This Week at NOVA Online!

Is today the first day of your NOVA Online course? A few 10 week classes start today!

Review the Critical Enrollment Dates blog post to make sure you get off to a great start. Check out a recording of the NOVA Online Orientation webinar to help you get started!

All courses beginning today are 10-week courses. These courses will run at an accelerated pace to cover the full 16-week semester’s material. Make sure you are comfortable with the pace of the course from day 1. An NOVA Online Student Blogger has shared her experiences preparing for an accelerated course!

Have a NOVA Online exam coming up? Not sure how to test? Check out NOVA Online’s testing site or your taking exams tab in your Blackboard course site for details.

It is very important to monitor your VCCS student email for updates and announcements from NOVA Online, NOVA and your instructor. Look for emails from NOVA throughout your course.

Join our Virtual Student Union. Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where NOVA Online students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the fall semester. Join now!

Become a NOVA Online Student Blogger. Love to write? Become a NOVA Online Student Blogger! This group will be geared toward students who enjoy to write or blog and are possibly interested in pursuing a career in media and/or journalism. Members of this group will directly contribute to the NOVA Online student blog. For more information, fill out the NOVA Online Student Bloggers Interest Form.

Engage in your Community! We want to learn more about how NOVA NOVA Online Students are engaging in the community! Email us at and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!  Coming Soon! (Community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available).

Don’t forget to sign-up for NOVA Alert.  NOVA Alert is a free alert system that allows NOVA to contact you during an emergency by sending messages to your cell phone and email.

Studying for Finals? Consider this 4-day study plan!

Final exams and final projects are quickly approaching in your summer term courses! Follow us on the NOVA Online Social Media channels for tips for successful finals prep. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The NOVA Online Success Coaching Team is here to help support you and provide study tips. You can contact them at or call 703.764.5076.

Studying for an Exam Day 1: Communicate with Your Instructor, Find a Study Partner and Organize

1.    Ask your instructor what type of test it will be. Multiple choice? Essay? That will make a difference in how you prepare.

2.    Ask your instructor for a review sheet/study guide if he/she has not already given you one.

3.    Find a study partner — set up dates to meet to include the night before the test if possible – even via phone/Facebook/Skype.

4.    Print and organize your notes, old quizzes, textbook, assignments and handouts from the units being tested.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions (for example: cell phone, TV, instant messenger, etc.)

2.    Organize handouts, past tests, and other information according to dates. Make note of anything you are missing. (Where’s the vocab quiz from chapter 2?) Pay special attention to the questions that you missed and spend extra time studying those questions.

3.    Rewrite or type your notes. Creating an outline of the information you need to know will help you understand how the material covered in the class is related.

4.    Review the material you have. Go through the review sheet to determine what material will be covered. Read through your quizzes/handouts/notes and study questions from your book’s chapters.

Studying for a Test Day 2: Course Review, Review and Apply the Material to Better Understand 

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Communicate with your instructor to clarify areas you didn’t understand and request any missing items.

3.    Ask if there will be a review before the test and continue to review on your own and review with your Study Partner (if time permits). If there will not be a course review, consider organizing one – you can reserve a study room and meet in a campus or local library.

When Studying:

1.    Create flashcards with a question/term/vocab word on the front of the card, and the answer on the back. Quizlet is a free website/app that will help you design flashcards, practice tests and quizzes. The website/app also has pre-made flash cards (a favorite app by many students).

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes, and review everything on the review sheet that you don’t already know using mnemonic devices like acronyms or singing a song. Also, apply the material to your life in ways that you can remember and understand. When the timer goes off, take a 15 min. break and revisit your review sheet. Study again, setting the timer if it works well for you.

3.    If you are not using the Quizlet App, put your flashcards in your purse, backpack, or car so that you can review them when you are not busy.

Studying for a Test Day 3: Review and Apply the Material, Create Practice Tests

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions

2.    When you have any free time, review your flashcards and ask yourself questions (when you’re waiting for class to start, at lunch, during study hall, etc.)

3.    Confirm a study date for tomorrow night.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes again. Go back through your flashcards and review sheet, learning/applying material (especially reviewing areas that are causing you some struggles). Take a 5-minute break. If necessary, set a timer for 45 minutes again and continue if you’re still unsure of any material!

3.    Create a few “practice tests” for yourself and your study partner (you can create your own, use study guides or visit your textbook website for practice tests).  A practice test should include questions about key terminology, facts, and concepts that are likely to be on the test.

4.    Be sure to have your flashcards (Quizlet App) ready for review again tomorrow.

Studying for a Test Day 4: Review, Study/Quiz Self, Confirm Meeting Time with Study Partner

1.    Throughout the day, pull your flashcards out and review.

2.    Confirm your study date with a friend or classmate.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Again, review your flashcards paying special attention to the remaining material that was giving you some struggles.

3.    Quiz. With your study partner, take turns asking possible exam questions to each other. You will learn the material better by alternating asking the questions. Stop once you’ve been through the questions a few times and get a good night’s sleep.

Be sure to check out free online workshops by Student Lingo. If you need additional review, you can use NOVA Online’s free online tutoring service through Smarthinking. If you are using a campus testing center, double check testing center hours and if possible, do not wait until the last day – emergencies can come up and in many classes, you will not be able to take the test late.

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

Where are my grades?

You should be reviewing your grades on a regular basis in the My Grades area of Blackboard. Each Blackboard course site has Blackboard Tutorials available to help you navigate. This tutorial will help you monitor your grades in your Blackboard course site.

You can see grades for all of your courses or one course at a time.

To view grades for all of your courses, select the arrow next to your name in the upper-right corner. In the menu, select “My Grades”. You can sort your grades by All Courses or Last Graded. If your work hasn’t been graded, grade status icons appear. Select an item’s title to view details.

To view the grades for the course you’re in, select the “My Grades” link on the course menu or on the Tools page.

Your instructor controls which links appear on the course menu, so if you don’t see if there, click on “Tools” and locate My Grades.

Make sure you are monitoring your grades and your instructors feedback. This is very important to your success in the course.

Once your course ends, check your final grades in your Student Information System (SIS). Your grades will be posted in the “other academics” drop down in your student center.

Tutorial provided by Blackboard Help. Use these tutorials to help you navigate your Blackboard course site. Contact NOVA Online’s IT Helpdesk (24/7) with any questions – 703.764.5051. NOVA Online’s Student Success coaches are available to help you navigate Blackboard. Reach out to them at or 703.323.3347.

National Distance Learning Week!

It’s National Distance Learning Week and throughout the week we are celebrating current students and making sure future students know the ins and outs of being an online student. Throughout the week on social media, you will see trivia, myths, pictures, and of course prizes! logoNot sure if online courses are right for you? Take the SmarterMeasure assessment to gauge your readiness! Listen to the Furthering your Education with NOVA Online webinar designed for prospective students and will focus on the benefits of studying online at NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute, programs offered, options for accelerating your program and student support services.

In addition to National Distance learning Week – it is also National Career Development Month. Join NOVA Online Career Counselor on Wednesday, November 11, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm for 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. Can’t attend a live session? Click here to request a recording.

Tuesday, November 10 – 12:15 – 1:00 pm – Getting Ready for your Second Semester – Join us for this 45 minute webinar for NOVA students will focus on answering key questions students have about preparing for their second semester. Topics covered will include program identification, course selection, college resources, schedule planning, and registration/payment tips. Register Today!

Join a representative from Old Dominion University to learn how to transfer to ODU Online business programs, Tuesday, Nov. 10 at noon. Join the session on Tuesday!

Have a great week!

Student Lingo: Stay Motivated and Disciplined in an Online Course

The idea of taking an online course with NOVA Online is amazing! The flexibility of not having to travel to campus and working on assignments when it is convenient for you sounds like a dream come true. But how will you keep from procrastinating and falling behind? What tools will you use to help manage your time? How will you feel connected to your classmates and instructor? What you will do when something unexpected occurs?

If you are new to online learning you might be a little anxious about what to anticipate and what some of the challenges might be.  The How to Stay Motivated and Disciplined in an Online Course online workshop from Student Lingo highlights some of the common difficulties that online students experience such as procrastinating, poor time management, feeling disconnected with faculty and staff and managing the unexpected.

By taking a few minutes to view this on demand workshop:

  • You will have a head start on what to anticipate.
  • Know how to navigate those challenging situations before they even happen and then when they do,
  • You will have a plan in place to ensure you stay on track.

As a Success Coach, I tell my students all the time “Knowing is half the battle!” By watching this Student Lingo online workshop you are going to get a sneak peek into the life of an online student. By doing so you are going to know what to expect and be able to better prepare from the very first day of your first online course.

Plan on taking away tools to help:

    • Create a schedule and ideas on how to break up assignments in turn allowing to build in time for unexpected situations.
    • Know how to use the syllabus can be used as a guide to keep you on track with homework, projects and tests.

Develop strategies to connect with your classmates and instructor.

When you register for college courses you are investing your time and money. Invest in your success by watching this short presentation! Take some time afterwards to reflect and then develop some action steps to implement as soon as your online course begins.

  •  You know yourself as a student, what aspect of online learning is going to be the most challenging for you?
  • Think about the resources provided in the presentation and write down three actionable steps you will take during the first week of your online course that are going to help you be successful.

Remember a driving force in your success as an online student is meeting deadlines and holding yourself accountable. Commit to completing your three action items the first week of class! Liked the How to Stay Motivated and Disciplined in an Online Course Workshop? View more on-demand workshops from Student Lingo to help you succeed in your online courses.

-Laura, NOVA Online Student 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.