Community Service Spotlight of the Month

kanga 3In our efforts to encourage and create a more civilly engaged community, each month we will be highlighting community service opportunities available and accessible for any student, no matter your geographic location!

Here is a unique service opportunity that benefits our global community!

Recently, parts of south Australia experienced some pretty harsh brush fires that injured several species of wildlife including koalas and various marsupials. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)  is looking for volunteers to help these animals recover.

After releasing photos of Koalas with burn injuries to their paws, the organization has already received several pairs of cotton mittens made to help in the healing of these koalas. Now, The IFAW is asking for assistance in making pouches for orphaned marsupials such as baby joeys and opossums. This is where you come in! If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can make your very own pouch to send to these animals in need! Find the directions on how to make these pouches and where to mail them to in the below link. Not the most arts and crafty person? No worries, you can still donate to help the cause (details in below link as well.)

Koalas Whose Paws Were Injured In Fires Have Plenty Of Mittens Now — But Kangaroos Need Help

Complete Your Goals with the S.M.A.R.T. Approach

Today’s goal setting blog post is brought to you by the Student Success Coaches. Do you have any questions about goal setting, time management, or resources available to you? Contact your Success Coach at or 703.764.5076 for tips for success and resources to help you have a successful semester.goal setting Are you feeling defeated, before you even get started, when trying to achieve a new goal? Do you feel like it is trying to climb a mountain? Do you find that your current method of writing down goals such as, ‘buy a new car’, ‘get my own apartment’ or ‘get my degree’ is not working? If you answered, ‘yes’, it is time to get motivated and adopt the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting approach. Unlike an undefined goal such as, ‘get my degree’, the S.M.A.R.T. approach enables you to clearly define a plan and stick to it. If you are not familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. process, it stands for:

S- Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic, T – Time-bound (timely)

The S.M.A.R.T. approach will put you in control. It will provide a better vision, motivation and promote your confidence as you see your goals coming to life. For starters, ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve”? Let’s say you want to complete your degree. Using the S.M.A.R.T. framework,

  1. Specific Goal: I want to complete my Associates Degree in General Studies within the next 3 years.
  2. Measurable Goal: With this specific component of the process, you can measure your progress by the credits you complete which will ultimately result in the degree. If your goal is to complete a degree, you could write up your measurement, ‘I will complete a maximum of 15 credits each semester and no less than 6 until my A.S. Degree is completed’. As you complete each class, you will watch the credits grow! Be flexible, if you need to take less than 12 credits some semesters, you will still accumulate credits and move forward.
  3. Attainable/Achievable: Make sure you will be willing to stick with your goal and be in control. Do not take on more than you can accomplish. Ask, ‘have others done this successfully’, ‘do I have the necessary resources, skills and abilities to achieve this goal’? Plan and make sure there will not be stumbling blocks that could defeat you and do not be afraid to ask for help!
  4. Realistic: Make sure that you will be able to complete your goal. Don’t take on more than you can handle which may result in overwhelming yourself and giving up.
  5. Time-bound: Set an end date to achieve your goal and consider setting up check points along the way. For example, after attending classes for a year, check to see how many credits you have completed. Are you well on your way or you need to adjust your goal and add an extra semester? That’s okay! In the end, setting a manageable timeline will help you stay motivated and on track.

Don’t let your goals paralyze you, stay flexible, and don’t stress if life interferes and you need to make alterations along the way. Stick to the S.M.A.R.T. approach that will guide you down the road to success! To help develop your goal, click on this S.M.A.R.T. goal questionnaire. If you are more of an auditory learner, click here, for a well-developed YouTube video that explains and outlines the S.M.A.R.T. process.

Research Series: The 5Ws of Good Web Resources

image of a Checklist

The 5 W’s to Determine Good Information:

Although this is simplified, asking the following 5 questions will help you determine whether the information you are using is good information or bad information. If someone is providing good information you should be able to answer all 5 questions. If you can’t answer one of the questions or the answer you get isn’t satisfactory, it might not be good information to use.

1. WHO – Who wrote or published the information? Is it someone you have heard of? Is it an organization that you are familiar with?

2. WHAT – What are the author’s credentials? Are they clear about their experience in the subject and how they relates to the topic they are writing on?

3. WHEN – When was the information published? Is it the type of information that changes overtime (Think: Medical Information)? Or is it the type of information that stays the same (Think: History)?

4. WHERE – Where did the author get their information? Are they properly citing their sources? Are they clear on where their facts, statistics, graphs, etc. are coming from?

5. WHY – Why are they publishing this information? What is the author’s motivation? Are they showing a bias?

Need more help deciding if the information you’ve found on the web is appropriate for academic work? Contact the library at NOVA Happy Searching!

This Week at NOVA Online!

Happy Monday! How’s the weather in your area?!

snowToday, Monday, January 26th is the start date for the 2nd twelve-week courses. Do you have courses starting today? Do you have access to your course in Blackboard? Any Blackboard questions? Check out Blackboard tutorial tips here.

Monday, January 12 from 12:15-1:15pm or Wednesday, January 28 from 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Participate in an NOVA Online Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar will focus on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services. The NOVA Online Orientation is highly recommended for students who are new to online learning. Register or request a recording here.

Wednesday, January 28 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm – Participate in an 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. Register here.

While enrolled in courses, you may want to register for NOVA Alert to get emergency related messages, including closures due to inclement weather. Campus closures will affect all campus offices, including the testing centers, tutoring centers, and campus libraries.

Resource: Student Lingo –  Student Lingo provides a series of interactive on-demand, on-line workshops action plans, and valuable resources focused helping students achieve their academic, personal, and career goals. Topics included are: Time Management, Test Taking/Text Anxiety, Study Skills/Time Management, Writing a Paper and more!  This is an excellent resource – each topic is only about 30-40 minutes that you can easily start and stop.

ToBeMe@NOVA: Veteran/Active Duty Military Students

For the month of January 2015, NOVA Online is highlighting the unique experiences of NOVA’s Veterans/Active Duty Military Students, including active duty, veterans, military dependents, military spouses, etc. We are asking our Military Students to share what it’s like to be a student at NOVA while being a member of this remarkable population. Over the next two weeks, we want to hear about how you balance the call of duty with accomplishing your personal, academic, and professional goals, how your veteran status is impacting your experience in and out of the classroom, how deployment, that of yourself or of a significant other, impacts your academic concerns and performance, etc.

Please respond to this post with your comments and experiences. You may also post your response on NOVA Online’s Facebook and NOVA Online’s Twitter pages with the #ToBeMe@NOVA after your comment.

***Please make sure all comments are appropriate for an academic setting. Please refrain from posting obscenities, profanity, and otherwise offensive remarks***

Be on the look out for Veterans/Active Duty Military resources for students, faculty, and staff on the next ToBeMe@NOVA posting on Feb. 6, 2015!


De-stress as you move into Advising Week

Winding down from one semester, and planning for your next can be a significant adjustment. With the demand of approaching deadlines, it is easy to get overwhelmed in the blink of an eye. As you move into Advising Week, we want to provide you with some resources to help you unwind, and refocus on preparing for your next step.

Yoga has more benefits than I can list but the ones I want you to take advantage of right now is it’s capacity to reduce anxiety and stress. Taking time to stretch and twist the body, releases chemicals that our bodies naturally produce when stressed. Beyond the physical movements, yoga has a meditative component that ignites your inner strength in a way that will empower you to tackle any obstacle, help you maintain peace when feeling harried, and turn down the volume of the loud voice of self-doubt. iStock_000052315416_Large

Incorporating yoga into your daily practice has been made easy with the use of technology. Here are some free apps you can download today that can jump-start your yoga practice! There is no greater obstacle to overcome than your own mind, feed it with positivity and it will help you accomplish great things! Namaste.

YogaQuote: Gives you daily inspirational yoga quotes and mantras.

Daily Yoga: Gives you live training with  videos and a professionally made yoga program for you to follow without needing to go to a gym. This app even has yoga to help you de-stress at your desk (great to do right before writing a paper)!

As you move into Advising Week, continue to follow ELife for tips on:

  • Familiarizing yourself with resources to help you with your academic planning.
  • Focusing on your career planning.
  • Checking to make sure you are on the right path to achieve your goals.
  • Gaining skills outside the classroom.
  • Taking some time for reflection.

Article provided by NOVA Online Success Coach, Jennifer Reed.  For more resources, please reach out to your NOVA Online Success Coaching Team by sending an email to


More Than Just a Holiday: Celebrating MLK Jr.

This Monday, January 19th we remember and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Although we might be off from work and school to observe this day, it is important to reflect on the importance of this holiday in history of the United States, and the impact Dr. King had on this community our country’s civil rights movement. How can we honor the ideals of this great contributor to history?

Here some ways you can take some time to observe this holiday:

If you are in the Northern Virginia area, join the movement in giving back for the 6th Annual NOVA SERVES: MLK Day of Service. The service event will take place on Monday, January 19, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Alexandria Campus.

For more details visit
How much do you know about Dr. Martian Luther King Jr. and his contributions to the African-American community as well as our country? Take a few moments to check out this great documentary:
Do you have any other suggestion how how to observe this MLK Jr. Holiday? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!


Blackboard Tip: Tutorials

Confused as to how to submit an assignment or use the discussion board in Blackboard? Check the Blackboard Tutorials in your course menu.

Blackboard MenuThe Blackboard Tutorials menu button is available in every NOVA Online Blackboard course site and provides a list of “how to” tutorials featuring the tools in Blackboard 9.1. This You Tube channel will also provide you with a variety of short videos to help you succeed this semester!

View this video, to help you better understand how to submit an assignment. Don’t fall behind. Make sure you are reading through the syllabus section and using the Overview of Assignments as a guide.

There is also an overview to help you understand how to post a discussion board post.

Remember, in most NOVA Online classes, once you submit your assignment or discussion board post, the submission is final. The only way to go back and edit is to ask the instructor for permission. Make sure to spell check, proof read, and edit!

Motivational Minute: Pushing Toward your Goals

By now you are settling into the new year and I want to help you keep the momentum going in a BIG way! I’m sure you have set some new goals for the new year so take advantage of the opportunities  that will propel you forward toward your goals.  Let this be the time when you push yourself past all the limitations you set for yourself last year, last week, last night and see through the lens of possibilities and imagine them into reality. Get a clear picture of what you want for yourself in the future and all of your steps will be aimed at  creating it for yourself. If you don’t have a clear picture of what that future looks like, surround yourself with people who contribute to making you a better person and let them inspire the change you are capable of. NOVA Online has people here that can help you define your plans and future! Reach out to your NOVA Online Counselors and NOVA Online Success Coaches to talk about your goals and come up with a plan for carving out the best path to achieving them. You can go as far as your mind and effort can take you. How far will that be for you? Namaste.

Jennifer, NOVA Online Student Success Coach

NOVA Online Counselors:

NOVA Online Success Coaches:

Learn More About The Man And The Movement This MLK Holiday

King, Martin Luther mlk jr 4 Martin Luther King / Photo / 1961
 Martin Luther King  Media Preview Held For The Martin Luther King National Memorial  mlk jr 2

This Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, learn more about Dr. King and his legacy.

Here is a landmark interview with Dr. King filmed in 1957:

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Look Here

image of the documentary Martin Luther King Jr.: Look Here

We also recommend this e-book for more information:

image of book cover for Becoming King: Martin Luther King, Jr. And the Making of a National Leader




Becoming King : Martin Luther King, Jr. And the Making of a National Leader


To access these items, use your myNOVA username and password when prompted. For more resources on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, please visit the library’s website or contact us at NOVA