completing the authorization e-form or on the first business day after completing the e-form, if later.

Search the  online bookstore for the textbooks and course materials required for your ELI courses.

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

FA Support Center

 

This week at ELI!

FALL Tuition Payment: If you registered for fall 2017 courses your tuition payment or financial aid must be in place by the follow business day after enrollment to avoid being dropped from your courses! Check out NOVA’s website for more for more details about tuition payment methods and deadlines.

Of course, there’s still plenty of time to register for fall if you haven’t done so already! ELI’s first fall session begins Monday, August 21. ELI has additional fall start dates later in the semester. Check the full list of fall 2017 courses.

NOVA offers a payment plan for students enrolled in courses. Please note the last day to sign up for the payment plan is August 24.

Thinking about an ELI course for the Fall, but not sure if online learning is right for you? Take a look at our Orientation modules and take the SmarterMeasure assessment! Learn more about your options for online courses through ELI on our website!

Proctored Exams: All ELI courses require proctored exams! Plan ahead so you are prepared as your exams quickly approach. Review the testing information website to make arrangements. This previous blog post will also help as you prepare whether you are taking exams at NOVA, through ProctorU, or with a testing location in your area. Questions? Reach out to ELICourseSpecialists@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

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!

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.

This week at ELI!

FALL Tuition Payment: If you registered for fall 2017 courses and haven’t submitted your tuition payment or have financial aid in place, you must do so  by Monday, July 24 at 5 p.m. to avoid being dropped from your courses! Check out NOVA’s website for more for more details about tuition payment methods and deadlines.

Of course, there’s still plenty of time to register for fall if you haven’t done so already! ELI’s first fall session begins Monday, August 21. ELI has additional fall start dates later in the semester. Check the full list of fall 2017 courses.

NOVA offers a payment plan for students enrolled in courses. Please note the last day to sign up for the payment plan is August 24.

Just remember, if you register for fall courses on or after Monday, July 24, your payment is due by 5 p.m. the next business day.

Proctored Exams: All ELI courses require proctored exams! Plan ahead so you are prepared as your exams quickly approach. Review the testing information website to make arrangements. This previous blog post will also help as you prepare whether you are taking exams at NOVA, through ProctorU, or with a testing location in your area. Questions? Reach out to ELICourseSpecialists@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347. 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!

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.

The Networking Challenge

Being a busy and slightly shy student, I found networking to be challenging, even when given specific recommendations for people with whom to connect. Ironically, my most important networking lesson came from a woman I had avoided contacting when I was a novice networker. Although I had shied away from reaching out to her, I came into contact with her through other means: I was assigned to work with her during an internship. Not only did she teach me much about the career I was considering, but she also introduced me to people who I needed to know in my field—including one who eventually had a role in hiring me for my first professional position.

What I didn’t know as a student is that people generally like to help others, especially when you make it easy for them.

Networking is among the most effective career development and job-search techniques. Many job seekers spend their time looking at job postings and want ads, but these seldom provide a complete job description. That’s where networking can play a role: Savvy students use networking to get the full story about organizations, positions, and career-growth opportunities.

Not only can you use networking to find jobs, but the information you learn through networking can help you craft your resume appropriately and give you an edge in the interview. (Although you are likely focused on your first professional job, remember that networking is important for subsequent jobs as well.)

If you are like many students, networking to learn about career options and job/internship leads is probably toward the bottom of your list of job-search tasks. Unfortunately, it may only emerge as important when you’ve exhausted your other options and desperation-or some twist of fate-forces you to try networking.

The fact is, if you are like many students, you probably use networking skills more than you realize. For example, to choose classes, you read through the course catalog, ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations, read “student only” sites with feedback on specific courses and professors, and (hopefully) talk to your academic adviser. Your parents also might offer their thoughts. This is networking. It is a combination of research, conversation, and analysis.

Make networking part of your daily activities

You can easily make networking a part of your normal daily activities. For example, it’s likely you’re being asked by friends and relatives about your post-graduation plans. This is a networking opportunity. Share details with them about fields or positions of interest to help them think of people they know who are doing similar work. Ask them to help you connect with these people, and then, follow through. (Uncertain about your intended career path? Not sure you can offer a clear answer to questions about what you want to do after graduation? Ask your career adviser to help you refine your interests and formulate a good response.)

Make the most of your networking

Finding people to contact is just part of networking. Try these quick tips to make the most of your conversations with networking contacts:

  • Send an e-mail to introduce yourself when requesting a meeting. Explain (briefly!) what you have in common and describe what you hope to learn through your conversation. Include a date and time that you will follow up by phone to schedule your meeting time if you haven’t heard back; then, follow through! (Because so many people don’t do what they say they will, this attention to detail is sure to impress.)
  • Research the industry, organization, and person you will be meeting prior to your conversation.
  • Consider information that you are learning in classes, internships, or student organizations that might be interesting to your target contact.
  • Make a list of questions to ask; if you are starting with a sample list of questions obtained from your career center or online, customize the questions to be specific to the industry and the person you will be contacting.
  • Treat professionals with respect. Use appropriate grammar and spelling when writing messages. If you’ve scheduled a meeting, don’t cancel. Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Whether your conversation is in person, on the phone, or via e-mail, follow up with a thank-you note to show your appreciation and improve your chances of creating a productive relationship.
  • Don’t be discouraged if some people whom you contact aren’t immediately helpful. Be patient, and continue to develop contacts. Similarly, you might encounter people who you don’t feel a positive connection toward; in those cases, be polite, send a thank-you note, and move on. None of us can predict which connections will lead to meaningful outcomes, so use care to nurture your connections. Accept networking as an investment in your future that can produce results in the present.

There are a variety of places through which to find people to talk to about your professional interests. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn;
  • Alumni networks and campus mentoring programs;
  • Career fairs, employer information sessions, and networking events;
  • Professional associations related to your field of interest;
  • Friends/family and their friends; and
  • Community groups.

Article written by Lisa Hinkley, Director of Career Services, at Lake Forest College.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Studying for Finals? Consider this 4-day study plan!

Final exams and final projects are quickly approaching in your summer term courses! Follow us on the ELIfe Social Media channels for tips for successful finals prep. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The ELI Success Coaching Team is here to help support you and provide study tips. You can contact them at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Studying for an Exam Day 1: Communicate with Your Instructor, Find a Study Partner and Organize

1.    Ask your instructor what type of test it will be. Multiple choice? Essay? That will make a difference in how you prepare.

2.    Ask your instructor for a review sheet/study guide if he/she has not already given you one.

3.    Find a study partner — set up dates to meet to include the night before the test if possible – even via phone/Facebook/Skype.

4.    Print and organize your notes, old quizzes, textbook, assignments and handouts from the units being tested.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions (for example: cell phone, TV, instant messenger, etc.)

2.    Organize handouts, past tests, and other information according to dates. Make note of anything you are missing. (Where’s the vocab quiz from chapter 2?) Pay special attention to the questions that you missed and spend extra time studying those questions.

3.    Rewrite or type your notes. Creating an outline of the information you need to know will help you understand how the material covered in the class is related.

4.    Review the material you have. Go through the review sheet to determine what material will be covered. Read through your quizzes/handouts/notes and study questions from your book’s chapters.

Studying for a Test Day 2: Course Review, Review and Apply the Material to Better Understand 

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Communicate with your instructor to clarify areas you didn’t understand and request any missing items.

3.    Ask if there will be a review before the test and continue to review on your own and review with your Study Partner (if time permits). If there will not be a course review, consider organizing one – you can reserve a study room and meet in a campus or local library.

When Studying:

1.    Create flashcards with a question/term/vocab word on the front of the card, and the answer on the back. Quizlet is a free website/app that will help you design flashcards, practice tests and quizzes. The website/app also has pre-made flash cards (a favorite app by many students).

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes, and review everything on the review sheet that you don’t already know using mnemonic devices like acronyms or singing a song. Also, apply the material to your life in ways that you can remember and understand. When the timer goes off, take a 15 min. break and revisit your review sheet. Study again, setting the timer if it works well for you.

3.    If you are not using the Quizlet App, put your flashcards in your purse, backpack, or car so that you can review them when you are not busy.

Studying for a Test Day 3: Review and Apply the Material, Create Practice Tests

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions

2.    When you have any free time, review your flashcards and ask yourself questions (when you’re waiting for class to start, at lunch, during study hall, etc.)

3.    Confirm a study date for tomorrow night.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes again. Go back through your flashcards and review sheet, learning/applying material (especially reviewing areas that are causing you some struggles). Take a 5-minute break. If necessary, set a timer for 45 minutes again and continue if you’re still unsure of any material!

3.    Create a few “practice tests” for yourself and your study partner (you can create your own, use study guides or visit your textbook website for practice tests).  A practice test should include questions about key terminology, facts, and concepts that are likely to be on the test.

4.    Be sure to have your flashcards (Quizlet App) ready for review again tomorrow.

Studying for a Test Day 4: Review, Study/Quiz Self, Confirm Meeting Time with Study Partner

1.    Throughout the day, pull your flashcards out and review.

2.    Confirm your study date with a friend or classmate.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Again, review your flashcards paying special attention to the remaining material that was giving you some struggles.

3.    Quiz. With your study partner, take turns asking possible exam questions to each other. You will learn the material better by alternating asking the questions. Stop once you’ve been through the questions a few times and get a good night’s sleep.

Be sure to check out free online workshops by Student Lingo. If you need additional review, you can use ELI’s free online tutoring service through Smarthinking. If you are using a campus testing center, double check testing center hours and if possible, do not wait until the last day – emergencies can come up and in many classes, you will not be able to take the test late.

If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact the ELI Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

The NOVA ELI Student Blog