Tag Archives: communication

Don’t Get Lost In Your Online Classroom

The best thing to do when you are lost, driving in an unfamiliar area without GPS, is to pull over and ask for directions so why not have the same mindset in your online classroom. If you are feeling lost and confused, do not hesitate to take time to reach out and seek direction from your instructor.Map tacksLearning how to ask detailed questions and communicate them to your instructor, in the online environment, is one of the most important skills you need to be successful in your courses.  Since you are not face to face with your instructors, as in a traditional classroom, maintaining communication with your instructor is essential.

Recommendations to promote communication with your online instructor:

Email: Do not hesitate or put off contacting your instructor. Your instructor is there to help you and to promote your success. You can send an email anytime. Please Note: Always use your NOVA email address when communicating via email. Instructors are unable to reply to a non-NOVA email address. Some instructors teach several courses, so please begin your email with your name, student ID and the course and section that you are enrolled in.

Office Hours: If you prefer one-on-one communication, consider contacting your instructor during their office hours, which are posted in your course syllabus.  Office hours are an excellent resource to get the extra help you may need.

Course Discussion Boards/Student Lounge: Discussion board forums, located in your Blackboard course site, are another way to contact your instructor.  Some instructors may even setup a Student Lounge just for questions about the class, which they check regularly. This is an excellent forum to ask questions about assignments, concepts, theories, as well as to clarify policy and due dates. You would not want to use this forum to ask a personal question.

Course Chat: Some instructors hold regular chat sessions at specific times. This is another excellent setting to get your concerns/questions addressed.

Expressing Your Question: When you are writing or asking a question, be sure that your question/concern is clearly stated. It can be confusing for an instructor to receive an email stating, “I don’t understand the week one assignment”.  It’s better to write, “I need some clarification about the week one assignment titled, ‘xx’.  I’ve downloaded the template that contains the exercises for week one but I’m having trouble answering question two and three.  I did the reading and took notes but I’m still not grasping the concepts in regards to the Freudian theory. I would appreciate any assistance you can provide”.  If your question is clearly stated, your instructor will be able to better address your concern. Finally, always include the title and section number for your course in the subject line of your email.

Responses: If your instructor does not reply to your email in a timely manner, check to be sure that your email was sent from your NOVA email, consider contacting your instructor during office hours or through the discussion board (if it is not a personal concern). You can also try resending your email indicating, ‘Time Sensitive’ in the subject line. In the body, write, ‘I am writing to follow through on the email referenced below.”

Do no get lost in your class – if you are feeling lost or confused with an assignment, lesson, or concept, contact your instructor right away! For additional assistance in your online classes, feel free to contact the ELI Success Coaches. They can assist you with time management, academic resources or study strategies to include free online tutoring for ELI Students. Please contact your ELI Success Coach at ELISuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Ten Tips to E-Mail your Instructor

Need to email your instructor and not sure where to start? These ten easy to follow steps will help you get that email written and the send button hit in no time!4805341351. Use your NOVA student email account to send your email. All correspondence relating to your courses should come from and go to your NOVA email address. Email messages originating from other email addresses may go directly to your instructors SPAM folder and go unnoticed.

2. Make your subject line meaningful. Your instructor likely teaches multiple courses and may even teach on other campuses. Include the course and section number along with a quick description of why you are writing your instructor.
An example might look like this:
Subject: PSY 200-E05W, Question about grade calculations

3. Briefly and politely state the reason you are writing. Be sure to include all of the relevant information pertaining to your question and leave out anything that does not relate directly to the situation.

4. If you are writing your instructor because you have a problem, include a proposed solution in your email. The instructor may or may not agree with your suggestion. Regardless, it does demonstrate to your instructor you are taking the initiative to actively work towards resolving the situation.

5. Sign your email with your complete first and last name along with your student ID number.

6. Read through your email to check for spelling and punctuation errors. Make sure all of your sentences are complete and do not contain any abbreviations or other modified text that is used in text messaging.

7. If your email is lengthy, have a second set of eyes proofread your email for clarity. This will be an opportunity to make sure you have clearly articulated what it is you wanted to say.

8. Send your email.

9. Allow adequate time for a response from your instructor. Many ELI instructors also teach campus based courses so they are not always sitting at their computer in their office. Often you will find information in the syllabus relating to how soon you should expect a response from your instructor.

10. Once you have received a response from your instructor, acknowledge it. A simple “Thank you” may be all that is needed. If your instructor asks you questions in their response to your email, be sure to answer all of them thoroughly.

This post was adapted from www.wikihow.com/Email-a-professor by the ELI Success Coaches to help you develop skills to effectively communicate through email to your instructor for the February focus on communication. ELI Success Coaches can be reached at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076.

Motivational Minute: Reach out to your Instructor

Unlike an on-campus course, students in an online course may complete the entire course without any interaction with their instructor and student must establish a virtual relationship with instructors.  Students may be a bit unsure about how to navigate this new virtual student-instructor relationship and may hesitate to email an instructor when the need arises. Instructors can offer students unparalleled guidance on the course policies, assistance with course content, and course-specific resources.  Here are some things to consider when reaching out to your instructor: things there is a delay in response time, and some students find verbal communication much easier.

Establish communication early. Reach out to your instructor at the start of the course and introduce yourself. You can locate your instructor’s contact information in your course Blackboard and in NOVA’s online faculty directory here.

Be thorough in your  communications. Because there can be a delay in response time when emailing and calling instructors (instructors have up to 2 business to respond to students), the process of getting assistance can be prolonged by asking multiple questions multiple times. To avoid this, be sure to include all the information you need in your initial contact with the instructor and ask your questions clearly and concisely.

Keep records of your interaction. Using written forms of communication with your professor can serve as a great reference to return to for future use. It’s always good to establish the habit of having a hard copy of all email communications in school and in your professional life.

Facilitate respectful communication with your instructor. Try to facilitate a dialogue of mutual respect and avoid using abrasive, accusatory, or otherwise aggressive language in all communications with instructors. Review tips on emailing your instructor for more tips!

Distance learning doesn’t have to be marked by a distance between professors and students. Reach out to your instructors, they’re here for you! Namaste.

Jennifer, ELI Success Coach

ELI Success Coach Team 703-764-5076 and elisuccess@nvcc.edu.

Being an Advocate for your Success

As a student there really is no one better to ensure your success but you. Therefore, there is no better advocate for your success than you! Students have the ability to shape their educational experience by using their voices to speak on their own behalf. When a situation calls for self advocacy, it is always good keep the following tips in mind:

Start with your instructor. Many issues can be handled by simply reaching out to your instructor (i.e. grading, difficulty with course material, problems submitting exams and assignments, etc.). Try to facilitate a dialogue of mutual respect and avoid using abrasive, accusatory, or otherwise aggressive language in all communications with instructors. Review tips on emailing your instructor.

Don’t be intimidated and understand that your voice matters. Sometimes speaking up can be an intimidating task. Students may fear being unjustly persecuted by an instructor if they raise an issue against the instructor. Sometimes it’s more comfortable to rely on others to handle matters or to ignore issues completely, but there are times when you are the person from whom action is required and pretending the problem does not exist does a disservice to you and your education.  If the difference between enduring maltreatment and having an enriching learning experience is you speaking up for yourself, then it’s time to be vocal and let your needs be heard.

Be knowledgeable of your role, responsibilities, and rights as a student. Students have a responsibility to be knowledgeable of the student handbook, codes of conduct, student grievance policy, course policies, etc. When situations arise, you need to be clear on all rules, regulations, and policies related to your issue. You wouldn’t want to raise a stink that could have been avoided by researching school policy. An informed student is an empowered student.

Access your resources. Any time you are not sure how to approach a situation, are uncertain who to address your concerns with, etc., reach out to your support staff for advice, resources, and assistance.  Contact the ELI Success Coach team and they can point you in the right direction at 703-764-5076 or elisuccess@nvcc.edu.

Understand that  not all change is instant and not everything will have the outcome you desire. However, remember that your education is a cause worth advocating for. Namaste.

-Jennifer, ELI Success Coach

What does a snow day mean for your ELI courses?

With winter here it is important to be aware of NOVA’s inclement weather policy and know what that means for your ELI courses.  Staying informed will allow you to plan accordingly and stay safe! NOVA makes it easy for you to stay up-to-date in the event of an emergency closing or delay. snow dayIf the College is closed or delayed due to an emergency or inclement weather, a text alert will be sent to cell phones registered on NOVA Alert, a notice will be posted on the home page of the College’s website, and a message will appear on our cable television station as well as several local radio and television stations. The College also uses several media sources to announce delays and closings. The Emergency Preparedness website provides more information as you are planning ahead.

What does this mean for your ELI class?

All in-person class sessions, and in-person labs will be canceled or delayed based on NOVA’s announcements. If you are planning to take an exam at the campus testing center, you will want to note that any closings or delays will affect campus testing center hours. Campus closing and delays will affect all campus offices, tutoring centers, and libraries.

Keep in mind, even when the college is closed, you can still log into Blackboard to access your ELI courses.  A snow day is the perfect time to work on assignments and get ahead. If you have a live, virtual session scheduled, that meeting may still take place. Be sure to check your student email and blackboard announcement section to find out if the closing or delay will affect your ELI course or if due dates have been changed due to the weather.

If you have not already, sign up for NOVA Alert today!

Ten Quick Steps to Emailing Your Instructor

Need to email your instructor and not sure where to start? These ten easy to follow steps will help you get that email written and the send button hit in no time!4805341351. Use your NOVA student email account to send your email. All correspondence relating to your courses should come from and go to your NOVA email address. Email messages originating from other email addresses may go directly to your instructors SPAM folder and go unnoticed.

2. Make your subject line meaningful. Your instructor likely teaches multiple courses and may even teach on other campuses. Include the course and section number along with a quick description of why you are writing your instructor.
An example might look like this:
Subject: PSY 200-E05W, Question about grade calculations

3. Briefly and politely state the reason you are writing. Be sure to include all of the relevant information pertaining to your question and leave out anything that does not relate directly to the situation.

4. If you are writing your instructor because you have a problem, include a proposed solution in your email. The instructor may or may not agree with your suggestion. Regardless, it does demonstrate to your instructor you are taking the initiative to actively work towards resolving the situation.

5. Sign your email with your complete first and last name along with your student ID number.

6. Read through your email to check for spelling and punctuation errors. Make sure all of your sentences are complete and do not contain any abbreviations or other modified text that is used in text messaging.

7. If your email is lengthy, have a second set of eyes proofread your email for clarity. This will be an opportunity to make sure you have clearly articulated what it is you wanted to say.

8. Send your email.

9. Allow adequate time for a response from your instructor. Many ELI instructors also teach campus based courses so they are not always sitting at their computer in their office. Often you will find information in the syllabus relating to how soon you should expect a response from your instructor.

10. Once you have received a response from your instructor, acknowledge it. A simple “Thank you” may be all that is needed. If your instructor asks you questions in their response to your email, be sure to answer all of them thoroughly.

This post was adapted from www.wikihow.com/Email-a-professor by the ELI Success Coaches to help you develop skills to effectively communicate through email to your instructor for the February focus on communication. ELI Success Coaches can be reached at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076.

#DigitalCivility

"Duty Calls" comic by http://xkcd.com
  -"Duty Calls" by Randall Munroe
             Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Generic License

We regularly hear about the harassment and bullying that occurs within social media. In fact, a Pew research study has found that “60% of internet users said they had witnessed someone being called offensive names.”  So what can you do to make the internet a safer place?

image of Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People Can Triumph over Haters, Trolls, Bullies and Other Jerks by Andrea Weckerle e-book cover
from safaribooksonline.com

The book “Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People can Triumph Over Haters, Trolls, Bullies, and Other Jerks” by Andrea Weckerle offers great advice for handling conflict over the web.

The author offers a “30-Day Action Plan for restoring civility to your corner of the digital world.”1 Here’s some of what you will learn:

    • “Master the foundational skills you need to resolve and prevent conflict online
    • Stay cool and effectively manage conflict in even the highest-pressure online environments
    • Differentiate between what people say and what they really want
    • Create a positive online footprint—or start cleaning up a negative image
    • Recognize online troublemakers and strategize ways to handle them
    • Manage your own anger—and, when necessary, express it online safely and productively
    • Strategically manage others’ online hostility and frustration”1

Interested in learning more? Visit NOVA library’s website (http://www.nvcc.edu/academics/library) to read this e-book and to find other resources on the topic. As always, if you need assistance please contact the ELI library at ELI-Library@nvcc.edu.

#DigitalCivility

 1. Excerpted from safaribooksonline.com

This Week at ELI!

February’s focus on the blog is Effective Communication Skills. Throughout the month we will post topics and have guest bloggers related to improving and fine-tuning your written communication. Coming up on Wednesday, we will have a blog from the ELI Success Coaches giving you 10 tips to emailing your instructor. What are challenges you face with communicating with your instructors?459065569Tuesday, February 10 from 12:15 – 1:15 pm – Participate in a Transfer Planning webinar. It’s never too early to begin your planning to transfer another institution. This one-hour webinar will discuss the basics of transfer planning; information about Guaranteed Admission Agreements, Articulation Agreements, and Transfer Guides; and a web tour of NOVA’s transfer website. Register or request a recording here.

While enrolled in courses, you may want to register for NOVA Alert to get emergency related messages, including closures due to inclement weather. Campus closures will affect all campus offices, including the testing centers, tutoring centers, and campus libraries.

Northern Virginia Community College has contracted with Tuition Management Services (TMS) to process electronic financial aid disbursements to students who are entitled to excess financial aid after all institutional charges for tuition, fees, and books have been paid. You have the ability to receive excess financial aid disbursements in as little as one to two business days, depending on your choice. For more information and to register, click here.

This week at ELI!

Today, Monday, February 2nd is the start date for the 2nd 8-week courses. Do you have courses starting today? Do you have access to your course in Blackboard? Any Blackboard questions? Check out Blackboard tutorial tips here.516356269

Monday, February 2 from 12:15-1:15pm – Participate in an ELI Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar 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 here.

Wednesday, February 4 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm – Participate in an Focus on Your Career Planning Webinar – This 30 minute webinar will introduce students to FOCUS 2 an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system.  The system can help students select a program/major based on their interests and aspirations, discover occupations matching their personal preferences and attributes, map out their career plans – present and future, and make informed career decisions. Register here.

While enrolled in courses, you may want to register for NOVA Alert to get emergency related messages, including closures due to inclement weather. Campus closures will affect all campus offices, including the testing centers, tutoring centers, and campus libraries.

February’s focus on the blog is Effective Communication Skills. Throughout the month we will post topics and have guest bloggers related to improving and fine-tuning your written communication. To kick off the topic, we recommend the Effectively Communicating Online Student Lingo video. What are challenges you face with communicating in your online courses?