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 www.JoePaulSpeaks.com. 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?

This week at NOVA Online!

Throughout week 4 of the NOVA Online Leadership Common Experience we will be discussing Job and Career Exploration. We have a guest blogger, NOVA Online Counselor, Christy Jensen, who will talk about creating and defining your academic and career plan.

Join Christy Jensen for a 45 minute Conducting a Job Search webinar on Wednesday, September 17 at 12:15pm. Topics covered will include creating a plan, identifying sources of job leads, and resume, cover letter, and interview basics.

Have you created a Google+ account with your VCCS Student Email address? Learn how to create the account, and join or leadership google community.

Leadership Webinar Series – Looking for motivation to develop your personal leadership skills? Participate in a leadership webinar in conjunction with NOVA Online’s Leadership Common Experience! Join us on Thursday, September 18 from 7:00-8:00, for our keynote speaker.  Joe Paul will speak about making the most of your time as an online student. Find out more information and register here.

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

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 Elicounselors@nvcc.edu 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, http://blogs.nvcc.edu/elife/

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 (http://joepaulspeaks.com/)

NOVA ALumni, Omnia Elgoodah

Register for these webinars coming soon!

For more information, contact elistulife@nvcc.edu

How to Log into a Blackboard Collaborate Session

A webinar is a live, online instruction session using a web conferencing service called Blackboard Collaborate. You can participate in a webinar from any computer or mobile device with reliable, high speed, Internet access. NOVA Online offers several webinars throughout the semester and some NOVA Online courses have live, virtual meetings. You might also have the opportunity to meet with your instructor via Blackboard Collaborate for Virtual Office Hours. 

Whether you are using Blackboard Collaborate to access a class session, meet with an instructor for office hours, or participate in an NOVA Online Webinar, the instructions below will help guide you.

You can test your connection in advance by visiting Behind the Blackboard and clicking on “Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing” under “First Time Users”. 

If you are attending a NOVA Online Webinar, you can register by following the link to the NOVA Online Webinar pageOnce you register for a session, you will receive an email with a link to join the session live. Click the link provided to access the live session. If you are using a mobile device, you will be directed to download the app first. All times understood to be Eastern Standard Time, unless otherwise noted.

If you are attending a live class session, you will locate the link in the tools section of your Blackboard Course Site.

The first time you log in, you will need to download the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher. BbCLauncherDownload the Launcher – save the file and select “join”.

Once you open the link, you will be asked to enter your display name. Please enter your first name and the first initial of your last name (ex. Katie A.). Note that all participants will see your display name.Join_BbC_Session_2Once you enter your name, you will be taken to a site like the one below. Make sure your browser security settings will not block this site from downloading to your computer.
Join_BbC_session_3A new window or message will pop up asking whether to open or save the file. For Firefox, make sure that Open with is set to Blackboard Collaborate Launcher (default). Then Click OK. For Internet Explorer, click Open.BbC_Launcher

The file should download and automatically open for you. You will see a window like the one below. Make sure you allow this application to run on your computer.

Join_BbC_session_7Once you run the application, you will see the download begin. This may take a few minutes.

Join_BbC_session_6A screen like below will pop up and you will know Blackboard Collaborate is loading.

Join_BbC_session_8Once you are in the live session, you will be able to run your audio check and participate in the presentation. Plan to log in at least 10 minutes before your scheduled session, to give yourself enough time to load Blackboard Collaborate and run the audio check and troubleshoot any issues you may have.

To view the hardware and software pre-requisites for Blackboard Collaborate please visit Behind the Blackboard.

To view a video to help you get set up using Blackboard Collaborate, follow this link.

NOVA Online Summer Pedometer Challenge


Join The NOVA Online Fall Pedometer Challenge as part of our Health and Wellness Interest Group!

What is it? 

Compete and share experiences with other students by tracking your average daily steps for a month as well as create personal health and wellness goals.

How does it work?  

1) Once you have signed up for the challenge, you will receive a confirmation within 24-48hrs.

2) On June 13th, you will receive access to a Google spreadsheet where you will record your pedometer steps as well as keep track of what types of activity you took part in for the day/week. You MUST provide your VCCS email (the email that NOVA has provided you) to have access the spreadsheet.

3) Pedometer steps will be recorded daily by each participant starting June 16th.

4) The first 50 participants that sign up will be mailed a FREE pedometer to participate/ otherwise you will need to provide your own pedometer.

5) Challenge begins on June 16th and ends at 11:59pm on August 8th. Prizes will be given for several categories including: weekly winners, best average, overall step count…etc)

6) Throughout the challenge, you will added to our NOVA Online Health and Wellness Google group via Google Communities. This will be used for participants to share their progress in the challenge and great health and wellness motivational articles and tips. You can view it here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/114584935764858832728

How do I sign up?

You can sign up by following this link: https://elistulife1.wufoo.com/forms/summer-2014-pedometer-challenge-signup/

Questions? Contact NOVA Online Student Life at elistulife@nvcc.edu