Tag Archives: coaches

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.

Student Lingo Workshop: Testing Anxiety

Does your heart start pounding when a test is placed in front of you? Do you know the material but your mind goes blank? These are just a few of the common challenges students face when taking a test.

As your final exams are quickly approaching, we strongly encourage checking out the Student Lingo recorded workshop entitled, Taking Tests Online: Strategies For Successtest anxiety

How often do you feel like you know the material like the back of your hand, but when you get into the testing situation, you freeze? This workshop discusses various strategies for test preparation and coping skills for situations that provoke test anxiety. The presenter does a great job describing scenarios in a testing situation that can easily lead to test anxiety in addition to our internal messages and how best to control them. She also discusses external circumstances that contribute to test anxiety and how to keep them at bay before you enter the testing situation.

The presentation also contains strategies for taking different types of tests ranging from multiple choice to true/false to essay formats. The presenter’s emphatic style and her understanding of issues related to test anxiety keeps you engaged and hopefully, when you take your exam, you will feel more confident and at peace after viewing this presentation!

We also encourage you to look back at a previous ELI Student Blog post to help you prepare for your exams.

As you prepare for your exams, make sure you know your testing location and policies. Whether you are going to a NOVA campus testing center, using a local testing center, or using ProctorU, make sure you have all the updated information including testing center hours.

If you need assistance locating helpful study resources, contact the ELI Student Success Coach 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.

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.

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!

How is online learning different from on-campus courses?

In honor of our recent celebration of National Distance Learning Week, let’s talk about how online learning is different from on-campus courses!

Are you considering ELI as an option for a spring course? We want to point out some of the differences between online and on-campus 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 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 or 8-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-, or 16-week), the more hours of study time you can expect to spend per week per credit. (Click on chart to enlarge picture)nullWe 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!

Digital Open Courses

Have you started thinking about your schedule for next semester? Spring  registration is currently open for all students! Are you interested in taking a course that doesn’t require you to purchase any textbooks or course materials? A Digital Open ELI course might be right for you!

Mobility conceptELI offers several online courses that do not require students to purchase textbooks or other course materials. Digital Open courses use free online material and Open Educational Resources (OER) instead of textbooks or purchased course materials. You can try one or two Digital Open courses, or even complete an entire AS degree track. Instead of requiring traditional textbooks, all readings and materials used in the courses will be available to students free of charge online as OER, or through NOVA’s library resources.

Are you ready try one of ELI’s Digital Open courses? Just look for the notification in the notes section in the online schedule of classes stating: This is a digital open course. No textbook purchase required.

Save time and money with a Digital Open course at ELI! For more information about registering for one of ELI’s Digital Open courses, contact the ELI Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

National Distance Learning Week

To mark National Distance Learning Week, we wanted to take the opportunity to share with you 10 things you might not know about the Extended Learning Institute (ELI) at Northern Virginia Community College.

This picture was dated 1974 and shows staff getting media ready for some of the first distance learning courses offered through the  Extended Learning Institute! 1974-eli-011.    23,000 NOVA students taken online courses through the ELI each year.

2.    ELI offers more than 500 online courses, so whatever field you’re in and whatever degree requirement you’re working to fill, you can probably find it at ELI!

3.    ELI courses and ELI faculty win national awards every year.

4.    You are not alone when you take an ELI course – you will interact with your instructor and classmates through discussions, group assignments, and more.

5.    ELI staff provide lots of services to support you in your online courses, too, including 24/7 free online tutoring, online librarians, 24/7 technical support, student success coaches, and much more.

6.    ELI offers several start dates each semester, for most of our courses, so just about any time you want to get started with us, we have a new session starting soon!

7.    You can earn more than 40 complete associate’s degrees and certificates entirely through ELI. Check out the complete list on ELI’s website.

8.    Not sure whether an online course is right for you? You can take the Smartermeasure assessment to find out!

9.    ELI offers courses in 16-week, 12-week, and 8-week lengths so you can choose the schedule and course length that best fits your needs.

10.    Most ELI students take classes on campus as well as ELI classes; combining the two can be the perfect way to complete your degree.

Happy Distance Learning Week to our online students at NOVA. If you have any questions, contact the ELI Student Services Team at 703.323.3347 or elisuccess@nvcc.edu or connect with us on social media. 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.

De-stress as you move into Advising Week

Winding down from one semester, and planning for your next can be a significant adjustment. With the demand of approaching deadlines, it is easy to get overwhelmed in the blink of an eye. As you move into Advising Week, we want to provide you with some resources to help you unwind, and refocus on preparing for your next step.

Yoga has more benefits than I can list but the ones I want you to take advantage of right now is it’s capacity to reduce anxiety and stress. Taking time to stretch and twist the body, releases chemicals that our bodies naturally produce when stressed. Beyond the physical movements, yoga has a meditative component that ignites your inner strength in a way that will empower you to tackle any obstacle, help you maintain peace when feeling harried, and turn down the volume of the loud voice of self-doubt. iStock_000052315416_LargeIncorporating yoga into your daily practice has been made easy with the use of technology. Here are some free apps you can download today that can jump-start your yoga practice! There is no greater obstacle to overcome than your own mind, feed it with positivity and it will help you accomplish great things! Namaste.

YogaQuote: Gives you daily inspirational yoga quotes and mantras.

Daily Yoga: Gives you live training with  videos and a professionally made yoga program for you to follow without needing to go to a gym. This app even has yoga to help you de-stress at your desk (great to do right before writing a paper)!

As you move into Advising Week, continue to follow ELife for tips on:

  • Familiarizing yourself with resources to help you with your academic planning.
  • Focusing on your career planning.
  • Checking to make sure you are on the right path to achieve your goals.
  • Gaining skills outside the classroom.
  • Taking some time for reflection.

This post was written by ELI Success Coach, Jennifer. Have a question, but not sure who to ask? Start with a Success Coach! They can be reached at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.323.3347.

Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.