Introducing College Central Network (CCN)

NOVA students now have access to College Central Network (CCN). After registering with CCN, you will be able to:

  • Search for jobs posted exclusively to NOVA students as well as search for positions through Jobs Central® national job board and the Intern Central® national internship board
  • Build a resume with Résumé Builder and/or upload a résumé file to Resume Central®
  • Review your job search history within the system
  • Gain access to announcements, upcoming events, career advice documents, videos, podcasts, and career articles
  • Build an online portfolio in Career Portfolio Central®

Follow the steps below to get started using CCN:

  • Access CCN
  • Select “Students”
  • Select “Sign In”
  • Enter your Access ID and Password (Check your VCCS e-mail account for an e-mail with information about accessing CCN)
  • Click “Go”

What feature of College Central Network did you find most useful? Why?

Leadership Webinar Series: Joe Paul

This week’s webinar will be presented by Joe Paul on Thursday September 18th from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm (EST). Register here.

Joe Paul ImageJoe Paul was born in Brooklyn, New York, partially raised in Miami, Florida and is the fifth of ten children who come from Haitian immigrant parents. Joe experienced many of the social ills that continue to plague American society at the tender age of thirteen when he was forced into independence. Joe experienced homelessness, growing up in foster homes and group homes and child abandonment. Although he experienced trials and tribulations early on in his journey, he was determined to finish his high school education against all odds.

After graduating from Miami Central Senior High School, his desire to further his education inspired him to apply to colleges and universities with uncertainty. Although his parents have the equivalence of an eighth grade education they maintained the wherewithal to encourage him to take advantage of his American education; an opportunity that was not afforded to them. He became the first person in his family to earn a college degree when he graduated from Florida State University where he reserved the honor of leading more than fifteen clubs and organizations including Student Government Association as well as serving as one of the few African-American Homecoming Chief in the history of the university. Joe Paul is a former National Brother of the Year as well as Assistant Vice-President for the Southern Region for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

After graduating from Florida State, Joe moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career. He quickly found out that most actors in Hollywood are starving artist so he had to figure out a way to survive. He found solace once he was introduced to the Real Estate industry where he found a passion for helping others to achieve the American Dream of homeownership.

During this time, Joe continued to pursue another passion close to his heart; to inspire others through his touching testimony by motivationally and inspirationally speaking to others and through his writing. This passion encouraged him to leave the daily grind of the corporate world which inspired a move to the Washington DC area where he currently resides and runs his company. Joe Paul has been recognized by community, educational and business leaders including public servants as an outstanding citizen through dozens of awards and recognition.

Currently, he is the CEO of Motive8 corporation; a motivational speaking and corporate training organization. He is also a Professional Speaker, Certified Life Coach, and Blogger through He is the author of “Morning Cup of Joe” and a devoted philanthropist. He respectively served as a board member of The Urban League and currently serves as a board member of the DC Seminole Alumni Association. He is a former national board member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the MLK Foundation and is a current member of the NAACP Washington DC Branch and The Florida State Society of Washington DC. He is also the Founder and Senior Advisor for the “Toys for Boys” Initiative as well as the Chief Proprietor for The Haitian heART Gallery nonprofit organization where he raises funds through showcasing and auctioning Haitian art with the ultimate goal of building schools focused on the arts and humanity in Haiti.

NOVA Online Leadership Common Experience: Week 4

Week 4 blog posts focus on the topic of Job and Career Exploration. The posts for this week are provided by NOVA Online Counselor, Christy Jensen.

186090306During week two of the leadership common experience you learned about the importance of understanding self in the college environment. Self-assessment is also a key element in helping an individual identify an occupation or career that will be satisfying and fulfilling.  All NOVA students have access to FOCUS 2 – an interactive, self-guided career and education planning system that can help you with the following:

  • Select a major/program 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

The “Self-Assessment” section of FOCUS 2 includes assessments in the areas of work interest, personality, skills, and values. After responding to a few questions, you can begin to identify occupations/careers that are consistent with your work interests, personality, skills, and/or values. Be sure to follow-up with me by email or another NOVA career counselor if you have any questions about the assessments or to discuss your results. Students using FOCUS 2 for the first time will need to create an account. This is a simple, quick process. Learn more and get started with FOCUS 2.

While there are many resources available to help you explore career options, two additional ones I would like to highlight are your instructor/professor and the Exploring Career Options webinar.

During week three of the leadership common experience Instructor Hatheway shared – “If this course is in an area that you are considering pursuing as a career, ask your instructor for her/his insider knowledge, tips, resources, and so on. Teachers are nothing if not passionate about their subjects and desirous of helping students develop into the professionals they want to become.” This was an excellent suggestion as your instructor/professor can provide you with a first-hand look at the field. Not sure where to begin the conversation? Two questions to get started – How did you get started in <insert area/field of interest>? What advice would you give to someone interested in getting started in <insert area/field of interest>?

The Exploring Career Options webinar is a 45 minute webinar that focuses on using various online resources to research career options.  The relationship between programs of study at NOVA, college majors, and career options are discussed.  Resources presented provide information on nature of work, educational requirements, job outlook, and wages. When you register for the webinar you will receive several handouts that should be helpful to you with your career exploration. Request a free copy of a recorded session.

What occupation/career resource did you find most helpful? Why? What questions do you have about exploring career options?

Leadership Common Experience: Week 3

The Importance of Faculty Rapport

Check out the below entry from one of our NOVA Online instructors on his thoughts about the importance of building rapport with faculty.

dog_pun_2Just before I started teaching my first online course I was worried about how well I’d be able to reach my students, both as a teacher and as a human being. Would Pun Dog be able to get the kind of help he needed in as clear a way as would happen were his instructor guiding him through his struggles with math in-person? And, more, could the teacher put him at ease by giving him a friendly tone through potentially cold screens full of text, unaccompanied by a friendly smile? Taken together, I worried that I couldn’t develop the sort of rapport I’d enjoyed with students I taught in the classroom.

As an online student you may have the same concerns, so I’m thrilled to say that all of my fears turned out to be unfounded. In fact, after that first course I went to a baseball game with one former student and met another for coffee when I was visiting NYC. Students shared photos of their children, we wrote back and forth about shared interests, etc.

All of this made for a fun class, but I’m certain it also lead to greater student success; when everyone has a sense of connection, even in a virtual classroom, there tends to be more of a sense of support, of presence, of caring, and so on, all of which serve to put everyone at ease and trust that their instructor is here to make you succeed. So having a strong student/teacher rapport is possible in an online environment, and also very beneficial.

Now, a lot of this is on the instructor, but I have found that my students, too, help create a harmonious relationship between them and myself. If you are proactive in creating a bond with your instructor, you just may find a better experience in your classes. Here are some ways you might try:

  • If you are asked to respond to your peers in discussion forums, go beyond the minimum reply and really push yourself to be expressive and helpful… this always opens my eyes and warms me towards the student. Similarly consider responding to those who comment on your work, including your instructor. Having a true back-and-forth doesn’t just have to happen in person.
  • Ask questions, be it in the question forum or via email. We want to know when you need help and, not being able to read body language/facial expressions, being able to do so can be difficult online. And asking us also makes us feel connected to you.
  • Use your sense of humor (when appropriate, of course), share some of your outside interests, etc.; it is possible to have fun and express ourselves online, and it’s a great way to get your peers and instructor to feel they have a genuine connection with you.
  • If this course is in an area that you are considering pursuing as a career, ask your instructor for her/his insider knowledge, tips, resources, and so on. Teachers are nothing if not passionate about their subjects and desirous of helping students develop into the professionals they want to become.

So there you have it… rapport with your online instructor is a vital component of a good experience, and you have the power to help bring it about. Trust me, it makes these classes so much more rewarding.

-Will Hatheway

NOVA Online Adjunct Instructor of English


What questions do you have about creating relationships with your NOVA Online instructors?

Leadership Common Experience: Week 2

Understanding Self in the College Environment









Within week two of our Leadership Common Experience, we want to build on last week’s theme of success in an online education environment. We discussed important things to keep in mind when you are in the classroom and also how to stay engaged with other students and the college outside of the classroom.

An important aspect to also explore that can be an integral part of your college success is understanding yourself, your strengths, weakness, likes, dislikes, habits, how these qualities can effect your success perusing your education. What are ways you can be proactive and prevent these potential  stressors and obstacles from effecting your overall educational goals?

A great way to begin doing this is self-reflection.  Think about a typical day, the responsibilities you have and how much time  and energy is spent on each. How does your online education fit into this?  Will it drastically change your day to day routine? Are there other areas in which you spend your time that you can improve?

Here is a great article about Toxic Habits that Drain your Energy. Time and Energy work hand-in hand within your overall quality of life and this article gives some great everyday examples on how we can often lose this time and energy around things we can’t control.

How do you see your online education fitting into your personal day-today routine?

What are some other ways that we might mismanage our time and energy?

NOVA Online’s Online Leadership Webinar Series!

Looking for motivation as an online student and developing your personal leadership skills?

Our first webinar is this Thursday, September 4th from 6-7pm!

This webinar will be presented by NOVA/NOVA Online alumni Joshua Anton.

Register for the webinar here!

Check out Joshua’s Bio below!

Like many student leaders, Joshujoah antona Anton faced his own set of adversities. On February 10th, 2009, the day after his 18th birthday, Mr. Anton was asked to leave home while still a senior in high school. This event would change his life forever. Working 3 jobs and attending school full-time, he completed high school on schedule and later in that same year began his new life as a student at Northern Virginia Community College.

As a student leader at NOVA,  Mr. Anton helped to develop the Loudoun campus Student Government Association as its first President, served as a Student Ambassador, and Vice President of Marketing for Phi Theta Kappa. Mr. Anton would also work with future Attorney General, Mark Herring to develop a bus route in the Loudoun County Community that would provide enhanced public transportation to NVCC Students. As a student leader and alumnus, Mr. Anton worked with his fellow student leaders to leave behind many sustainable events that would continue to impact students, NOVA Cram Week (Free Tutors and Pizza before Finals) NOVA’s Got Talent (America’s Got Talent for NOVA) and the Loudoun Leaders League (student leadership conference promoting sustainable leadership)

In June 2012, Mr. Anton transferred to the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce. Building on the foundation he developed at community college, Mr. Anton would venture into leadership once again, but this time through a sustainable product development competition co-sponsored by Unilever Corporation and the student organization Enactus. Mr. Anton and his team developed plans for an innovative disposable men’s razor called the “Ax Defiant” that if implemented will reduce a percentage of the 2.5 billion razors added to landfills annually.

The team won the U.S. Round of the competition and moved forward to become the representative of the United States in a global competition in Singapore. In this competition, 10 teams around the world proposed marketing strategies to Unilever Executives for their Lifebuoy brand. The theme of this competition was centered on designing innovative solutions to get children to wash their hands more often throughout the day resulting in saving 2 million children’s lives annually.

Mr. Anton’s professional endeavors have included numerous entrepreneurial related projects, including a social media consulting firm, yOptimize, a student textbook company called A.I. Textbooks; authoring a book named “Investing: Blunt and to the Point” that provides students with guidance on investing; and co-developing a mobile application for Apple iPhone and Android that prevents students from “so-called” drunk dialing. That application known as “Drunk Mode” is currently available in seven languages.

Mr. Anton has given numerous formal public speeches at local high schools, elementary schools, and community colleges regarding topics on his life story, leadership, entrepreneurship, and his community college experience.

 We look forward to “seeing” you there!

NOVA Online Leadership Common Experience: Week 1

Student Success Skills and Engagement Outside of the Classroom

In the first post this week about student success, we referenced tips and strategies to help you as an online student within the virtual classroom, but what about success and engagement outside of the classroom?

One topic that is very important to promote your own personal success and develop strong leadership skills is personal resiliency and life skills. Now what do you think we mean by this?

Here are some examples:

– Learning to take responsibility for your actions, positive or negative.

-Acknowledging when you make a mistake and understanding you might not always get to chance to rectify it .

-Building your own support system whether family, friends, co-workers, peers when faced daily stressors.

By not only identifying how these skills can effect your personal success but also developing these areas within yourself, you will be better prepared for personal challenges that may arise. Throughout this Leadership Common Experience, we will be sharing topics and proving resources for you to further develop these abilities.

Here is another great article we wanted to share that talks more about this topic. Read it here.

A great way to further build on this idea in an educational environment is engagement with the college and other students. We want to highlight  this since it is just as important to be engaged  outside the classroom as it is inside the classroom

The National Survey of Student Engagement measures student involvement in co-curricular events and activities, and the effect they have on students. According to this survey, the more involved students are in an institution, the more invested they will be. This can also lead to higher grades and the more likelihood they are to persist to the next semester.

As on online student, it can be hard to find ways to keep connected with your college and peers outside the classroom since you are not seeing them face to face.

1) Follow NOVA Online on social media- NOVA Online is on Facebook, Twitter,  LinkedIn and  this blog to provide daily/weekly updates about important academic dates and deadlines, virtual and in-person events as well as programs such as this to promote your success as a student.

2) Connect with NOVA Online on Google+: By creating a Google+ account through your student GMail, you will have access to +NOVA Online and connect  with other online students, join some of our student interest group and attend online events such as Google hangouts.

3) Share your own ideas for engagement-  Have a great online event idea? Looking to connect with other student interest group we might not offer? On behalf of NOVA Online Student Life, we want to hear your ideas and help you create ways for you to be engaged with NOVA Online and other students. Contact to share these with us!

Do you feel engagement is important outside of the classroom? Is there anything that we forgot? Let us know here!

NOVA Online Leadership Common Experience: Week 1

Week 1: Identifying Online Student Success Skills


As you are starting your online classes, for the fall semester, this is a great time to reflect on how you can be successful in an online classroom environment. For those if you who are taking online classes for the first time, you will see some significant differences including how classes are structured and  time that need to be dedicated to get the best learning experience possible. It is important to adapt your mindset and expectations when you think of success in a virtual classroom.

We want to take this opportunity to reference an article that outlines 10 tips of online college student success.  Here are some highlighted points from the article:

Self Determination-“As with traditional campus-based education, self-determination is just as much of a key factor to success in online education. Education should be viewed as a means to improve yourself and your circumstances; it can be the key that unlocks all the doors.”

Communicate Effectively with Faculty and Students“A good understanding of the coursework and expectations of the professors is crucial to passing and making good grades in any given course. Since in-person communication is not an option, make use of email, chats, forums, and other formats to communicate with fellow students and professors if you have any questions and need any clarification.”

Making school a routine– “As with other aspects of life, we often learn by doing, and in doing we get most proficient when we get into a routine. The same is true for online education. It is best to determine what time of day and where you are most productive and can give your full attention to the coursework, and make that a habit.”

To read more on these tips and others that made the list, you can visit the article here.

Another great way to help assess your readiness for online learning is SmarterMeasure. This tool offered through NOVA is an indicator of the degree to which distance learning and/or learning in a technology rich environment will be a good fit for you. It will help you prepare yourself for the online classroom and create realistic goals to be successful as a virtual student.

To obtain log-in information for the SmarterMeasure assessment, email from your VCCS email account. Once you complete the SmarterMeasure assessment, you can find more information in the ‘Assessment Summary’ section.

What do you think about the topics shared in this article? Do you agree? Is there anything you feel that was left out as you are starting your classes for the fall? Share your comments!

NOVA Online Leadership Common Experience

This fall, NOVA Online has created a Leadership Common Experience for students taking online classes to engage with peers outside of their Blackboard classroom and explore personal and professional leadership skills and qualities that will promote their success and overall personal growth in college.460807473

We want to highlight that students can still find similar resources to make the most of their college experience, even if that experience is primarily virtual.

Beginning August 25th here is the outline of themes that we have picked for each week so you can see progression of the program and pick out topics that might be of interest to you:

Week 1: Identifying Online Student Success Skills In and Out of the Classroom 

Week 2: Understanding Self in the College Environment/Goal Setting for the Semester

Week3: The Importance of Faculty Rapport

Week 4: Job and Career Exploration

Week 5: Netiquette- Creating a Positive Online Presence    

Week 6: Next Steps- Revisiting Goal Setting For The Future


You are probably asking yourself, how can you participate?

1) Follow this blog,

2) Review the articles, videos and resources that we will post each week and share your thoughts and comments to connect with peers.

3) Attend one of our live virtual leadership webinar series speakers  featuring :

NOVA/NOVA Online alumni, Joshua Anton

Keynote Speaker, Joe Paul (

NOVA ALumni, Omnia Elgoodah

Register for these webinars coming soon!

For more information, contact

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.

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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.

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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!