Tag Archives: student story

Honoring Veterans Day

Below is an ELI student spotlight post from Army veteran Evette in honor of Veterans Day.

American Flag display commemorating national holiday memorial or veterans dayCongress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance national holiday, 11th of November as Veteran’s Day.

As an Army veteran, I look back at the time which I served my country with gratitude. My patriotism and willingness to serve and my sacrifice for many of years.  Take time to recognize soldiers, veterans, and families of soldiers who are away from their family.

RIP to my veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Veteran’s Day is not just a day off, honor veterans who had defended and continue to defend our country!

– Reach out to families of fallen soldiers and soldiers who remain in harm’s way today.

– Visit Veteran’s in Nursing Home, Wounded Warrior Hospital (Fort Belvoir, Va.), and veteran’s in the hospital.

– Most of all, recognize veterans everyday not just Veteran’s Day.

Remember, never forget our debt of gratitude to our brave men and women.

evette-1

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 an 8-week course

Today’s blog post is written by a former ELI Student when they enrolled in their first 8-week course. Spring registration for all students begins on Monday, November 14, 2016. Follow this tutorial to search NOVA’s online courses.

Are you thinking about taking an 8-week course this spring? This blog is for you! Find out all the tips and tricks to preparing for an 8-week course.

I’m enrolling in my first eight-week course. This got me thinking about how it might be different from the sixteen-week format I am used to. Succeeding in an online course always requires good management of time. I must carefully balance school, work, and personal responsibilities. When the online class is an eight-week course, I am thinking that managing these elements will become much more critical.

Summer spring backgound with stack of books and open book and bokeh. Back to school. Open book fanned pages. Copy Space

Since an online sixteen-week course should take three hours of coursework per credit each week, an eight-week online course should take six hours of coursework per credit each week. For a three credit class, that works out to as much as an 18-hour a week part time job! Because of this, I decided to take only one class at a time until I see how I can integrate this workload with my work and other responsibilities.

I expect that the deadlines will also come quickly. Just eight days into my course, I will already be at the refund deadline, forcing me to decide whether or not I can handle the workload and get the grade I want or to drop the course and try the longer format another semester. Making sure I am comfortable with the pace of the course work is key to the first week!

Because of this, I’m planning on logging into Blackboard on the course start date and completing the first assignment quickly. I’ll also need to look over the assignments and syllabus and see if I have any questions. Usually, I think for two or three days before I email my instructor, but with this course, I expect that if I have questions, I’ll need to email the instructor immediately—procrastinating even a few days would probably not be a good idea.

I’m really looking forward to the pleasant feel completing the course quickly. I’ll get to feel the sense of accomplishment which keeps me motivated that much faster. I’m also telling myself I can deal with almost any schedule for two months—so it actually feels much more flexible than the traditional four-month courses. I’ll let you know if my opinion changes once the course actually starts.

How many of you have already taken a six or eight week course? Do you have any advice for me? I would love to know a little more about what to expect!

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.

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.

Top 5 student budget-friendly vacations

These are my top 5 destinations for the young professional on the move. Most of these vacation getaways won’t break the bank, as we know most newly employed graduates and young professionals have yet to begin divesting completely into their company’s 401k program. Check my top 5, let me know what your top 5 destinations are for budget-friendly vacationers.Miami skyline from the airplane

  1. San Jose, Puerto Rico, U.S. – NO PASSPORT REQUIRED. This island state is actually a territory of the U.S., so no passports are needed and U.S. dollars are accepted. The ‘State’ language is Spanish, while American English is widely spoken. The American citizens here are always happy to see there brothers and sisters from stateside.
  2. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (D.R.) – Coming in at number two, is the beautiful half-island nation of D.R. which shares is western border with Haiti. Off the beaten path are towns such as Santiago and Boca Chica, where tourists are greatly appreciated and can dance into the wee hours of the morning. Hotels in the area range from $40-80 a night with no reservation. An all-inclusive 5 days, 4 night stay here will run you around $825 on the budget side and passports are required.
  3. Various Mexico Destinations – Its Mexico. With it being a mainstay in American college culture as a destination for spring break. Almost any location in Mexico (outside of violent drug corridors) is a great place to spend on a budget vacation.
  4. San Jose, Costa Rica – This place is super budget-friendly. I have already traveled while still on active duty in the military. The people, the culture, and the weather will have you wanting more. There are beautiful beaches on both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Costa Rica is situated between the once infamous Nicaragua (General Noriega) to the North and Panama to the South. This Central American country also has a lush rain forest in the highlands.
  5. Port-Au-Prince, Haiti – This rounds out the top 5 vacation getaways for young professionals who are on a limited budget. If an individual is willing to brave travel to a country which as a limited infrastructure you will more than double your entertainment investment. The people are friendly and the culture is rich. Once I relocate my passport, I will be sure to book a vacation to Haiti.

These vacation getaways are for individuals on a budget but are also tired of the normal Miami Beaches, N.C. / S.C. Beaches, Las Vegas, etc. Get out there and explore the world before you no longer desire to.

*Pricing information credited to Priceline and Travelocity.

Article by ELI Student, Mikaal Pratt

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.

ELI Student Spotlight

The Be SAFE Around Water Campaign

My name is Abigail and I am a competitive swimmer, swim coach, and lifeguard. Teaching people, particularly children, how to swim is my passion. Drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 15. By educating children on what to do if they fall in the water we could play a part in saving lives. I visited over 200 kids at various organizations, such as church and VBS groups, and gave my presentation.

The Be SAFE Around Water Campaign is designed to give children simple steps to follow if they fall into water. I created an acronym of the word “safe” to give children something easy to remember.

Be Safe Around Water (002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be SAFE Around Water

Stop. When you approach water stop and look around for an adult or lifeguard. If no one is around then do not enter the water or go near the edge of the water.

Ask. If you accidentally fall into the water call out and ask for “help” as loud as you can.

Float & kick. Kick your feet and get your head above the water. Then push your belly up and lay on your back so that you are floating. Then kick your feet to the nearest wall or land.

Exit. Exit the water and go tell an adult or lifeguard what happened.

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.

First day 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!

Preparing for an 8-week Summer course

Today’s blog post is written by a former ELI Student when they enrolled in their first summer 8-week course. Summer registration for all students begins on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Follow this tutorial to search NOVA’s online courses.

I’m enrolling in my first eight-week course this summer. This got me thinking about how it might be different from the sixteen-week format I am more used to. Succeeding in an online course always requires good management of time. I must carefully balance school, work, and personal responsibilities. When the online class is an eight week or six week course, I am thinking that managing these elements will become much more critical.

Summer spring backgound with stack of books and open book and bokeh. Back to school. Open book fanned pages. Copy Space

Since an online sixteen week course should take three hours of coursework per credit each week, an Eight-week online course should take six hours of coursework per credit each week. For a three credit class, that works out to as much as an 18-hour a week part time job! Because of this, I decided to take only one class at a time until I see how I can integrate this workload with my work and social schedule.

I expect that the deadlines will also come much faster. Just eight days into my course, I will already be at the refund deadline, forcing me to decide whether or not I can handle the workload and get the grade I want or to drop the course and try the longer format in the Fall.

Because of this, I’m planning on logging into Blackboard on the course start date and completing the first assignment quickly. I’ll also need to look over the assignments and syllabus and see if I have any questions. Usually, I think for two or three days before I email my instructor, but with this class, I expect that if I have questions, I’ll need to write the instructor immediately—procrastinating even a few days would probably not be a good idea.

I’m really looking forward to the pleasant feel completing the course more quickly. I’ll get to feel the sense of accomplishment which keeps me motivated that much faster. I’m also telling myself I can deal with almost any schedule for two months—so it actually feels much more flexible than the traditional four-month courses. I’ll let you know if my opinion changes once the course actually starts.

How many of you have already taken a six or eight week course? Do you have any advice for me? I would love to know a little more about what to expect!

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.

Cultural Differences of South Korea

graves_photoEver wonder what it is like to move to a different country? Meet our ELI Student Blogger, Lydia as she shares some of the cultural differences she has experienced taking NOVA online classes while living abroad:

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone and moving to a completely different country is quite overwhelming and shocking. However, just as astounding, it can be an equally or even more intriguing, eye-opening experience.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, I had never been to South Korea despite being Korean-American. However, while balancing American traditions, my family and I maintained a Korean lifestyle by following its culture. With all of this, though, my knowledge of the “real” East Asian culture was limited. Thankfully, my Korean perspective has dramatically changed ever since I moved to the *Kimchi-loving country in 2011. As I still live in Korea to this day, there are so many cultural differences that I have yet to discover, but here are just a few that fascinated me the most.

*Kimchi is a traditional spicy pickled/fermented napa cabbage side dish that is served with almost every Korean meal.

  • Education:

When I first arrived in Korea, I was completely shocked when I saw a group of students wearing their school uniforms walking so casually in the city at 11pm. Considering only the American education system, I did not understand why they were not at sleeping at their homes. Starting with the basics, education in Korea is significantly different than that in the United States. Korean education mainly focuses on memorization along with very long periods of studying. Generally, a Korean high school student would stay at school for about 8 hours, and spend another 3-6 hours at afterschool private cram academies called hagwons. Most students live this intense, rigorous lifestyle in order to receive a preferable score on the college entrance exam (offered only once a year); the results of the exam determine which university students will attend.

  • Beauty Standards:

Being beautiful or becoming beautiful is a little bit more important in Korea. Every time I sit inside a subway, browse a Korean website, or simply wander around the cities, I see at least one advertisement about plastic surgery. Most advertisements present before and after pictures of what really looks like two entirely different people. High beauty standards have made it very common for even young school students to get the double eyelid surgery. Also, skin tone and head size matter. Specifically, many Korean women prefer having light, pale skin tones and smaller sized heads. This surprised me because while I lived in the states, most of my American friends did not care too much about head size and actually wanted to be tanner.

  • Public Transportation:

Because I lived in suburban areas of the United States, I would always commute to places by car. Even though Koreans rely on cars, many more use the incredibly fast public transportation system. Public buses, taxis, subways, and trains are much more practical and easier to access in such a highly populated and small country (roughly the size of Kentucky). The best part of the system is that people can access it wherever they are and literally go anywhere in Korea. There are also free Wi-Fi services in many of these public areas!

Being a border dweller, I found myself growing as an individual who has been absorbing and living by both the American and Korean culture. In this day and age, I think it is essential to become more open-minded and willing to learn about the endless aspects of the world and its diverse cultures.Thankfully, living in Korea for the past five years has done just that. I am more than excited to further develop my multicultural knowledge as I continue to explore my Korean-American life.

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.

First Day of Class 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!

Making It Through The First Semester

Today’s post is provided by student blogger Eunice! She just finished her first semester and has some tips to share with fellow and future online students. Have any tips? Share in the comments!

The thought of furthering my education had been hanging on for a long time due to some personal constraints. It appeared there was no end in sight to those challenges, but I knew that in the long term, further education was the solution to those challenges. For that reason, I went ahead to register for my first semester of classes.

My goal to return to school has finally materialized, but I’m aware of the challenges so I’m not going to be complacent. As a single mother, I still have to work to provide for my family’s livelihood. I still have to find time to do things with my teenage daughter. But I have to persevere with my studies because I know it is a pathway to a career I have long hoped to pursue and which will provide me with better financial security in the long run.

Most of my relatives are highly educated and have good jobs. I have always felt the odd one out. While the decision to go back to school is mine and is about my own future well-being, I’m grateful to them for their encouragement. They have been very supportive in that decision and throughout the first semester.

Although it is still early days, I feel I can see light at the end of the tunnel, because I have enjoyed my studies in the first semester and I have come to realize I can still get on with my studies despite the challenges. Besides, after so many years of staying away from formal education, I believe I’m still capable of applying myself to my studies. I feel a sense of pride in what I have been able to achieve so far in the midst of all the challenges and now there is no turning back. I certainly look forward to the study period ahead.

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it, and if you can dream it, you can become it” – William Arthur Ward

If you are interested in sharing your story on the ELIfe blog, contact elistulife@nvcc.edu!