Research Series: Finding Articles in Library Databases

Did you know that NOVA Libraries gives you access to thousands of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles that are housed in over 100 databases? The good news is it’s pretty likely that we have information on the subject you are researching. The bad news? It could be a little overwhelming.

This short 5 minute video will introduce you to library databases and give you some search tips.

NOVA Online-Searching Library Databases

And, as always, if you need help finding information or using any library resources, we’re here to help. E-mail your NOVA Online Library staff at NOVA

Digital Open 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! This week, March 9-13 is National Open Education Week, check in with the blog, and follow  or @openeducationwk on Twitter for more.Mobility conceptNOVA 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.

ToBeMe@NOVA: First Generation College Students Resources

I would like to thank all those students that shared their experience and let us get a glimpse of what it is like to be a First Time Generation College Student at NOVA. Below you will find tips and resources for students and faculty to help enhance the experience of First Time Generation College Students at NOVA.

For Students:

Be an advocate for yourself. Being the first to attend college, you may have to learn about college life on your own. Much of your success will depend on the initiative you take to get things done. You will have to seek out the information you need in many instances and be prepared to do the necessary follow through to get what you need accomplished.

Ask questions and follow through. Don’t be intimidated by what you do not know and ask questions whenever you are unsure. Learning to ask the right questions is an invaluable skill that will serve you well throughout your matriculation at NOVA and beyond and you can start practicing it now.

Use your student support services. You don’t have to stumble through college making mistakes as you go simply because you don’t know where to start. You have an entire support staff here to guide you. If you have questions about where to begin, are uncertain who to talk to about a specific matter, reach out to our NOVA Online Student Success Team at 703-764-5076 or who can point you in the right direction. If you would like to get information on campus, click here to learn the resources available at the student services center at your nearest campus.

Learn from the experiences of others. Find a mentor, friend, family member, etc. that can help coach you through what adjusting to college life is really like and give you information on what to expect. Getting the perspective of another student or former student can offer you an outlook that talking to a staff member cannot always provide.

For Faculty:

Be mindful of students balancing multiple responsibilities. Many students pay for school out of pocket and have to work full-time or part-time jobs to fund their education. It is always helpful to have instructors that understand the importance and demand of working while in school and that are flexible with students, when appropriate. Sometimes simply communicating that you acknowledge and respect their other responsibilities can be enough to help students feel more comfortable to reach out when mitigating circumstances arise.

Keep lines of communication open with students. Invite students to reach out to you with any questions they may have. You can be a great resource for your students and, often, a great referral source.

Acknowledge that this is a very diverse group of students. These students come from families that may not have college degrees but they may be entrepreneurs, career military, skilled tradesmen, or other professionals that worked their way up without a degree. So often it seems that the term “first generation” is used broad based to mean students who have lots of risks to success. There are certainly students on all parts of the spectrum and faculty and staff should try to be mindful not to make assumptions about students and get to know them as individuals. Each student comes with their own experiences that make them unique and valuable.

If you would like more resources, please reach out to the NOVA Online Success Team at 703-764-5076 or

-Jennifer, NOVA Online Student Success Coach

Procrastination and Stress: How are they Related?

According to author Eric Jaffe, from the Association for Psychological Science, procrastinators have higher levels of stress and lower levels of well-being1.  Procrastination is defined as the voluntary delay of a task for which an individual knows they will suffer. While it is said that everyone “procrastinate[s], not everyone is a procrastinator.”1

Mounting assignments and exams to study for can cause the most ambitious student to become a procrastinator.  Students are a leading culprit of procrastination.  This can be contributed to the number of responsibilities on a college student’s plate – work responsibilities, family responsibilities, and personal responsibilities may all cause a college student to procrastinate on their school responsibilities.  Many times, procrastination is the “result of putting off their work to pursue more pleasurable activities”1.  If a person has a “poor concept of time”, this is sure to exacerbate ones willingness to procrastinate1.

Jaffe further indicates procrastinators earn lower grades than other students and procrastinators report higher cumulative amounts of stress and illness1. As one may imagine, the work produced and the well-being of procrastinators is known to suffer due to their intentional delay. Individuals who procrastinate have heightened levels of anxiety1. WebMD states that some stress can be good because it can keep us alert and motivated2. But too much stress can make us sick. A person “constantly under stress can have physical symptoms, such as headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, and problems with sex and sleep”2. “Stress is also known to lead to emotional problems, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.”2

So, how do you avoid procrastinating?  See a list of suggested tips below:

  1. Plan your time. Use a day planner or an electronic calendar to schedule time to complete tasks you know you are likely to put off.
  2. Set a daily or weekly goal or to-do list for yourself. Make it your goal to complete these items by the end of the day or week.
  3. Reward yourself. If you complete a task early, treat yourself to a special sweet treat or outing.
  4. Stressed? You will not be able to think clearly if you are stresses about other things. Dr. Gamal Aboshadi, teaches PED 116 at NOVA Online and at the Annandale Campus. Take a moment to review a short video he created on stress relief/breathing techniques.
  5. Take the Overcoming Procrastination: Causes And Cures quiz on Student Lingo to see if you are a procrastinator.

Do you need help managing your stress and staying organized? Reach out to your NOVA Online Success Coach at or 703.764.5076. Your Success Coach can help you map out your semester and provide tips to help you have a successful semester.

1. Jaffe, E. (2013, April 13). Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from

2. Goldberg, J. (2014, October 13). How Stress Affects Your Health. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from

This Week at NOVA Online

Happy March, NOVA Online! Hopefully the warm spring weather isn’t far behind! How are your NOVA Online classes going? Any Blackboard questions? Check out Blackboard tutorial tips.

Join NOVA Online’s Book & Cinema Club! Read the book, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, watch the film, and join us for a discussion! #NOVA OnlineBookClub

Wednesday, March 4 from 12 – 12:45 pm – Participate in a 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. Registration is required.

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. What a snow day means for your NOVA Online courses? Find out on this recent blog post.

Resource of the Week: If your mid term or final exams are quickly approaching, we strongly encourage checking out the Student Lingo recorded workshop entitled, Taking Tests Online: Strategies For Success.