Tag Archives: First Year

Get ready for your first day of spring classes!

As you are preparing for your online courses, it is important to keep in mind the importance of attendance and participation. In fact, your attendance and participation is not just important, it is required. 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 Monday, January 9, you may not see your course in Blackboard until that day. If you are scheduled for a later starting ELI course (January 30, February 20, etc) you may not see your course until closer to that start date.

As soon as your class begins, log into Blackboard and explore your course in Blackboard. 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 semester. 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completed and submitted your first assignment prior to the First Assignment Due Date to avoid being administratively withdrawn from your course.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 semester begins will also give you the opportunity to identify any unexpected issues and provide ample time to ask any questions you might have. These short videos will help you navigate Blackboard.

If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, join us for an ELI Orientation Webinar. You can also contact the ELI Student Success Coaching Team at 703-764-5076 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.

Join us for an ELI Orientation webinar

Are you enrolled in your first online learning course this spring? 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.

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. 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. Instructors make courses available 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.

The web conference tool we use at ELI is Blackboard Collaborate. You can test your connection ahead of time by following the steps in this ELI Student Blog post.

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.

Tips from a former ELI Student

Today’s blog is provided by student blogger Aly! Aly has taken a combination of on-campus and online courses throughout her time at NOVA and graduated from NOVA this summer. Aly has provided current and future ELI students with some tips to help students get started in fall classes.

If you are anything like me, trying to keep up with the obligations and requirements of a college course can become somewhat of a task – quite especially if you are enrolled in an online course. Participating in an online course means that, as a student, you will be given much more responsibility over your progress and performance in the class. Not to say that students who attend in-person lectures have it any easier, but I have learned through my experience that not having a professor to meet with on a regular basis required me to be much more attentive to the structure of the class. This includes knowing what the due dates are for assignments in the course, maintaining a study plan, forming a relationship with the instructor, checking email regularly, and preparing for exams.

To help guide you to successful completion of your online course, I have included several measures that I found useful for keeping me in tip-top shape throughout my online course. Below is my recommended approach to staying up-to-date and prepared, not only throughout the semester, but throughout your entire academic experience as an online student:

Knowing Assignment Due Dates

  •  Review the syllabus. This is perhaps the most important element of achieving success in an online course. As an ELI student, I was always sure to do this on the first day of the course (or even sooner if my instructor opened the course in Blackboard a few days early). This allowed me to become familiar with the structure of the course, and also helped me form an understanding of what my assignments throughout the semester would require (i.e. amount of time, research, etc.).
  • Keep a planner or calendar containing assignment due dates. Admittedly, taking the time to write down each and every assignment into a planner or on a calendar can seem rather tedious and redundant. However, you’ll be thanking yourself for doing so in the long run. By including your due date in a planner or on a calendar, you are essentially creating a second reminder for yourself aside from the course syllabus. Also, wherever you decide to write down these reminders, make sure that you do so in a place that you frequently view. I have always found setting automatic reminders on my cell phone (or another electronic device), and including a link to the course syllabus to be very helpful!
  • Make habit of going over the syllabus at the start of each week. Again, this too might seem particularly redundant – especially since you have already taken this measure at the start of the course. By making habit of this practice, you will be able to assure yourself that you are less likely to miss assignment deadlines and you set yourself up for a successful week.

Forming a Relationship with your Instructor

  • Send the instructor an email at the start of the course. As a student, this is this best way to address any initial concerns that you might hold in relation to the course. I have also found that sending my instructor a friendly email at the start of the semester to be a good practice to follow in introducing myself and becoming acquainted with the instructor. In doing this, you are showing your instructor that you are dedicated, as this will also make it far easier to approach your instructor in the future if need be. You can obtain your instructor’s contact information by referring to the quick start syllabus that you received in the postal mail prior to the course start date.
  • Voice your questions or concerns. There is always the chance that new questions or concerns may pop-up throughout the entirety of the course. In this case, do not hesitate to contact your instructor once again. When sending an email make sure to use your VCCS student email, sign your full name, and use your course information in the subject line (ex. SDV 100 – E60L).

If you ever find that you are having difficulty getting in touch with your instructor, or encounter an instructor that is unresponsive to your emails, visit the webpage for NOVA’s Student Services Division to be placed in contact with an individual who can help you resolve this matter.

Checking Emails and Blackboard Regularly

•  Make use of your student email account. This is perhaps the most commonly neglected aspect of being a student. While this task is important for every student to make habit of, it is especially important for ELI students to do so. Keep in mind, that as an ELI student, a majority (if not all) of the communication between you and your instructor will be via email. Instructors frequently send out announcements and assignment updates by email.

Overall, I have learned that checking your student email account (username@email.vccs.edu) and Blackboard on a regular basis is essential to success as an ELI student.

Preparing for Exams

  • Review what is covered on the exam and study accordingly. Again, as you will not be meeting with your instructor for in-person lectures, it is necessary to make note of important course dates. This includes course exam dates, which I have learned are best to prepare for at least a week in advance. Also, be sure to refer to either your syllabus or Blackboard for what is to be covered on each examine, as your instructor will not always remind you!
  • Plan ahead for how you will take your ELI exams. All ELI courses require proctored exams or assignments. A proctored exam means the exam will need to be supervised by a testing administrator. You can take your proctored exams at any NOVA campus testing center, at a testing location in your area if out of the Northern Virginia area (VCCS Testing Center), or through ProctorU if allowed for your course. More testing policies can be found on ELI’s Website.

In providing this brief overview, all ELI students must also keep in mind that proficiency and achievement in each course heavily relies upon effort, dedication, and determination on the student’s behalf. With this being said, this post has provided students with a general outline of practices to follow in developing a strong foundation for academic success.

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.

Preparing for your first day

Do you have an online course starting on Monday? Getting anxious to get started? Not sure what to expect? We have some tips for you!

As you prepare 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

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 Monday, August 22, you may not see your course in Blackboard until that day. You may also see one course open earlier than another course. That’s ok! Just keep checking for all your courses and make sure you log in at some point on Monday to make sure you have access to your courses.

If you are scheduled for a later starting ELI course you may not see your course until closer to that start date.

Have you attended the ELI Orientation Webinar? Join us to learn more about getting started, navigating Blackboard, taking exams, and virtual support resources available to you!

Take a look at the Webinars available to you – there are recorded and live sessions that might be of interest as you are getting started.

As soon as your course 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.

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.

Are you ready for your first day? Join us to learn more!

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 website. 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.

The ELI Orientation webinar is a live, one hour online instruction session geared for students already enrolled in courses. The webinar will focus on getting started, navigating your Blackboard course site, taking online exams, identifying tips for success, and highlighting student support services. 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. Instructors make courses available 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.

The web conference tool we use at ELI is Blackboard Collaborate. You can test your connection ahead of time by following the steps in this ELI Student Blog post.

This webinar will not satisfy the Student Orientation requirement for the Start Strong Policy at NOVA. Need help enrolling? Participate in a Student Orientation at any campus or online through ELI.

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 703.323.3347.

Start Strong at NOVA!

Welcome to Northern Virginia Community College’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI)! We are dedicated to helping you start strong. Whatever your educational goals, we can help you achieve them. If you are a first-time-to-college student, ages 17-24 (including high school/homeschool/GED graduates), you will want to follow the Start Strong at NOVA.

start strongThe new polices are part of an effort to strengthen the NOVA experience. Five of the new policies affect first-time-to-college students (ages 17-24). New students are required to attend a Student Orientation and meet with a First Year Advisor. As a new ELI student, you can attend a campus Student Orientation, or you can work with ELI virtually to get started.

As you are getting started, utilize your Student Success Planner to help guide your academic goals throughout your NOVA degree. You will also need to take the SmarterMeasure assessment early to help you gage your readiness for online learning.

The sixth policy requiring on-time registration impacts all students: new, current, transfer, international, military or any other type of student. All students must be registered for classes by 11:59 p.m. the day before the session’s start date. Once the session begins, registration is closed.

If you are not enrolled in a class on the start date of the session you will not be able to enroll without permission from the division dean. If you miss on-time registration you can still register for later start date. ELI has several start dates each semester, for students interested in starting a class later in the semester. Check out ELI Critical Course Deadlines for more information. For more information about on-time registration view this video.

Join us for an ELI Orientation webinar

Are you enrolled in your first online learning course this spring? 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.

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. 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. Instructors make courses available 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.

The web conference tool we use at ELI is Blackboard Collaborate. You can test your connection ahead of time by following the steps in this ELI Student Blog post. http://blogs.nvcc.edu/elife/2014/06/16/how-to-log-into-a-blackboard-collaborate-session/

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.

SmarterMeasure: Typing Speed and Accuracy

SmarterMeasure logoA student does not have to be an expert typist to succeed in a course. However, the faster you can type and the fewer errors you make will impact your ability to participate in your courses.

The average workplace typist reaches about 50 to 60 words per minute. The average web surfer comes in at around 30 words per minute, at a peak. Many courses require you to type as you participate in discussion boards, email the instructor, and compose papers. If you type slower than about 20 words per minute, you should consider using a resource such as www.learn2type.com.  This resource is the leading FREE Web site that helps you master the skills of touch typing. Whether you’re a typing expert or just a “hunt & peck” beginner, the interactive exercises in this Typing Tutor automatically adjust to your skill level. The better you get, the more challenging the typing exercises become. You can come and go as you please and pick up the typing lesson where you left off.

To obtain log-in information for the SmarterMeasure assessment, email EliSuccess@nvcc.edu from your VCCS email account. Once you complete the SmarterMeasure assessment, you can find more information in the ‘Assessment Summary’ section.

SmarterMeasure: Reading Recall

SmarterMeasure logoThe average adult reading rate for English prose text in the United States is around 250 to 300 words per minute. Research shows that reading is around 25% slower from a computer screen than from paper. Thus you may slightly increase your results to find your speed when reading from paper.

Student Lingo offers an on-demand workshop titled Reading Comprehension Strategies that you can watch to help develop your skills. Take advantage of resources available to you including Student Lingo and your Student Success Coach, just to name a few!

To obtain log-in information for the SmarterMeasure assessment, email EliSuccess@nvcc.edu from your VCCS email account. Once you complete the SmarterMeasure assessment, you can find more information in the ‘Assessment Summary’ section.

SmarterMeasure: Technical Competency, Skills, and Knowledge

SmarterMeasure logoIn order to participate in class, a student must have some way to get to the classroom. A student in a traditional class may drive a car on a highway to attend class, but a student in an online course “drives” a computer on the Internet (the Information Highway) to “attend” class. Technical competency is important, but if you do not score high in this area, don’t worry! The ability to comfortably learn is what is most important. You will want to gain comfort in navigating the blackboard course site so you can submit assignments, post on the discussion board and select folders so you don’t miss any course work.

A multitude of resources exist on the internet. Those listed in the technical competency summary are just a small sample of what is available in terms of information or tutorials on the topics focused on in SmarterMeasure. Some of these sites are free; a few require a subscription or fee. To find more or different information beyond these sites, feel free to perform your own web search.

You can run the System Check which is found in the Welcome message of each Blackboard course site to see what tools you will need for your online course, and make sure your computer is up to date.

Also, check out the Blackboard Learn app on your mobile device to connect with your class. You cannot complete your entire class on the app, but can access a lot of the folders and use it to stay up to date on announcements and assignments.

To obtain log-in information for the SmarterMeasure assessment, email EliSuccess@nvcc.edu from your VCCS email account. Once you complete the SmarterMeasure assessment, you can find more information in the ‘Assessment Summary’ section.