Tag Archives: online learning

National Online Learning Day!

National Online Learning Day is Friday, September 15 and we want to celebrate you all 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/correspondence 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 some options 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, 10-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.

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.

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.

On your first day!

Is today the first day of your online class? Not sure where to start? How to get started? What time to log in? Let us know. Are you readyVisit the ELI Student Blog for tips for success in online courses. Specifically read through Critical Course Deadlines and Preparing for your First Day for tips for success.
  1. Any time today – 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. If you are enrolled in more than one course, go through each course syllabi in detail. Review the overview of assignments and take notes in your planner.
  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. Look ahead to see if you have any real-time meetings or virtual office hours you won’t want to miss!
  6. Have you already attended the ELI Orientation Webinar? If not, check out a session this week.
  7. Establish a Routine! All online classes, regardless of session length, are based on the full 16-week course material; 12, 8 and 6 week courses will move at an accelerated pace.
  8. 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.
  9. Let ELI staff know if you have any questions. Use the contact form, or contact your Student Success Coach at ELISuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

Good luck in your online course. Make sure you check your VCCS student email regularly so you don’t miss any announcements. Let us know if you have any questions!

Critical Enrollment Dates

Not sure what the critical enrollment dates mean? Learn more so you don’t miss any important deadlines! Calendar planning conceptOne assumption some online students make is that all ELI courses are self-paced. To that end, students may put off getting started and learn that their instructor has withdrawn them for not meeting course deadlines. Don’t let this happen to you!

It is very important to understand that most ELI courses have weekly or even mid-weekly due dates. There are critical enrollment dates, that include your First Assignment Due Date – requiring you to log into your Blackboard course site and complete your First Assignment by the assigned due date. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in being administratively dropped from the course without a tuition refund. ELI courses may be 16, 12 , 8 , 6, or 4 weeks in length; each course has specific start, refund, first assignment due date, withdrawal, and end date that you should be aware of when you select a particular course. View the critical enrollment dates early and know your options.

You can also view your critical enrollment dates by visiting your class schedule in your Student Center.

After selecting “My Class Schedule” in your Student Center account view the calendar link under “deadlines” for each course. (See photo below)Critical_Deadlines

In addition to logging in and completing your first assignments (as referenced in your Quick Start Syllabus and Blackboard Course Site), ELI courses also have weekly or mid-weekly assignment deadlines.

When taking an ELI course, it is important to understand that assignment due dates as well as test and quiz due dates come quickly. Due dates are firm and in some ELI courses, assignments and tests/quizzes are sometimes removed after the due date.

To be successful in your course:

Read through your course syllabus on the first day of class. Understand all the deadlines that apply to your course and record them in your planner.

Establish a Routine – Visit your Blackboard Course Site daily and read all of your emails and announcements.

Make Note of your Course Deadlines, and turn your assignments in on time.

If possible, take your test prior to the testing deadline—you never know what might come up at the last minute!

To ensure that you understand the ELI course deadlines, know your course specific critical course deadlines and review the important dates to include refund date, first assignment due date and last day to withdraw with a grade of ‘W’.

Make sure to look for emails from the Student Success Coaches – elisuccess@nvcc.edu – that will give you reminders of specific upcoming dates and helpful tips for success throughout the term. You can always reply to their emails with any questions you have, or give them a call at 703.323.3347.

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!

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.

SmarterMeasure Assessment

Thinking about an online course through ELI, but not sure if it’s the right fit for your learning styles? Take the SmarterMeasure Assessment to learn more!

SmarterMeasure Logo

SmarterMeasure is an assessment that measures learner readiness for Northern Virginia Community College’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI). SmarterMeasure is an indicator of the degree to which online learning and/or learning in a technology rich environment will be a good fit for you.

SmarterMeasure is meant to be an interesting experience by which you may learn more about yourself, online learning, and how to succeed! Your SmarterMeasure score will not prevent you from registering for online classes. Take your time to rate yourself honestly. It is a tool that will help you assess your strengths and opportunities for growth related to online learning in 6 areas.

1. Life Factors
2. Individual Attributes – procrastination, time management, willingness to ask for help, academic attributes
3. Learning Styles – what is your predominant learning style?
4. Technical Competency, Skills, and Knowledge
5. Reading Rate and Recall
6. Typing Speed and Accuracy

You will receive a full color report immediately following the completion of all areas of SmarterMeasure. You may email this report, print it, or download and save for future reference. It also provides some resources related to each area of the assessment. For more information about SmarterMeasture, review the SmarterMeasure Assessment Webinar.

If you are visiting Northern Virginia Community College Extended Learning Institute and would like to determine if online learning is right for you, please use the following login information:

Log into: http://nvcc.smartermeasure.com/ (Login as First Time User on the right side of screen)

Username: Online Learning Webinar (Select from drop down)

Password: Eli123 (Case sensitive)

Please note that this information is for your use and instructors are not expected to make special accommodations for students based on SmarterMeasure results. If you think you will need additional educational accommodations please reach out to ELI Counselors at elicounselors@nvcc.edu for any further assistance on acquiring such accommodations.