NOVA Online Testing Tips: Campus Testing Center

When taking your exams, the NOVA Online Student Services Team encourages you to follow the tips outlined below:

Be Prepared – Begin reviewing and studying well in advance. If you need assistance locating helpful study resources, contact your Student Success Coach at or call 703.764.5076.

Campus Testing Center Guidelines

  • Do not wait until the last minute to take your exam(s). If you are able, we advise that you take your exam early. Not only will you avoid long lines, you many also avoid a last minute unforeseen emergency that could prohibit you from getting to a testing center.
  • Verify the Testing Center Hours before you go, and make sure you look at the start times “NOVA Online/Faculty Referred/VCCS Proctored Exams/SDV Able” as well as the office hours for the testing center. All exams are collected 15 minutes prior to the closing of the testing center.
  • Do not forget to bring your completed Exam Pass for each exam and a photo ID. You may print your exam pass from the “Taking Exams and Using Exam Passes” section of the Syllabus button in your Blackboard course site.
  • Be prepared to stow your personal items, not permitted during your exam, including your cell phone (that must be turned off), in the manner required by the testing center (generally in a locker). Simply placing your phone on “silent” is not enough. You are not permitted access to anything other than your exam while testing, unless expressly stated in the exam instructions.
  • If your exam is not working properly in Blackboard (ex. unable to type in a textbox, audio files not working, images missing) or if you feel your exam did not submit properly, please notify testing center staff immediately so they may help you troubleshoot the problem.
  • If you are taking multiple exams, you will be required to go through the line for each exam that you are taking.

Be aware of the parking policies at each NOVA Campus. If you do not have a parking pass, you will need to pay by the hour when you are on campus. You can view the parking policies.

The better prepared you are, the more relaxed you will be and the better your testing outcome.

If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact the NOVA Online Success Coaches at or call 703.764.5076.

Good luck on your exams!

(Updated 8/23/17)

Do you know where you will take your NOVA Online exam?

All NOVA Online courses require at least two proctored exams or assignments. There are a couple of different ways to do this, depending on where you live, and what courses you are enrolled in.


If you are in the Northern Virginia area, you are expected to take your exams at one of the six Campus Testing Centers. Each campus has a testing center, and it doesn’t matter which one you go to throughout the term. When you go to the Campus Testing Center, you will need to take your course Exam Pass and a Photo ID (your drivers license or other government issued ID will work, or your NOVA Card). Your course Exam Pass can be found in the Syllabus Section of your course. These are course and exam specific.

If you are out of the area, or planning to be out of the area at any point during your course, you will need to request a proctor using a Proctor Request Form. Please be sure to read the form carefully and submit it in a timely manner. It takes 3-5 business days for these forms to be processed so, don’t wait until the day before the test!

A third way to take an exam is by using a service called Proctor U. ProctorU is an online proctoring service that allows you to take your exams from your home computer, using a web cam and microphone. There is a fee for Proctor U, and currently it is $7.50. Proctor U is not available for all NOVA Online course, to see if is an option for your course, please check the Taking Exams and Using Exam Passes in the Syllabus Section of your Blackboard course, or ask your instructor. You must be 18 or older and meet minimum technical system requirements to use ProctorU. The specific requirements are listed on the ProctorU website.

It’s not too late to register for a summer course

Although summer courses have already begun, it’s not too late to register for a NOVA Online course. If you have not signed up, we have two more upcoming course start dates/sessions to fit your schedule:

  • 2nd 6-week session: Monday, June 30, 2014 through Sunday, August 10, 2014
  • 3rd  4-week session: Monday, July 14, 2014 through Sunday, August 10, 2014 (MTT 1 only)

The following courses are available:

•    ENG 112 E88N – 6-week session, starts June 30, 2014
•    HIS 101 E85L and E86L – 6-week session, starts June 30, 2014
•    HIS 102 E86L – 6-week session, starts June 30, 2014
•    HIS 112 E85L – 6-week session, starts June 30, 2014
•    MTT 1 E95L – 4-week session, starts July 14, 2014

It is important to understand your course length and critical enrollment dates for your NOVA Online course.  Each course has specific start, refund, first assignment due date, withdrawal, and end dates that you should be aware of when you select a particular course. NOVA Online course dates and descriptions can be found by following this link. Your course will also have specific weekly or mid-weekly due dates.

For a comprehensive list of our summer courses, follow this link.  If you need assistance with your course selection, contact a NOVA Online Counselor at or 703.323.2425.

Once you have registered, you must pay your tuition by 5pm on the next day to prevent being dropped from your classes.

Join NOVA Online on social media for announcements, updates and tips for success. If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, you can contact the NOVA Online Student Services Team at 703.323.3347 or at NOVA 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.

An important notice about Pearson’s digital solutions

On Saturday, June 28th, all Pearson digital solutions, including MyLab and Mastering, will be offline for maintenance from 3:00 AM EDT until 1:00 PM EDT / 08:00 BST until 18:00 BST (GMT+1).467304707

Please subscribe to this article to receive email updates on this maintenance event and associated downtime, as well as a notification of when you can access Pearson digital solutions.

We apologize in advance of any disruption this might cause for your summer courses. If you have any questions, you can contact the NOVA Online Student Services Team or your course Instructor. The NOVA Online Student Services Team can be reached at 703.323.3347 or NOVA Your course instructor will be a great resource as well.

Are your career plans in FOCUS?

As you plan your fall schedule, prepare to transfer, or get ready to begin a new job take a moment to focus on your career development.Job OpportunityAre you attending NOVA to pursue a certificate or degree, but unsure about what career options might be available to you? Have you decided on a major, but have difficulty answering the question – “What can I do with a major in _____? Do you need to fine tune your skills or add to your skill set in preparation for a career change? Learn more about career options by utilizing FOCUS 2, an online interactive self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

Select a major based on your interests and aspirations

  •  Discover occupations matching your personal preferences and attributes
  • Map out your career plans, present and future
  • Make informed career decisions

FOCUS 2 is free for NOVA students. Access the system at NOVA’s Career Services website.

Simply click on the FOCUS 2 button, create your free account, and begin your exploration.

Also check NOVA Online’s webinar schedule for offerings of the Exploring Career Options webinar. This 45 minute webinar will focus on using various online resources to research career options. The relationship between programs of study at NOVA, college majors, and career options will be discussed. Resources presented will provide information on nature of work, educational requirements, job outlook, and wages.

Need some help?  Have a question?  Contact Christy Jensen, NOVA Online Career Counselor, at

How to Log into a Blackboard Collaborate Session

A webinar is a live, online instruction session using a web conferencing service called Blackboard Collaborate. You can participate in a webinar from any computer or mobile device with reliable, high speed, Internet access. NOVA Online offers several webinars throughout the semester and some NOVA Online courses have live, virtual meetings. You might also have the opportunity to meet with your instructor via Blackboard Collaborate for Virtual Office Hours. 

Whether you are using Blackboard Collaborate to access a class session, meet with an instructor for office hours, or participate in an NOVA Online Webinar, the instructions below will help guide you.

You can test your connection in advance by visiting Behind the Blackboard and clicking on “Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing” under “First Time Users”. 

If you are attending a NOVA Online Webinar, you can register by following the link to the NOVA Online Webinar pageOnce you register for a session, you will receive an email with a link to join the session live. Click the link provided to access the live session. If you are using a mobile device, you will be directed to download the app first. All times understood to be Eastern Standard Time, unless otherwise noted.

If you are attending a live class session, you will locate the link in the tools section of your Blackboard Course Site.

The first time you log in, you will need to download the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher. BbCLauncherDownload the Launcher – save the file and select “join”.

Once you open the link, you will be asked to enter your display name. Please enter your first name and the first initial of your last name (ex. Katie A.). Note that all participants will see your display name.Join_BbC_Session_2Once you enter your name, you will be taken to a site like the one below. Make sure your browser security settings will not block this site from downloading to your computer.
Join_BbC_session_3A new window or message will pop up asking whether to open or save the file. For Firefox, make sure that Open with is set to Blackboard Collaborate Launcher (default). Then Click OK. For Internet Explorer, click Open.BbC_Launcher

The file should download and automatically open for you. You will see a window like the one below. Make sure you allow this application to run on your computer.

Join_BbC_session_7Once you run the application, you will see the download begin. This may take a few minutes.

Join_BbC_session_6A screen like below will pop up and you will know Blackboard Collaborate is loading.

Join_BbC_session_8Once you are in the live session, you will be able to run your audio check and participate in the presentation. Plan to log in at least 10 minutes before your scheduled session, to give yourself enough time to load Blackboard Collaborate and run the audio check and troubleshoot any issues you may have.

To view the hardware and software pre-requisites for Blackboard Collaborate please visit Behind the Blackboard.

To view a video to help you get set up using Blackboard Collaborate, follow this link.

Geoscience Field courses at Annandale

It’s summertime, and that means one and two-credit Geoscience field courses are offered at NOVA – Annandale. Consider enrolling yourself! If you have friends or colleagues whom you think might be interested, spread the word.

null1. GOL 135-052N (Index #12879): Miocene Geology of Calvert Cliffs, MD. A full one-day field trip Sat., 6/28/14 (9 AM-6 PM); Rain date Sun. 6/29/14. This one-day trip considers Miocene seas spread across the Chesapeake Bay region ca. 10-20 million years ago. We visit the Calvert Marine Museum collections, and study ancient sediments, stratigraphy, and paleoenvironments preserved along the western shore of the Maryland Chesapeake within the world-famous Calvert Cliffs. An additional $6 museum fee required. NO PREREQUISITES!

2. GOL 299-051N (Index #12031)- Natural History and Environmental Processes of Chesapeake Bay. A full two-day, two-credit hybrid (lecture/field) course (Mon., 7/14/14 on-campus lecture, and Wed., 7/16/14 field trip on the Bay). This hybrid two-day course considers the natural history, environmental processes, and current health of the Chesapeake Bay, our largest estuary. Course includes background readings, on-campus lecture/lab, coastal field studies, and an offshore boat trip on the Chesapeake. Additional $15 boat fee required. This is an introductory-level, multidisciplinary course well-suited to educators. NO PREREQUISITES!

3. GOL 135-058N (Index #12882)- Building Stones and Historic Quarries of Baltimore, MD. A full one-day field trip Sat. 7/26/14 (9 AM-8:30 PM); Rain date: Sun. 7/27/14. This one-day walking and driving tour will visit buildings and monuments of Baltimore Metro area, as well as historic quarries and natural outcroppings of Texas-Cockeysville area. Focus will be the long geologic history of the region, and the rocks used to construct buildings and monuments in Baltimore and Washington, DC. NO PREREQUISITES!

For any and all questions email Ken Rasmussen at:

Have a look at photos from past trips:

NOVA Online Summer Pedometer Challenge


Join The NOVA Online Fall Pedometer Challenge as part of our Health and Wellness Interest Group!

What is it? 

Compete and share experiences with other students by tracking your average daily steps for a month as well as create personal health and wellness goals.

How does it work?  

1) Once you have signed up for the challenge, you will receive a confirmation within 24-48hrs.

2) On June 13th, you will receive access to a Google spreadsheet where you will record your pedometer steps as well as keep track of what types of activity you took part in for the day/week. You MUST provide your VCCS email (the email that NOVA has provided you) to have access the spreadsheet.

3) Pedometer steps will be recorded daily by each participant starting June 16th.

4) The first 50 participants that sign up will be mailed a FREE pedometer to participate/ otherwise you will need to provide your own pedometer.

5) Challenge begins on June 16th and ends at 11:59pm on August 8th. Prizes will be given for several categories including: weekly winners, best average, overall step count…etc)

6) Throughout the challenge, you will added to our NOVA Online Health and Wellness Google group via Google Communities. This will be used for participants to share their progress in the challenge and great health and wellness motivational articles and tips. You can view it here:

How do I sign up?

You can sign up by following this link:

Questions? Contact NOVA Online Student Life at


Create a Google+ Account

Have you created a Google+ account through your student Gmail account?  NOVA Online Student Life hosts several online events that you can participate in by having one.  Check out the below instructions to see step by step instructions:

1) Log into your vssc email from the ‘My Nova’ ( page on the colleges’ website.

2) After logging into your Gmail,  you will then be logged into Google. On the top right of your screen you will see your first name and a + in front of it. Click there.

picture 1

3) You will be taken to a new page (as seen below), scroll down and click the ‘continue’ button. A little pop up will appear and ask you if you are sure you don’t want to ‘follow’ anyone right now. Click ‘continue anyway’. You will receive the option again to add followers after your profile is created.

picture 2

3)  You will now be taken to page to fill out your personal profile. Feel free to add anything to describe you in these fields.  Then hit finish.

picture 3

Once you have completed your account,  You can find us under the unsername NOVA Online to learn more about how you can get involved in our virtual events/activities!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact We look forward to connecting with you soon!

NOVA Online Summer Book and Cinema Club


Do you enjoy reading and looking for a place to share a common read with other NOVA Online students this summer?

Join our NOVA Online virtual Book and Cinema Club. This summer we will be reading/viewing Divergent by Veronica Roth

You are probably asking yourself, how does this work?

This group provides an opportunity for students to connect virtually while discussing book/movie topics. This is done in a few ways:

1)     Contribute to our discussion forum through our NOVA Online Google Community page

2)     Participate on our virtual book chats via Google Hangouts

3)     View a live screening of the movie from your home computer

The Summer Book and Cinema Club will run from June 9th-August 8th For more information on this event, feel free to contact NOVA Online Student Life at

Register here: