Motivational Minute: Being Thankful

peace from a distance comicWe have a tendency to think the grass is always greener on the other side. Assuming that others have everything together because everything looks great from a distance. Rarely do we take the time to see what standing in that grass is really like. It’s easy to assume everything is perfect for someone else when you never take a closer look.  Sooo for this Thanksgiving of 2014, I present the following simple challenge: Ask someone, “How are you?” and let it be more than the automatic, detached question it commonly is. Instead, let it reflect a genuine interest in their wellbeing. We never really know what’s going on with another person unless we ask with genuine interest in knowing. Let’s take the initiative to draw closer to those around us and be thankful for the opportunity to do so. Happy Thanksgiving. Namaste.

–Jennifer, NOVA Online Student Success Coach

Research Series: Search Strategies

In a previous Research Series post, we learned to identify keywords for our research. Once we have our keywords, then we can begin searching a database.

In order to find information in a database, you must create a search string. A search string is a combination of keywords and search operators (e.g. AND, OR, *) that tells the database the information you want to receive. Here are a few tips:

1. Use quotation marks ( ”  “ ) around phrases (two or more words); this tells the database to look for the words in a specific order.

global warming

2. Put the word AND between each new keyword or phrase; this tells the database to look for resources with ALL your keywords.

“global warming” AND atmosphere

3. Put the word OR between two or more keywords to find articles that use common synonyms for your topic.

“global warming” OR “climate change”

4. Use an asterisk ( * ) to find multiple versions of one keyword.  For example, using pollut* as a search term will include results that refer to pollute, pollutes, polluted, polluting, and pollution.


Here are some examples of search strings in two NOVA databases:

Proquest Research Library

image of this search string in Proquest Research Library database: ("global warming" OR "climate change") AND atmoshpere

Academic Search Complete

image of this search string in Academic Search Complete database: "global warming" OR "climate change" AND pollut*

As always, if you need more help creating a search string or anything related to research, please contact the NOVA Online Library. Happy searching!

#ToBeMe@NOVA Series: Employed Students Resources

working student2working student

I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their experience of what it’s like to be an employed student at NOVA.  NOVA Online is dedicated to creating an educational environment that appreciates and acknowledges the individual experiences of its diverse population of students, faculty, and staff and below are some resources and helpful tips for students and faculty that could help foster such an environment for our employed students.

Tips for Students and Faculty

For Students:

Prioritize:  If school is most important, cut back on your hours at work (if possible). If work is most important, take fewer classes.

Make yourself take time for yourself: You have to carve out space between work and school for you to enjoy your life. Don’t forget that life is meant to be lived and it’s more than deadlines, paychecks, bills, and assignments.

Successful planning and time management: Contact NOVA Online Success Coaches at or call 703-764-5076 for help with time management, planning, and a host of other resources and services.

Communicate with your instructor: Talk often and early about your work schedule, scheduling conflicts, etc. Your instructor may be willing to provide you with special accommodations.

For Faculty:

Open the door for communication: Invite students into the conversation about their concerns about work and school. Posting a statement on Blackboard is a good start.

Acknowledge the importance of the students’ other life responsibilities:  Create an environment of understanding and free of ultimatums.

Offer resources:  Empathize with your students and link them with assistance (i.e. tutoring resources, resources to help with work/school balance, etc.) that you would find useful if you were in their shoes. Your wealth of knowledge and life experience can be of great use to students.

Resources for Students

NOVA’s Career Services website – this website provides information about the career development process and connects individuals to resources pertaining to self-assessment, career exploration, decision making, and finding employment.

College Central Network – this resource includes a database of current, full-time, part-time, and contractual jobs posted by employers interested in hiring NOVA students.  Individuals can create and post their resume online.  This resource also includes a national job board, career articles written by industry professionals, career videos, and career advice podcasts.

CareerOneStop – this website provides information about occupations and industries as well as state labor market information and resources.

Monster – this resource includes an online job board as well as resources on a variety of areas to include resume advice, interviewing tips, and career advice by industry.    Individuals can create and post their resume online.  Individuals interested in articles about starting a new job, leaving a job, work-life balance, and workplace issues should take a look at the “In the Workplace” section.  Individuals interested in reading articles about getting promoted or changing careers should take a look at the “Career Development” section.  Both sections are located within the “Browse Career Advice” area of the “Career Resources” section.

If you would like more one-on-one career counseling, please contact NOVA Online Career Counselor, Christy Jensen at

–Jennifer, NOVA Online Success Coach

Digital Open NOVA Online Courses

Have you started thinking about your schedule for next semester? Are you interested in taking a class that doesn’t require you to purchase any textbooks or course materials? A Digital Open NOVA Online class might be right for you!

NOVA Online offers several online courses that do not require students to purchase textbooks or other course materials. Digital Open courses use free online material and Open Educational Resources (OER) instead of expensive textbooks. You can try one or two Digital Open courses, or even complete an entire AS degree track. Instead of requiring traditional textbooks, all readings and materials used in the courses will be available to students free of charge online as OER, or through NOVA’s library resources.

Are you ready try one of NOVA Online’s Digital Open courses? Just look for the notification in the notes section in the online schedule of classes stating: This is a digital open course. No textbook purchase required.

Save time and money with a Digital Open course at NOVA Online! For more information about registering for one of NOVA Online’s Digital Open courses, contact the NOVA Online Counselors at or 703.323.2425.

Resource Review: Opposing Viewpoints

image of an umpire referring betwen two menDuring your time at NOVA, you may be asked to write about a controversial issue. For example, a teacher assigns an argumentative essay assignment on global warming. To begin your research, start with the Opposing Viewpoints in Context database.

The Opposing Viewpoints in Context database offers opinion/editorial articles on each topic as well as academic, reference, magazine, and website articles. Use this database to understand different perspectives on debated topics in both your academic and personal life.

If you need help using this database, contact the library at NOVA Happy searching!

screen caption of the Opposing VIewpoints database

This week at NOVA Online

To celebrate National Career Development Month (NCDM), we are posting quotes on Twitter throughout the month. What is your favorite quotes? Leave a comment and let us know!

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. -Confucius

Conducting a Job Search Webinar: This 45 minute webinar will focus on basic strategies for conducting a job search. Topics covered will include creating a plan, identifying sources of job leads, and resume, cover letter, and interview basics.

Preparing for Finals Webinars – Are you ready for Finals Week? NOVA Online can help you prepare! The How to Prepare for Finals webinar will focus on topics and strategies to help ease anxiety and help you study smart such as: Early preparation, planning your approach and taking the exam.

Spring Registration is underway! If you have any questions about enrolling in the correct classes for the spring semester, contact the NOVA Online Counselors at 703.323.2425 or

National Distance Learning Week

To mark National Distance Learning Week this week, we wanted to take the opportunity to share with you 10 things you might not know about NOVA Online.NDLW1.    23,000 NOVA students taken online courses through NOVA Online each year.

2.    NOVA Online offers more than 500 different online courses, so whatever field you’re in and whatever degree requirement you’re working to fill, you can probably find it at NOVA Online!

3.    NOVA Online courses and NOVA Online faculty win national awards every year.

4.    You are not alone when you take a NOVA Online course – you will interact with your professor and with your classmates through discussions, group assignments, and more.

5.    NOVA Online staff provide lots of services to support you in your online courses, too, including 24/7 free online tutoring, an online librarian, 24/7 technical support, student success coaches, and much more.

6.    NOVA Online offers monthly start dates 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 NOVA Online. Check out the list here:

8.    Not sure whether an online course is right for you? You can take the Smartermeasure assessment to find out!

9.    NOVA Online 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 NOVA Online students take classes on campus as well as NOVA Online classes; combining the two can be the perfect way to get to your degree as quickly as possible.

Happy Distance Learning Week to all our NOVA Online Students. If you have any questions, contact the NOVA Online Student Services Team at 703-323-3347 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.

Happy National Career Development Day!

image of magnifying glass over a paper highlighting the word careerIn celebration of National Career Development Day join NOVA Online for a Focus on Your Career Planning  webinar today from 12:15 pm – 12:45 pm.

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. The webinar is free, but registration is required.  Unable to join us?   Visit the FOCUS 2 website to learn about the system.

Research Series: Identifying Keywords

image of a word cloud

What is a keyword?

A keyword is the main idea of your topic.

Why do we use keywords?

When doing research it is important to focus your search. Keywords can help you do this. Once you identify keywords for your topic, you can also identify synonyms or related terms to help you find more information. Finally, library resources produce better results when you use keywords.


Let’s say that your research question is this:

“What is the connection between running and weight loss among teenagers?”

Using this example, we might decide that our keywords are:

running, weight loss, teenagers

Some similar terms to use include:

jogging, aerobic exercise, cardiovascular exercise, fat loss, weight change, teens, adolescents, youth, high school students, college students

Need Help?

If you need help identifying keywords for your topic, please contact the NOVA Online Library (NOVA Happy searching!

This week at NOVA Online

Happy Veterans Day! The online advocacy center shows how we can use the power of social media to support and enlist others in the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors.

451846227National Distance Learning Week– Join NOVA Online to celebrate the tremendous growth and accomplishments occurring in online learning programs. Follow our social media sites to find out more about our online student social and trivia to win NOVA Online goodies!

Check your Student Email for the NOVA Online Bulletin Board – NOVA Online’s Newsletter! We encourage you to take a look through the newsletter learn more information about what is happening at NOVA Online.

Tuesday, November 11 from 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Are you a first-time college student ages 17-24? Start Strong at NOVA – Attend a required online Student Orientation to gain information about NOVA Online and register for classes.

Wednesday, November 12 from 12:15 -1:15 – Focus on Your Career Planning is a 30 minute webinar that 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.

Plan Ahead: Preparing for Finals Webinars – Are you ready for Finals Week? NOVA Online can help you prepare! The How to Prepare for Finals webinar will focus on topics and strategies to help ease anxiety and help you study smart such as: Early preparation, planning your approach and taking the exam.